Theologians, anti-poverty advocates and economists meeting in Brazil to develop principles for a new global economic system have issued a declaration naming over-consumption and greed as key factors to be addressed in seeking a more just distribution of the world’s resources.
The statement was issued Friday at the conclusion of the "Global Ecumenical Conference on a New Economic and Financial Architecture" in Guarulhos, a suburb of São Paulo. Sixty delegates met from 29 September to 5 October at the conference organized by the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) in partnership with the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Council for World Mission (CWM).
Social inclusion, gender justice, care for the environment and concrete actions to overcome greed are named as criteria for a new economic and financial architecture.
The statement recommends a series of actions including the formation of an ecumenical school of governance, economics and management and setting up a global commission initiated by the ecumenical movement to forward the work of the Commission of Experts on Reforms of the International Monetary and Financial System, chaired by Prof. Joseph Stiglitz. The affirmation of communication rights to advance the empowerment of communities in developing alternatives to the current financial and economic structures was among the proposed list of actions.
WCC’s Dr Rogate Mshana said, “The most striking proposals that need to be followed up by an ecumenical panel include … replacing the International Monetary Fund with a new democratic International Monetary Organization and an alternative international reserve currency.” Mshana heads the church council’s programme on Poverty Wealth and Ecology.
Pamela Brubaker, professor emeritus of religion at California Lutheran University in the United States, is inspired by the final document. “We have a prophetic document that is deeply rooted in our ecumenical understanding of the Christian faith. We have put together all our perspectives towards an economy of life of all,” Brubaker said.
“I want you to see this day as a beginning of a new era of action,” the general secretary of the WCRC, Setri Nyomi, declared at the close of the conference. “I hope that the commitment that we did come up with will be the beginning step towards an economy that serves life rather than what the world has used so far,” he added.