Dissecting the Ethics That Must Enhance Globalization

Can´t Be Left to Market Alone, Say Vatican Conferees

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VATICAN CITY, APR. 26, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Globalization has to be led by ethical principles, and not simply left to the dictates of the free market, if it is to truly serve mankind, say participants at a Vatican conference.



The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences called 33 academics to a plenary session, which began Wednesday, to consider ethical guidelines for the phenomenon.

The early consensus seemed to be that globalization could be an instrument at the service of the whole human person, and not just "homo oeconomicus."

Canadian public-administration expert Louis Sabourin and Swiss economist Paul Dembiski emphasized that any analysis of globalization must include the political, ethical and anthropological dimensions.

This can mean that specialists on Church social doctrine are facing a big task. Jesuit Father Johannes Schasching of the Katholiche Sozialakademie, of Vienna, Austria, summarized it this way: "The phenomenon we call globalization is a formidable challenge that will enable us to update our social doctrine."

The Austrian Jesuit believes that there are a series of guiding principles that must be considered:

--First, globalization must be an instrument to increase humanity´s welfare in accordance with ethical principles.

--Second, the free market does not automatically guarantee the common good; instead, it needs laws and regulation.

--Third, this regulation cannot be solely limited to the national realm but needs international agreements and institutions.

--Fourth, control of the global market must be guaranteed not only by national and international authorities but also by the forces of civil society.

--Fifth, special attention must be given to developing countries. The advantages of globalization cannot be limited to a few privileged regions, such as the United States, the European Union and Japan, but must be extended to those nations that are not yet ready to enter the realm of global competence.

--Sixth, the sum total of economic and social measures must be based on an ensemble of ethical values, the first of these being the defense of human dignity.

Father Schasching said he believes the challenge of globalization also has a notable ecumenical component.

"We must be increasingly convinced that all these problems will only find an answer through a greater disposition toward unity on the part of Christian Churches," he emphasized. Interreligious dialogue and "the contribution of all men of good will" be important in this respect, he added.