Use your imagination
By His Eminence Óscar Andrés Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga S.D.B. Caritas Internationalis President
Sixty percent of the world’s population exists on six percent of the world’s income. Trillions of dollars were found overnight to rescue banks in the global economic crisis, while poor countries have waited for decades for promises of aid to be fulfilled.
The US government’s financial rescue package of US $800 billion in November is almost equivalent to the total amount of development aid provided over the past 10 years by 23 of the world’s richest countries.*
While it’s important that the world economy is salvaged, we must put the whole of humanity at its heart. A world built on the globalisation of greed rather than the globalisation of solidarity has never been sustainable or desirable.
Our fears are that the poorest people who have benefited least from decades of unequal economic growth will pay the greater price for this folly. Poverty is deepening with 100 million more people in need of food aid. As many as 400,000 more children a year may die over the next five years due to the economic crisis.
Halfway into the millennium project to lift millions out of poverty by 2015, the funding from rich countries remains below what they promised and what is necessary.
Failing to achieve the Millennium Development Goals is not just about a lack of finance, or improvements in the way aid is spent, or deeper debt relief, or a more just trading system. As I said at the UN in September, what we have is a poverty of the imagination.
We need to imagine not a “First World” or a “Third World”, but “One World” in which the duties to the poor are shared. There was hope in 2008. There was hope in young people I met in Australia for World Youth Day who believe in a “blueprint for a better world.” For them the possibilities are as limitless as their imaginations. In this year of St. Paul, we must hope the Apostle inspires the leaders of the world’s most powerful countries to experience their own epiphany. There must be a conversion away from the old system of blind greed to one where our eyes are opened to justice and dignity for all.