Holy See calls for new ethical guidelines for financial markets

 On the eve of the Doha conference, which began on Saturday, the Vatican appealed for financial markets to consider poor countries. They also warned of the danger of offshore banks.

A Note on the current global economic crisis, issued by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said: "There is the need for a new pact to refound the international financial system."

The Note said: "methods used on a national level are no longer sufficient. There is a need for an alliance between States and international organizations that move towards an inclusion and not a marginalization of those nations most in need of aid; and a need for a turn-around that places principles of cooperation, solidarity, and the common good first."

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace said the current international economic and financial system is structured in such a way that it hurts the poorest countries the most: "it is the poor countries that finance the rich ones, which receive resources from either the flight of private capital or governmental decisions to corner financial reserves under the form of 'secure' financial activities placed in the financially evolved markets or in offshore markets."

The Note highlights an important general principal in regards to the drastic inequality between northern and southern hemispheres and between the poor and rich nations, saying: "It is necessary to avoid the start of the chain of reciprocal protectionism; rather, practices of cooperation must be reinforced in the matter of transparency and vigilance of the financial system...In particular, it is important that even the necessary political contrast between the 'richer' countries not lead to solutions based on exclusive agreements, but that it re-launch a space of open and tendentially inclusive cooperation."

This must become the ethical vision behind everything, however right now the situation is much different: "the remittances of emigrants...entail an affluence of resources that, at the macro level, greatly surpass the flow of public aid for development. It is as though saying that the poor of the South finance the rich of the North, and the poor of the South themselves have to emigrate and work in the North to support their families in the South."
The world today is now at the heart of a contradiction from which comes the urgent need to form new strategies for intervention, and "consider carefully the role, hidden but crucial, of the offshore financial system."

The Pontifical Council does not hide the fact that it is precisely in this area that there is a need to find the fundamental reasons behind the current crisis, as it is from there that there arises the phenomenons such as "flight of capital of gigantic proportions, 'legal' flows motivated by objectives of tax evasion and also channeled through the of international commercial flows, re-cycling of those stemming from illegal activities."

According to the Justice and Peace Council, there is an entire conglomeration of financial activity that corresponds to a financial evasion of 255 billion dollars, which is more than three times the entire amount of public aid for development on the part of countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OSCE). Here, in such a complex situation, an important role should be played by citizens who can exercise "responsible behavior in the matter of consumption and investment."

Source: Fides

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