“Economy with a Truly Human Purpose” (Pope Francis): Is it Possible?

By | August 29, 2019


[CAROZZA] Good morning and welcome. My name is Paolo Carozza, I’m the Director
of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame. It’s a great pleasure to be here. Thank you to the New York Encounter for hosting
us. It’s also a privilege for me as Director of
the Kellogg Institute to be co-sponsoring this event with the New York Encounter. An event which begins our first full day of
the Encounter, touching on themes that so deeply capture the theme of the Encounter
as a whole. For when we talk about economics, it touches
all of our lives, all of the time. Everything in the way that we live, and yet,
today perhaps there is no area of our social life in which it’s more dramatically clear
how difficult it is to reconcile the promise of economics and its potential for our lives
and the realities that we perceive from them. By certain measures, there’s never been in
all of human history a more extraordinary period of economic growth, of economic achievement. The reductions in global poverty over recent
decades, the increases in global health, have been by so many measures unprecedented historically. But the numbers taken at a global scale, of
course, can be deceiving of what that reality actually means for people, for concrete people
in the flesh, for communities, for individuals. Billions are still excluded from the cycle
of productivity and exchange in the world and their benefits. The persistence of poverty and extreme poverty
in many parts of the world is still seemingly intractable. Billions. The single biggest predictor of whether one
is going to be poor in the world still is simply where you’re born and nothing other
than that. It’s a problem that is not true just in poorer
regions of the world, distant from us here in New York City, but rather here at our doorstep
and in our households; everywhere that we are. The perception of being left out of the benefits
of economic life are present all around us; in the persistence of unemployment and dislocation,
the lack of opportunity for young people, while seeing around us the spectacular successes
of the latest innovation and technology, or the latest development of the financial sector. We see the world populated by what Tom Wolfe
once called the Masters of the Universe. And yet, all those latest achievements can
hide and obscure the deep malaise, the lack of purpose and desire and hope that affects
so many in relationship to economics and economic life. It’s not just a question of income levels,
either. We add to the problem of poverty and economic
terms in a strict sense. The problems of our incapacity to care for
the environment, to educate, to ensure genuine political participation and basic justice
and dignity for all. To sustain the conditions of healthy family
life, to aid refugees and migrants in the world. In short, all of the ways in which our economic
life can and ought to be constructing and maintaining the common good, seem instead
to be precarious. It is undoubtedly for these reasons Pope Francis
has made it a central theme of his pontificate to decry the failures of our economic systems
and practices, to serve authentically human purposes. And, he makes it clear that it is not just
a question of better systems, or more advanced technologies and techniques. But he makes it clear that the central problem
for us is a lack of care for the human being; the absence of the centrality of the human,
the human dimension in our lives. He emphasizes that we need to accept the limits
of reality and work with reality, rather than seeking a kind of progress that represents
only the illusion of increases in human power over the material world. The root of the problem, Francis says, is
a reductionism of human life which affects every aspect of human and social life. And yet, at the same time Pope Francis exhorts
us to hope; to broaden our vision, as he puts it. Calling for what he says, is another type
of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral. He observes that an authentic humanity, calling
for a new synthesis seems to dwell in the midst of our technological culture almost
unnoticed, like a mist seeping gently beneath the closed door. Will the promise last, he asks, in spite of
everything; with all that is authentic rising up in stubborn resistance? That is the question this panel is here to
address–can we open up that door and allow the air of reality to fill the room again,
so that what is authentically human rises up in stubborn resistance to these things
around us that seem so difficult, so challenging in terms of our common life together. To help us think about it and address this
question, we have a truly extraordinary panel of guests today. I will introduce them in the order in which
they’ll speak now, and then we’ll have a little conversation here among us for the remainder
of the hour. Immediately to my left is Joseph Kaboski,
the Seng Foundation professor of Economics at the University of Notre Dame. A Fellow of the Kellogg Institute, Joe is
a very distinguished scholar of international economic development, the winner of the prestigious
Frisch Medal in economics. He’s published many scholarly articles and
journals, consulted with the Federal Reserve Banks, the World Bank, International Monetary
Fund, and is a great friend. Thank you for being here Joe. [APPLAUSE] Carolyn Woo has just finished weeks ago, I
believe, her tenure after five years as president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, the official
international humanitarian organization of the Catholic Community in the United States. Carolyn went to CRS in January 2012 after
a very distinguished academic career at various universities, Purdue, Notre Dame in particular,
which included fourteen years as the Dean of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. She’s won many honorary Doctorates. She was the first female dean to chair the
accreditation body for business schools and directed its initiative for peace through
commerce. Thank you, Carolyn. [APPLAUSE] And third, we’ll hear from Brian Grim, the
president of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation, and a leading expert on international
religious demography and the socio-economic impact of restrictions on religious freedom
throughout the world. Brian recently served as chair of the World
Economic Forum’s global agenda council on the role of faith. Prior to becoming president of the Religious
Freedom and Business Foundation, he directed the largest social science research effort
ever made to collect and analyze global data on religion through the Pew Research Center. He worked for two decades as an educator in
various parts of the world, and we’re grateful to have you here, Brian. [APPLAUSE] [CAROZZA] So, Joe, this gap between the ideal
of Pope Francis and the reality that we perceive around us seems so immense, is it possible
to bridge it? Or, is it just a utopian fantasy? [KABOWSKI] The vision of Pope Francis, the
first thing I want to start off with, is the original question is: can we achieve integral
human development? Integral human development is the phrase that
you’ll hear Pope Francis repeat over and over. I got caught on this word ‘achieve,’ because
I don’t think we want to think about what the Pope is calling us to as something to
necessarily achieve. First of all, the integral aspect of human
development is the development of the whole, and it’s the whole person. That means bodily (in terms of physical needs),
psychological needs, mental development, social development, but ultimately spiritual development
as well. That’s the whole person and then it’s the
whole society, meaning all elements of society. So, growing in the spiritual element is growing
in communion with God, but also in communion with others as a society growing together. That is not something we necessarily can achieve
ourselves. We can make progress towards it. Obviously, it requires God’s grace first of
all, but also not just something we achieve in this world. The second aspect is–obviously I was invited
as an economist, not as a theologian–economically it’s not something that we can achieve in
terms of a particular system, or particular way of doing things that becomes fossilized,
because the world’s always changing. So, integral human development has to be a
living concept that we’re always kind of reflecting on, and renewing in our society and addressing
the needs of society that change over time. What are those needs today? I wanted to talk about four dimensions, some
of them Paolo already touched on. The first is global poverty. I’m a development economist. I think if you’re an American, it’s hard to
come to grips with the scale of global poverty. We have poverty in this country, but not to
the degree which exists in the developing world. As Paolo said, there has been a lot of progress
in terms of addressing poverty. In fact, in the past twenty-five years the
growth of China (in particular), and India, we’ve seen a greater reduction in extreme
poverty than in any time period in the history of humanity. So, it is a very hopeful time for addressing
global poverty. We’ve seen that the role of private charity
clearly has a role in any society deeper than its economic impacts. But private charity is not what’s driven the
decline in global poverty. I know both Carolyn and Brian have a business
background so I’m sure they’ll address it. But where we’ve seen huge declines in poverty
is where markets have played an important role and openness. Globalization has played an important role
in allowing some countries to have dramatic growth and dramatic decreases in poverty. So, that sort of highlights the role of markets
and business and private business in addressing that. Of course, in the world, not every country
has grown dramatically. We have a lot of poor in the world. They talk about the bottom billion; that’s
fallen to something like 750 million that live on a $1.80 a day, but the number of people
that live on $3 a day is still over 2 billion. So, it’s a huge issue. The second crisis or challenge, I think, is
the environmental crisis. On some dimensions, there’s hope. One is that the economic growth–for the most
part, I think it surprises people–has reduced pollution, because as people get wealthier,
they demand cleaner air. As technology improves, we have better ways
of cleaning the air and the water. More people have access to clean water today
than they did at any point in time. But the big challenge is global warming and
CO2 emissions. That is a problem that kind of highlights
where government needs to play a role, because markets don’t address carbon emissions very
well. And, that’s still hopeful in the sense it’s
on us as humanity to make decisions, but we know at least a lot about what types of changes
need to be made, and what type of government agreements need to be made to get that into
control. The clock is ticking, but I think there’s
hope, a lot of hope there. The third challenge I think is inequality
within our society. In the United States, inequality has been
growing since about 1970. It’s been growing regardless of what party
has been in office. It’s a big concern for our society in terms
of communion with other people. We see divisions in our society rising; this
has to be in part at least due to the rising economic inequalities. This one’s tough. What do economists know about it? A lot of times, especially recently it’s
the issues of globalization, international trade, [and] international immigration that
has gotten a lot of attention. Most of the economic research says that is
a factor, but of [a] much smaller secondary factor. The biggest thing that’s happening is technological
change. The introduction of new technologies, computers,
robotics, new technologies in doing business, have sort of hurt low-skilled workers and
increased high-skilled workers. I think that’s a big challenge going forward,
to think about how to address that and what kind of combination of business, culture,
[and] government policies can best address that. Fourth, we have the crisis of families. This is something in the United States, I
think we see, we see it [also] in Western Europe, which is the decline of families and
smaller communities, [and] local community involvement. Divorce rates have been high for the past
thirty years. They’re not as high as they were in 1980,
but they’re very high. One of the reasons they’re not as high is
that people don’t get married anymore. Marriage rates have fallen, especially among–ties
in with the inequality–especially among the poor and less educated. Birth rates have fallen. That’s a huge crisis in Europe, especially,
but, it may become a big crisis in the United States, especially if we start reducing immigration. These are harder things to address, but it’s
something that developing countries seem to have not faced. So, I think, in that sense, it’s still hopeful. A fifth aspect is the changing technology. Understanding ourselves as more than just
rights-bearing, autonomous consumers is an important thing for the economy, but for society
more generally. I think especially among young people, you
see increasingly a search for meaning in life, which is apparently what this conference is
about. It’s a big problem in the economy and thinking
about technologies. I wanted to sort of illustrate, I’m an economist
and I think a lot of times policy implications get very simplified. I wanted to tell a quick story that I think
encapsulates a lot of the complexities of the environment, global poverty, inequality,
even the family that people face in the developing world. I was in India two weeks ago on a research
trip. You can ask my son who’s over there [GESTURES
TO SON], I’ve traveled to countries all the time, but this one particular factory we went
in was a sweat shop, and it hit me in a literal sense in the face and in the lungs. It was a four-story textile mill in India,
part of a textile cluster. This was a sweat shop. I mean, I think as an economist I have a high
tolerance for manufacturing in poor countries, but this was something where when we got to
the top level, I could hardly breathe for the five minutes we were there. What they had was a boiler to generate their
own energy, inside the factory. A leaky boiler, so they have smoke everywhere,
ash everywhere. You get to the top of the floor, that’s all
accumulated and then there’s all the chemicals for dyeing the textiles, OK? I think the people that are working there,
what they’re working is 12 hours a day, six days a week. That’s 72 hours a week in this environment
which is effectively like having your head inside of a barbeque or something. They must lose life, years of life with this. They were paid fifty cents an hour, so that’s
$6 a day, $36 per week, to work 72 hours in this environment. That’s more than they would get paid if they
worked in agriculture. What struck me was that earlier in the day
we had visited a factory, and a person had a business idea to generate steam centrally,
and then, to pump out the steam, so people wouldn’t have to have the boilers–low technology
boilers, dirty technologies–in their own factories. I thought it was a great idea, but it was
very hard to coordinate. We went to the next plant, which was not a
sweat shop, and the guy said, I would never want to buy my power; I want my generator
because we’re able to sell electricity and make a ton of money selling the electricity–I’ve
already bought this equipment. So, that’s an issue the government faces. Why is the electricity so high? Why can they make so much money generating
the electricity? Cause they can sell it for a much cheaper
price than you get from the government. Part of that is because people steal electricity,
and part of that is because of government regulation. Then, the fourth thing, is why are people
willing to work 72 hours for fifty cents an hour and to sacrifice their lives? Part of that is because they’re thinking not
about themselves, but about their family. They actually want to work 72 hours a week
because they can earn more money than they could at any other job, and they’re sacrificing
for their children. So, in some ways, this is a good thing in
one dimension, while being horrible in all these other dimensions. I think the problems we face are very complicated. It’s hard to think about how to address this
from a purely policy, purely business, purely cultural way. Thanks. [APPLAUSE] [WOO] Yeah, well, how do I follow? I just want to say, first of all, I want to
start with the theme of the conference and also thank you for Communion & Liberation
for putting on this and the Kellogg Institute for sponsoring this. Reality has never betrayed me. I agree with that statement, but [I do] not
totally understand. In the work that I did at CRS, we worked with
100 million people a year in the midst of the most depraved and deprived conditions. Sometimes I explain that, often I stand at
the foot of the cross, the way that I see people suffering. That reality is heartbreaking and it just
tears you apart. But, that is the reality that we have accepted,
and not walked away from to bring it to another type of reality. The model that CRS uses and we’re 75 years
old, we work in over 100 countries, we serve over 100 million people. It is very important for us in the design
of our programs that we have a framework. At any point in time we have about 900 programs
going on, so our colleagues need to know around the world what holds us together in the way
that we design intervention. Our operating model is integral human development
and is particularly strong these last 20 years after what we saw in Rwanda. That taught us a major lesson. To us it’s very simple. It is to serve everyone, particularly the
lowest and the most vulnerable, and to serve the whole person. What that means in operating terms, not in
theory, is for us to build up a different level; the individual, the family, the community
and sometimes the nation. It also means addressing different needs that
Joe has talked about. Those needs most immediate would be physical,
emotional; we also deal with spiritual needs, but also their social needs in terms of the
community’s well-being. Their needs for governance, for example, for
people to be at the table. And of course, very importantly, economic
needs. Which takes me to some of the examples I’m
going to give, because this particular session is: can the markets, can economies really
serve human purpose? The answer is absolutely yes. Let me just give two little stories and go
further. My husband (who is here) and I visited Nicaragua,
a farm, and met Ernesto, a Nicaraguan farmer who used to grow maize because he and his
grandfather and his neighbors and everybody before him grew maize. But, of course, there was no market for maize. He was afraid when he heard the sound of motorcycles,
because only bank collectors and debt collectors have motorcycles. He would go into hiding, because if they found
him he would lose his own ancestral plot, he would become homeless, and he would become
a day laborer. So, he finally was desperate enough to sign
up for a program–CRS and USAID ran that program–and it was to teach farmers how to grow a new
crop which has market value. In this case, it was papaya, I think. Papaya has export value. He had never grown it before; he had to learn
how to do it, but he was very entrepreneurial. After he mastered the crop, he decided that
he needed greenhouses, because if you plant directly in the soil the survival rate is
only 70%, but if you germinate in a greenhouse, the survival rate is 97%. So, he started a business for greenhouses,
and actually germinated his neighbor’s seeds, too. Because he needed good soil, the women of
that community started a business to collect manure, and from that manure to generate earthworms
and soil, and so on. He also learned about how to use chemicals
properly. He knew that the salesmen were overselling
and actually, very expensive, and it was damaging the soil and he started training. To make that story short, Ernesto became very
successful. He himself now has two motorcycles. [LAUGHTER] And that is the power. The second story is about Guatemala, a country
which is very poor and one of the sources of the young people and their parents who
try to come into the United States through very dangerous means. So, two programs there. One is called Youth Builder, which is to train
the youth at risk. They’re 14-24 years old, they’re not in school,
they’re probably minor gang members, and so there are several hundred hours of training,
but, in order for them to have internships, we have to have businesses. We have to have local businesses participating
in this. Another very big program–these are transformative
programs, by the way–the Youth Builder program, the first pilot, 5,000, the success rate was
85%; which means that the youth either go back to school, they get a job, or they start
their own little business. We are now taking that to 50,000 as our next
goal, and then, into three countries. It will require a completely different way
of financing it. We will use private capital, actually. Another example in Guatemala, is a $50 million
dollar grant where $25 million will be used to train up 200 communities in the western
highlands where people are poor, where they are very vulnerable to drug activities, and
also, young people are being recruited away or being bullied. So, 25 of the 50 will be used in building
up the capacity of these communities so that they know how to: self-govern, they know how
to create businesses, they know how to avail services from the government, and so on. The other 25 of this 50 million will be used
as a community development fund, which provides these no interest loans, because what good
is it to learn how to start a business or how to stay healthy if you don’t have the
capital? This is a no interest loan that will go into
these communities. At the end of those five years, CRS also promises
to create a new fund of $50 million dollars of capital, which will be private capital
being used to now fund these businesses as regular return activities. These are just two examples of why business
is absolutely necessary. I also have to say, I think corporate America
despite all the abuses–things are never completely one way or the other–has also moved a long
way in the last 20 years. In the whole area of where there is 3BL—planet,
people, profits–or ESG, environmental, sustainability, and governance, in corporate America, some
of them have been moving authentically in this direction. I think there are different industries and
watchdogs which are bringing that about. So, my number one comment now–I think that
business is a necessary good, it is not a necessary evil. However, there are two questions. Why doesn’t this type of behavior become the
core and the norm? The second question then is, what does it
take, and who are the players who make this happen? Thank you very much. [APPLAUSE] [GRIM] I don’t know if I can answer those
questions, but I’ll give it a shot. I think all of you know the religious history
of corn flakes, right? [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] No? Well, the Kellogg’s brothers of Battle Creek,
Michigan, were Seventh Day Adventists back in the late 1800s. This Kellogg [GESTURES] and thanks to Kelloggs
in this story, your institute exists. So, the Kellogg’s brothers are Seventh Day
Adventists. If you know something about Seventh Day Adventists,
they’re vegetarians, nearly; they follow Old Testament laws, including dietary laws, and
also, they worship on Saturday, the Sabbath. They were despairing of the American diet
in the late 1800s consisting of a breakfast to wake you up with bacon–if you could afford
it–grease, eggs, and then, more grease, and a terrible diet. They thought, the body is the temple of the
Holy Spirit; how can you wake it up and get it on a moral track with such a diet? They looked out across the corn fields of
Battle Creek, MI, and voilà–corn flakes. The religious history of corn flakes. Part of that is religious freedom. In the United States, there is a study we
did at our foundation finding that religion and religious actors add 1.2 trillion dollars
to the U.S. economy every year. You can find that study on our website and
on page 68 in your bulletin, you can find our website address. But, what is that dynamism? Well, that dynamism is when you have freedom,
people are free to bring their whole self to the question. They can bring their faith. You don’t have to leave your faith at the
door when you enter the workplace or when you start thinking about what to do. There’s many businesspeople in the United
States and around the world who are applying their faith principles to solving social problems. I’ll just give a few examples. There’s a young woman by the name of Brittany
Underwood who went about 12 years ago to Uganda thinking she was going to go and start an
orphanage. She went there as a student, and then she
found that there were lots of orphans and widows and she was going to raise money to
start an orphanage. But then, as she got involved with reality,
she found that there were widows and the orphans were living separately because the mothers
couldn’t take care of their children. So, rather than starting an orphanage, she
said, well, if the mothers could have some employment, then we’d solve the orphan problem. She started looking around at the materials
in Uganda, and developed a whole line of jewelry, and her company is called Akola. The women in Uganda started making the jewelry. She came back to the United States in Dallas,
TX and set up her company in Dallas, employing women who had been rescued from trafficking
to run the business on this side. Now she’s selling the Akola jewelry line throughout
the United States, and just recently Neiman-Marcus adopted her whole jewelry line as part of
what they offer for jewelry. So, once she got involved with reality (thinking
she was going to do charity), she found instead enterprise was the solution, not raising money
every year for an orphanage. She came about this through that experience. Another person who had a very different experience,
his name is Don Larson, he was a vice president at the Hershey Chocolate Company. I’m going to come back to chocolate from Venezuela
in a minute. This is chocolate in Hershey, PA where I grew
up. Don was a vice president there, and very successful. He had a McMansion, a big mansion, he had
a Porsche, he had a hot air balloon in his backyard (this is a toy), a swimming pool;
he had everything. And then, he had a religious experience and
he said, what? Is this what life is about? All these toys? Is this what I’m passing on to my children? The importance of getting money was so that
we could buy these things? He left Hershey and went on a journey searching
to maybe become a pastor, but instead as he reflected on what his skills were. He thought, what can I do to make a difference? So, he went to one of the poorest countries,
Mozambique, that was beset by, I think, a seventeen-year civil war. They used to be the largest cashew producers
in the world. The civil war destroyed the industry. Mozambique’s very diverse country, it’s mixed
with Christians, Muslims, and atheists ‘cause they were under a Communist government for
many years. So, he came in and he thought, I can use my
know-how to bring back to Mozambique the cashew business. But, from his religious conviction, he said
I’m going to do it in a different way. Now, Catholics, I don’t know how Catholics
are tied to tithing, you know what tithing is; you should give 10 percent of what you
make back. Well, Don Larson went even more radical. He said I’m going to do a reverse tithe and
90 percent of everything I make in this business goes back to Mozambique. Not 10 percent, 90 percent. He started this company and instead of buying
up the cashews and bringing them to the United States and then roasting them here and selling
them, he said, I’m going to do it all in Mozambique. He set up a roasting factory, a state-of-the-art,
and then instead of buying up cashew trees and developing his own farms, he empowered
local families and local businesses by getting them to use their cashew trees that are in
their backyard, and then they would become his suppliers. So, spreading out the wealth, back to the
supply chain, and then roasting them, and all of his employees are widows or orphans
from the war. Empowering them, packages them (the cashews),
seals them up and then puts them on container ships and then they come to Baltimore harbor
and then they’re shipped on trucks to a distribution center just outside of Harrisburg, PA. It’s all mechanized and then they’re sent
around the states, so all the large supermarkets, including Whole Foods, Giant, HEB in Texas,
are now carrying what’s called Sunshine Nuts. Without knowing it, if you’ve ever bought
Sunshine Nuts you’re participating in a faith-enterprise that’s empowering people and bringing hope. So, these are some of the things that people
around the world are doing. Coming to chocolate this afternoon at 5:15
upstairs, Alejandro Marius will be talking about his chocolate making and helping turn
the lives of people around in Venezuela through enterprise. There’s much of this going on. One of the things that we’re, in the foundation
that we’re working with, we have a partnership with the United Nations Global Compact which
you may not have heard of, but it’s the largest corporate social responsibility and sustainability
organization in the world. They have about 10,000 corporate members and
every year we give awards–I’m sorry, every two years during the Olympics we give awards
to business leaders like Don Larson, whom I mentioned and Brittany Underwood who are
advancing interfaith understanding, religious freedom, and peace through their enterprises. Some of this work has inspired the work that
I do, so I do a lot of research, I also do a lot of advocacy, but as I’m working on religious
freedom issues, taking on this business mindset has been a benefit. So, I’m doing a pilot in Manchester, England,
to bring Muslims, Christians, and others together into training programs for jobs, how to start
a business, and then part of that we’re developing a business incubator with a business that
we hope we can launch at the sister organization to this, the Rimini Meeting, if not this year,
some year. Pizza della Pace. So that’s pizza for peace. It’s a refugee, so in Manchester we have a
Syrian refugee and a local person who needs a job working together on a pizza truck, making
pizzas with some authentic Syrian flavor or Middle Eastern flavor. You’ve all heard of falafel? Right? And you’ve heard of hummus? Have you heard of za’atar? [AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] That’s the next big thing. And that’s what we’re gonna flavor our pizza
with. If you come this afternoon to Alejandro’s
(talk), you can see about how food can bridge differences. Food can bring us together, and that’s big
business. [AUDIENCE APPLAUSE] [CAROZZA] Thank you, Brian. Thank you, all three of you for some really
provocative– in the best sense of the word–food for thought about this question. I’m struck by Brian’s emphasis at the end
of, on the freedom that relationship between freedom and economic enterprise in these kinds
of things, which is also very present in Carolyn’s stories, too; the Nicaraguan farmer and so
forth. It is this capacity to mobilize and to generate
a certain kind of human freedom that then contributes to it. which, really is at the core of the classical
economics that you do, too, Joe, and that you study. And yet at the same time, if we look at the
reality of the economy; freedom is such a problem, too, isn’t it? On the one hand, we see freedom so badly used
by so many actors within the economy, and that is exactly what in some sense generates
the call and the desire and the perceived need to control things more, to regulate,
to create newer systems. It’s because freedom has not yielded these
kinds of benefits, generally. And then, perhaps even more tragic, I think,
is the sense, the perception that in fact so many of us have no freedom. We don’t believe in our freedom anymore; or
do we? The economy (because of the complexity that
Joe is describing in these problems), because they’re so massive, so global, the systems
are at a level and a proportion that is so far beyond the human measure and the human
heart and human decisions, that so many of us feel completely disempowered. Our freedom doesn’t matter. So, I’m wondering what each of you think and
make of this paradox? There seems to be a real need to generate
and mobilize a good and authentic human freedom to make this kind of human economy possible. and yet, it seems so beyond us, and when it
is even within our grasp, it seems to be used so badly so often. How do we resolve this dilemma? How do we even begin to think about it? [WOO] I just want to make three points about
that. I think, first of all, in many countries in
the world there is no access to freedom. So, you look at the Arab Spring and how it
started by a vendor, who was so frustrated by all the rules and regulations that took
away his ability to run his fruit stand, and he burned himself to death in Tunisia. That’s how it started, it was people wanting
that freedom. But, of course, one of the aftermath of Arab
Spring is the suppression of freedom, which is what you see now in many different countries. So, I think the first point I want to make
is that in a lot of countries and actually now more so, is the suppression of that freedom. Whether, in a lot of different countries. The second one is that I think that in countries
where there is freedom, people’s capacity to access what is theirs is under development. So that’s a capacity building issue for a
lot of very poor communities to where conflict is not the issue. I would say in the Guatemala communities they
are prey to drug gangs, and so on and so forth, because they are poor. There are ways to work themselves out of that
poverty, what I have seen actually, is the lack of peace that is really the issue that
holds poverty back. So, in this type of case in these countries
where there is enough sort of “rights” and access to what is there, it’s the lack of
capacity to really take advantage of that. And then the third and final point I make
is, the misuse of freedom. Whether it is a very destructive means, or
whether in situations where we use our freedom for things that don’t matter and we don’t
use our freedom for things that (do) matter. To end at that point, whatever this election
is, whichever side you’re on, whoever would have been elected, I don’t think we would
have a perfect world. There would be things that we would disagree
with. And I think the whole idea is what is the
power of civil society, to speak up, on whichever side. We spend a lot of money as a country to develop
the civil capacity of other countries. In fact, one of the ironic things now is to
this country is, how strong, really, is our own civil society? We may have a lot of organizations, but in
the end, are we effective in using our voice as we are trying to teach Indians, and Uruguayans,
etc., to use their voices. In this country, how strong is our ability
to exercise our voice? [APPLAUSE] [KABOSKI] I teach a class on economics and
catholic social thought. I wanted to address this question. I mentioned the view of man as an autonomous
rights-bearing consumer, and I think the idea of freedom that we have is autonomy and rights-bearing
and that’s a bit of a distortion in freedom. In this class, we read an article from espn.com
so college students love it, and it’s about freemium games, video games. I didn’t really know what a freemium game
was, my kids did. But basically, it’s a game that you get for
free, but then if you want to sort of go on to the next level, you have to pay for it. Or, if you kind of want to open all the features,
you have to pay for it. And the article is an article about a person
who is the leader of this famous video game, I think it’s called Clash of Clans, he’s the
global leader in this, and he is completely addicted to the game. He’s got five iPads that he keeps in zip-locked
bags, so he can play while he’s in the shower [AUDIENCE REACTION] and it’s ruined his life. Oddly enough, he doesn’t work, he has somebody
that’s willing to fund him. So, somebody is paying him a salary, someone
in Italy is paying a salary to this American to stay on top of Clash of Clans, but it’s
destroying his life. But the article is about the business model. And the business model is essentially, they
raise 90% of their revenue on about 5-10% of the consumers. So, they’re going after the addicted person
and they are using technology and all of the new methods in data science to figure out
exactly what they need to do so that this person never puts down his or her five iPads,
and keeps playing and keeps spending. It’s an odd business model, but we’re talking
about the freedom; on one level, we have less freedom than we think. There’s nothing forcing this person, no violation
of his rights, there’s no violation of his autonomy, but no one would ever think that
this person is free, right? He doesn’t have the self-discipline; an addicted
person, for example, is not free. He’s not free to have a life with much more
meaning than being the top person in this video game. But the second thing is, in many ways, we
do have more freedom, because the second part of the article (and the thing that really
gets the undergraduates) is to find out that this guy breaks his addiction. He finally gets help, he gets out of the addiction. And you know what he does? He goes to work, not for the same company,
but almost an identical company, the competition, because he knows so much about addiction,
about how to get people involved. And so, everybody in the class hates this
guy, when we’re talking, you know, it’s a human thing. But his argument is to say, look, if I didn’t
do it, somebody else would. And that’s the argument that these business
people use. They say, look, if we don’t make the money
off of these 10%, we’re going to get driven out of business anyway, and somebody else
is going to make this. And that’s a second distorted view of freedom
and I think a lot of people in the world don’t realize the amount of freedom they have. Business leaders, my students, they are always
torn–do I satisfy my parents by going to Wall Street, or do I satisfy my parents by
volunteering in an orphanage in Uganda, and these are the only two ways of life that I
can think that can satisfy all the demands in me. They have all the advantages in the world,
but they don’t consider themselves very free. I think these examples that Carolyn and Brian
bring up show us that we as business leaders and human beings have freedom. When we talk about markets, when we talk about
governments, markets are not something that exist outside of human beings making actions. Governments are not something that exist outside
of human beings making actions, making the right choices. [AUDIENCE APPLAUSE] [GRIM] One of the programs that we’re piloting
in an interfaith context is called, Launching Leaders, so it’s helping millennials have
a faith perspective on their vocation. I use vocation in a catholic sense, not just
vocations to religious life, but everybody has a vocation, a calling, what God has them
on earth to do. And we had in our interfaith group five Catholics,
four Muslims, and three Mormons participate in this group. On the very first day as we’re sitting around
and they were sharing different, of their backgrounds, the first question was, how do
you bring God into your important decisions in life–who to marry, or what to study, or
which job to do? And it was so interesting to hear the young
people go around the group; you wouldn’t imagine that they were from different religions or
different backgrounds. They were talking about whether or not, the
degree to which God is part of their decision-making process. And it varied. It was surprising to hear, in some ways, how
little God came in. It was as if there was a religious part of
life that happened on Sundays, or some day of the week, and then, there was the rest
of life that was hard to bring that Sunday piece into. I think that’s where freedom is. It is realizing that God has called us to
be instruments of change, salt and light, or evangelization, another catholic term. But, we’re called to be that all seven days
of the week. Of course, we all have problems fulfilling
that vocation, but that’s a different kind of perspective. So, I think that’s what freedom is. It’s when you’re set free to bring your whole
self, your whole spirit, your whole energies to the task at hand and when you do that,
amazing things are possible. I work in the area of religious freedom and
many people define religious freedom in very simplistic terms, such as, well it means the
separation of church and state. Or, it means that the government doesn’t interfere
with something a religious organization’s doing, but I think religious freedom is so
much bigger. Religious freedom is important because it
sets people’s faith free to do good in everything they do. I think that’s–freedom begins with that inner
transformation and being motivated every day of the week to make a difference. [APPLAUSE] [CAROZZA] So maybe another question, again,
taking Brian’s reference to vocation as being sort of this universal calling that we have. But, I’d like to link that with the questions
that Carolyn posed at the end of her comments, right? What do we do about universalizing this air
of a human way of doing things? And, who are to be the actors? In particular, what do those things say to
us? Here we have a room that’s full of young people,
old people, students, professionals, all different walks of life, different parts of the world;
what role can we play, each of us, in creating or generating a more truly human economy? Francis elsewhere summarizes the goal that
he has in all of this, at one point by saying that, he wants everyone to be protagonists
of our own destiny. If a truly human economy is one in which all
become protagonists of our own destiny, what can we do to help make that a reality? [WOO] I posed that question and I’m gonna
give a brief, quick answer. I actually, also have many ‘lives’. So, one life is [INAUDIBLE], one life is actually
a corporate life, cause I work with a lot of corporations, I serve on a few corporate
boards. I think we underestimate our power as consumers. I remember going to Ethiopia and finding out
how flour farms really work, and how they induce a higher rate of cancer. When I came back, I would not buy flours from
big boxes. You know, it used to be long-stemmed roses,
$3.50 in the eighties or something. Now you can buy a bunch of fifteen roses for
$15. Another example is shrimp and seafood. There’s a lot of slave labor, actually, embedded
in that. For all of you who have a retirement portfolio,
have you ever asked, what are the investments inside that portfolio? Are you actually holding through various intermediaries,
those of you who are against carbon? Are you holding a lot of oil company stock
shares without even knowing it? Companies are most responsive to investors
and their consumers. The government also plays a role, but it is
not the only actor in this instance. [KABOSKI] I was thinking, we are the salt
of the earth. That’s been true for centuries and I think
that’s what we face today. I mentioned two ways, two crises that we have. One is the crisis in the family and the other
is the ecological crisis. I think those are both ways in which we are
the salt of the earth. One way we can do it–I’m a teacher–we can
teach people, but we teach people in all aspects of our everyday life, right? But one part in particular, is in the raising
of our children, in our family life, we form people that view life in a different way. I think it needs committed people; it can’t
just be a superficial ad campaign. So, I think strengthening families and communities
is very important and the churches’ role is very important. A second thing: Pope Francis in Laudato Si,
he talks a lot about consumer choices. I guess a lot of people think that’s a very
naive way to address the ecological problems, and I think instead what it is, it’s a very
naive interpretation of what Pope Francis is calling us to. I think what Pope Francis calls us to is to
think, introspect, a little bit more about our own lives and think about our own consumer
decisions and these sorts of things, because what that does, then, it changes the human
heart. We become more open to things and we have
a greater capacity as individuals and as a society. The more in tune–this is just one example–but
the more in tune we get, we become to our environmental impacts, the easier it is then
to create policies that make wholesale change. So, we really have to think of ourselves as
the salt of the earth, as planting seeds, as building a culture that respects integral
human development. [GRIM] Pope Francis challenged every church
across Europe to take in a refugee. That got me to thinking, well, what would
they do? How would they handle that? What would your local congregation do if you’d
take in someone? We’re piloting something in England that we
hope to scale up globally to give a resource so people can do something. So, these courses on leadership, we have one
on how to find a better job, one on how to start and grow your own business, that are
facilitated and not taught. That means somebody who’s not an expert on
business could run the course and help somebody learn the techniques of starting a business
and also the Pizza della Pace idea; some practical tools. Often what’s missing is that everybody here,
I think, you have some desire to do good. I mean, coming out on a Saturday morning for
a talk on this, so there’s a desire there, but often we miss the practical tools that
we can implement with others. It’s hard to do something just alone. No matter how talented someone is, you need
to work in cooperation with others. So that’s one thing at least I’m trying to
do, is develop some tools that others can use and make use of in practical ways. I think that one thing education can do, Catholic
Charities does, is having actual practical things to get involved with. That would be one thing, to think of what
you could do practically, and pull together some other people to help you pull it off. [WOO] Paul, I want to add this, and that is,
do we use our voice here? For myself, there are three issues which are
very important to me, and for each of those issues I’m going to identify the organizations
which I really trust. I respect their work, and I’m going to join
the advocacy arm of those. I mean, it’s very simple. You just have it on your email and comment. They say, there’s this particular bill, there’s
this particular whatever-it-is. Whatever your zip code is, enter it and give
your position, and it goes to your political representative. I think for each of us that we need to use
our voice. There is no other way to register, sometimes
to be able to say, this is not OK, or this is OK. I think that most people–I probably shouldn’t
use myself as an example–but I’ve not been as active in those ways. And so, for my three issues, I want to become
part of that channel that studies, that doesn’t just say, it’s OK, I’ll keep silent when policies
or whatever are being made. And I just really want to share that, because
I think that’s something we could do and we don’t do, and have not done. [CAROZZA] I think, Carolyn, that gets really
to the heart of what a more truly human economy really means at the end, as well. Because what seems clear from not just what
the Pope has been exhorting us to, but the entire tradition of catholic thought about
economics at least, and humanist thought about economics is, of course, that we can’t merely
be material beneficiaries of some sort of economic process, we have to be participants
in it for it to be human. To be human is to be engaging our reason,
our freedom, to be active, to be these protagonists, to be participants in an authentic sense in
it. And I was also struck along the same veins,
your comment Joe, about the human heart. That it is a question of participating with
everything that is human in us in the activity that sustains us, that sustains our communities
that benefits others. As Father Giussani famously said, the forces
that change the human heart, and the forces that change history, in the end are the same. So, in order to change the economy to make
possible an economy with a more truly human purpose there needs to be a change of the
human heart at the end as well. And how do we do that? In turn, all of your stories, this whole event,
the name of the event itself, the witness that we heard last night from Richard Cabral,
all gives in some sense as evidence that that change begins with an encounter, with a human
encounter, not with something impersonal, not with forces and systems that are beyond
us, but with something that is capable of awakening in us a desire in the heart that
then makes it possible to truly be participants in the reality before us and not deny it. So, I wish we had more time to explore that. Here we do throughout the rest of the weekend,
but, the conversation unfortunately right now, is limited by time, so the only thing
that’s left for us is to please thank our distinguished guests for helping us. [APPLAUSE]

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