Why can the world find money to save banks, but not lives?
Caritas Internationalis President, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, discusses this worrying phenomenon in an interview with Italian magazine Famiglia Cristiana.
“Last spring, leaders who met in Rome said the there wasn’t enough money for the Millennium Development Goals, yet no one had any problem finding millions of dollars for the banks,” said Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga.
In a recent interview with Famiglia Cristiana, Cardinal Rodriguez said that the current global crisis has not only created more poverty but it is the poor who are paying the highest price.
“The petrol crisis, where prices went through the roof this summer, created 100 million poor people,” said Cardinal Rodríguez.
“To feed one billion malnourished people in the world, you only need US$30 billion per year, less than 5 percent of the White House’s bank bailout plan,” he said.
The Cardinal says financial crimes surely produce more deaths than war, hunger, thirst and disease because of the poverty they cause, and should be punished.
He says the money that disappeared during the current crisis has actually gone into the pockets of the rich – to the detriment of the poor. He says that change is the only way forward.
“We have to understand that capitalism, the ruler of the world economy for the past 30 years, has failed,” he said. “It doesn’t need to be built up again, it needs to be changed.”
Cardinal Rodríguez warned that the recession will create more unemployment and there will be knock-on effects from this. He says that remittances from Latin American immigrants in the USA have already started to go down.
The Church has a key role in establishing rules and guaranteeing everyone’s well-being, said the Cardinal.
“What we’re seeing today is above all an ethical crisis, where people don’t limit their wants,” he said. “This goes as much for military spending as it does for the housing boom. The world doesn’t just revolve around money, there are other values.”
The Cardinal said that lack of trust as well as fear have contributed to the current climate.
“Fear rules us,” he said. “Fear of losing our money, fear of other nations, fear of not being able to buy things.
“Post-September 11th terrorism has achieved its aim: it has spread fear across the world and laid fertile ground for racism which produces poverty and closes societies.”
Cardinal Rodríguez said the current crisis is not about to end. On the contrary, it is only just beginning.