All of Pope Benedict XVI's gaffes and controversies have obscured his principal appeal, writes Brian Griffiths in the Times of London: he's a scholar, with an uncommon command of theology and philosophy. For Griffiths, a vice-chairman of Goldman Sachs, the pope's recent encyclical on the economy is "without doubt the most articulate, comprehensive and thoughtful response to the financial crisis that has yet appeared." Unlike John Paul II, who praised free markets after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Benedict says capitalism has forgotten the individual.
Benedict lays out six ways to humanize global capitalism:
- Reform of global institutions, including the UN, for "the management of globalization."
- More widespread sources of wealth: not just banks but mutual societies, credit unions, and other new forms.
- Strengthened trade unions to protect workers in the global market.
- Greater aid to developing nations to combat the "scandal of inequality."
- Action on climate change, for economic and religious reasons.
- Much more attention to the moral consequences of finance. For Benedict, "development is impossible without upright men and women."