A healthy world economy must be achieved by the cooperative work of every country, Pope Francis believes. The Pope, renowned for his concern for the poor, wrote his Apostolic Exhortation last year in which he addressed issues like the role of the church and its place in addressing wide-spread poverty in the world.
Pope Francis addressed not only caring for one’s own country, but urged readers to achieve a “healthy world economy” that looked to the “economic well-being of all countries.” He furthermore addressed poverty as a global responsibility, something that cannot be eradicated by one individual, group, or country. The Pope wrote about the need to change global systems and to implement programs that will break the cycle of poverty for individuals.
In essence, the Pope says that it is not enough for first-world countries like America and Europe to be financially well off. While it is very fortunate for people to enjoy a lavish lifestyle, live in comfortable homes, receive quality education, eat warm home-cooked meals, drive quality cars, the reality is, this is not everyone’s reality. In fact, only a very small percentage of people get to enjoy the economic abundance that countries like the U.S. has.
To put this in a global perspective, there are 1.8 billion people in this world in 2008 who lived on $2 a day or less, according to the World Bank. Clean water and healthy food, which is a human necessity, has actually become more of a luxury in third world countries where people die of thirst and starvation.
Often times, the global North where majority affluent countries reside and the global south where majority of the poor countries are worlds apart, even though everyone is living on the same globe. Africa might as well be Mars and the United States Jupiter due to the stark contrast in political structure, culture, society, and economy. It is easy to turn a blind eye to the problem if it is not within one’s vicinity. And if Africa and the United States on two different continents, then why bother about what is going on over there if there are problems over here?
In actuality, the world is becoming increasingly globalized, and as a result, everyone is connected in some way. There is no country that can be successfully sufficient on its own. This world is now formed on a complex global economic system where countries need to depend on other countries for certain products, whether it be computers, coffee beans, the chip found inside of an iPhone, the clothes bought at stores.
In addition, this world is tangled in a delicate web of political allegiances to ensure a greater chance of survival in the global arena. Israel is backed by the U.S., China is backed by Russia. On a personal level, everyone is now connected to each other through the web. The internet has completely and rapidly revolutionized this generation and there is no turning back. Cultures intersect as people watch videos, read articles, or communicate with each other through the internet. European businesses are set up in Asia, American restaurants and clothing stores can be found in India. The list of cultural exchanges that each country and person has with another is extensive.
With this knowledge of how interconnected everyone is, Pope Francis’ call for a more equal economic playing field becomes more urgent. Francis wrote in his Apostolic Exhortation that an economic decision made in one country actually has repercussions on another country. Furthermore, no country can act without a shared responsibility for the others. The Pope believes that local solutions will not solve these global problems. Thus, countries must find a better way to work together within the context of each nation’s sovereignty. As Pope Francis believes, a healthy world economy must include everyone in order for well-being in every country to be achieved.
Opinion By Joyce Chu