Pope Benedict delivers a broad criticism of contemporary capitalism in his latest encyclical, the Washington Post reports. The biggest problem with businesses today is that “they are almost exclusively answerable to their investors,” Benedict writes in the 144-page document. He proposes a radically different economic model in which access to food and water are declared universal human rights, wealthy nations share with poorer ones, and a “world political authority” is set up to help manage things.
Benedict has timed the release of the encyclical carefully—tomorrow world leaders will gather in Italy to discuss the global financial crisis at the G8 summit. Despite the generally leftward bent of the document, the encyclical also includes prescriptions on more conservative Catholic topics: birth control, for example, is described as not just immoral but economically negative because it decreases the “brain pool.”