Pope Francis Against Free Market Ideology

Pope Francis: “Unbridled consumerism” will have destructive consequences for the planet
In letter to host of upcoming G-20 summit, the pope decries free market fundamentalism

Pope Francis: "Unbridled consumerism" will have destructive consequences for the planetPope Francis  (Credit: AP/Alessandra Tarantino)

Free market fundamentalism poses a grave threat to both economic security and the health of the planet, Pope Francis warns in a letter to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the host of this weekend’s Group of 20 leaders’ summit in Brisbane.

The letter touches on such issues as fair taxation, hunger, unemployment, financial regulation, climate change, terrorism, and poverty. Francis, leader of the globe’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, urges leaders to remember that “many lives are at stake behind these political and technical discussions” in Brisbane. “[I]t would indeed be regrettable if such discussions were to remain purely on the level of declarations of principle,” the pope adds.

Francis outlines a turbulent state of global affairs, warning that economic insecurity and social exclusion risk violence and decrying the destructive consequences of “unbridled consumerism.”

“Throughout the world, the G20 countries included, there are far too many women and men suffering from severe malnutrition, a rise in the number of the unemployed, an extremely high percentage of young people without work and an increase in social exclusion which can lead to criminal activity and even the recruitment of terrorists,” he writes. “In addition, there are constant assaults on the natural environment, the result of unbridled consumerism, and this will have serious consequences for the world economy.”

Drawing attention to human rights challenges like the dire situation confronting religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East, the pope writes that leaders must also acknowledge “forms of aggression that are less evident but equally real and serious.”

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