In recent months, Pope Benedict XVI has had some thoughts to share on globalization, reports the Catholic news agency Zenit. (Thanks to the International Political Economy Zone blog for spreading the word.)
On May 26 he addressed the General Confederation of Italian Industry:
[Globalization] is a phenomenon, he commented, that gives hope of a wider participation in economic development and riches. It is a process not without its risks, however, leading in some cases to worsening economic inequality. Echoing the words of Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI called for a globalization characterized by solidarity and without marginalization of people.
On March 31, Zenit reports, the pope told an association of Italian artisans that "it is important ... to proclaim the primacy of the human person and the common good over capital, science, technology and even private ownership."
How the World Works would like to think that by "solidarity," the pope is endorsing global unions of workers who will be strong enough to resist the currently ascendant forces of global capital (and private ownership), but we're not sure. We get confused by sentences such as "Work is part of God's plan for man, even if because of original sin it has become more of a burden."
Still, any way you slice it, the pope's basic analysis is, well, pretty infallible. Globalization has created opportunities for hundreds of millions of people to escape poverty, and it has contributed to widening gaps between rich and poor in both the developed and the developing world. Addressing that contradiction requires that societies make value-laden choices. The pope believes in the sacrament of Jesus Christ. Others might settle for universal healthcare and wage insurance. Either way, globalization needs a soul.