Pope Francis: ‘Unbridled Consumerism Will Have Serious Consequences’

Pope Francis

Pope Francis is back in the news for his economic beliefs. The Pope wrote a letter to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who will chair the G20 summit in a few days, warning him about the dire and morally unacceptable state of the world economy. Although the Pope didn’t propose a specific course of action, he gave the G20 an idea to keep in mind.

“Responsibility for the poor and the marginalized must therefore be an essential element of any political decision.”

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, this is hardly Pope Francis’ first economic warning. The church leader once referred to an “idolatry of money” that is creating an economic system which is unfair to the impoverished.

Francis’ letter to Tony Abbot was equally critical, decrying the effects of “unbridled consumerism.”

“There are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy.”

The Pope’s letter explains that there are too many people suffering from malnutrition, unemployment, and social exclusion. He also touched on a subject that has been a growing political hot topic in the world, income inequality.

Pope Francis said that he hoped the G20 would be able to come to a substantial consensus on all its agenda items, but that they will also be dedicated to “real improvements.”

“I likewise hope that the assessment of the results of this consensus will not be restricted to global indices but will take into account as well real improvements in the living conditions of poorer families and the reduction of all forms of unacceptable inequality.”

Many of the G20 agenda items line up nicely with Pope Francis’ concerns, including “lifting employment and participation” as a strategy to stimulate world-wide GDP growth. Nevertheless, the group’s policy note contains no reference to the world’s impoverished or marginalized.

Another area of concern for both Francis and the G20 members is the world financial system, which is still recovering after the brutal 2008 recession. Pope Francis mentioned that the G20 leaders needed to think about protecting their citizens from aggression that is “less evident but equally real and serious.”

“I am referring specifically to abuses in the financial system such as those transactions that led to the 2008 crisis, and more generally, to speculation lacking political or juridical constraints and the mentality that maximization of profits is the final criterion of all economic activity. A mindset in which individuals are ultimately discarded will never achieve peace or justice.”

On paper, the goals of the G20 line up nicely with the wishes of the Pope; both are concerned with high levels of unemployment, climate change, and terrorism. How much the church and the G20 can actually do about it might be decided in the next few days.

The full letter from Pope Francis can be found here.

[Image Credit: Jeffrey Bruno/Wikimedia Commons]