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Financial Times recently offered an insert magazine on “the Future of Capitalism.” This debate brought in great economist such as Alan Greenspan, Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen, Gary Becker and others. These economist shared different perspectives with regards to where the emphasize for a new model of global Capitalism should be. But I considered these differences minor compared to the general consensus that could be gleamed from these economist. First it is accepted that unregulated capitalism or Market Fundamentalism has failed us. Of primary importance now is the stabilization of the market and on this note I did notice that many economist did agree with a strategy for stabilizing the financial institutions. The second important issue is to redevelop a new model for the global economy. As I said the details were varied, but again some consencus did seem to exist.

  • The market should be transparent and held to public accountability
  • International laws governing trade and financial flows should be developed and enforced
  • The International Financial Institutions should promote access to capital to developing nations
  • Public regulations should be carefully developed so that they safeguard the public from market volatility but that they do not obstruct the flow of the market

Behind these ideas another basic premise seem to hold favor with these economist. The capitalist system should continue but it should be held to a more compassionate virtue other then self indulging profit making. One cannot of course look to the market alone to produce a virtues system since the market itself is value free. But this is where our political and social institutions come in, to nudge the market in a way that it can bring financial growth and prosperity while making sure that it does so in a way that can compassionately address the needs of all who are affected by the market.

Passionist spirituality offers us the opportunity to develop an ethic of compassion. Christ Crucified is a central image of God´s compassionate love for humanity. Like wise our spirituality calls us to integrate this universal ethic of compassion to all who continue to suffer in our world. When people suffer from human elements such as economic policies then we are called to be compassionate in a way that also addresses the issues that cause suffering. With this call to promote a compassionate model of capitalism we feel obliged to champion a perspective of what this model could look like. As we are a religious community we do not attempt to offer actual economic policies, but in this blog we would like to highlight an economist who offers some interesting insight into policies that some of us feel may bring about a compassionate form of capitalism.

Hernando De Soto is a famous Peruvian economist who promotes the cause of bringing capitalism to the poor by giving people in developing countries an actual opportunity to have access to capital (versus foreign aid and dependancy) and basic protection of rights to property as well as basic human services and needs. Below is an 8 minute program that he has done called “capitalism at the crossroads.”

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