Sunday, June 10, 2018

What Would Jesus Do About the MDGs?

My fellow Catholics should be apprised that our church is closely following the financial markets. Why? Is the Holy See a day trader? Probably not. Like Jeffrey Sachs, the Vatican's permanent advisor to the UN notes the irony behind rich Western countries finding oodles of money to bail out their financial systems yet not finding more modest amounts to help meet the Millennium Development Goals. My stock retort, of course, would be that were the US to send more aid, it would only borrow more from LDCs like Asian exporters and Mideast oilers to send to Africa. In effect, the US wouldn't really be "aiding" Africa (it is quite hard up), but merely acting as an intermediary.

Setting aside the question of the efficacy of the MDGs (which I personally harbor doubts about), the Vatican does raise an important question of what the obligations of wealthy Westerners are to their less fortunate brethren. Alas, that's a post for another day. This from the Catholic News Agency:

On Thursday, Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Holy See permanent observer to the United Nations in New York, addressed the 63rd session of the U.N. General Assembly which is considering the Millennium Development Goals. The archbishop asked the assembly how the world is able to find funds to save financial systems in developed countries, but cannot find the resources necessary to invest in the "most destitute" ones.

Speaking English, Archbishop Migliore highlighted how the MDGs "will be achieved if their attainment becomes a priority for all States." To do so, he continued, "we need to foment a new culture of human relations marked by a fraternal vision of the world, a culture based upon the moral imperative of recognizing the unity of humankind and the practical imperative of giving a contribution to peace and the well-being of all."

"The money and resources that the least developed countries need in terms of direct aid, financial assistance and trade advantages are meager compared to the world-wide military expenses or the total expenses of non-primary necessities of populations in more developed countries," he added...

"In these days we are witnessing a debate on an economic rescue aimed at resolving a crisis that risks disrupting the economy of the most developed countries and leaving thousands and thousands of families without work. This rescue of enormous proportions, which amounts to many times the whole of international aid, cannot but raise a pressing question. How are we able to find funds to save a broken financial system yet remain unable to find the resources necessary to invest in the development of all regions of the world, beginning with the most destitute?"

"For this reason," he concluded, "the globalization of solidarity through the prompt achievement of the MDGs established by the Millennium Declaration is a crucial moral obligation of the international community."

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