In a message to the global delegates of the 2020 World Economic Forum, Pope Francis stressed the duty of governments and businesses to place the good of the human person above power or profit.
“The overriding consideration, never to be forgotten, is that we are all members of the one human family,” he said in the Jan. 21 message.
“The moral obligation to care for one another flows from this fact, as does the correlative principle of placing the human person, rather than the mere pursuit of power or profit, at the very centre of public policy,” he stated.
The pope decried views which treat others as a means to an end and are lacking in solidarity and charity, resulting in injustice.
Integral human development only flourishes, he argued, “when all members of the human family are included in, and contribute to, pursuing the common good.”
He stressed that “all too often materialistic or utilitarian visions, sometimes hidden, sometimes celebrated, lead to practices and structures motivated largely, or even solely, by self-interest.”
“In seeking genuine progress, let us not forget that to trample upon the dignity of another person is in fact to weaken one’s own worth.”
The 2020 World Economic Forum takes place in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland from Jan. 21-24.
The annual meeting has 3,000 participants from around the world. The aim is “to give concrete meaning to ‘stakeholder capitalism,’ assist governments and international institutions in tracking progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, and facilitate discussions on technology and trade governance,” according to the meeting’s website.
Pope Francis’ message was addressed to Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, and delivered by Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, who attended the meeting on behalf of the Vatican.
In his message, the pope claimed that the meeting’s theme, “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World,” points to the need to address the many issues facing humanity.
Over the last 50 years there have been significant changes at the geopolitical level, he noted, adding that “many of these developments have benefitted humanity while others have had adverse effects and created significant development lacunae.”
While today’s challenges are different than those half a century ago, a number of principles remain the same, such as the primacy of the human person,” he said.
“As a result, it is necessary to move beyond short-term technological or economic approaches and to give full consideration to the ethical dimension in seeking resolutions to present problems or proposing initiatives for the future.”