Pope Francis Hopes to Anoint a New Economic Model, by Henry Tricks

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In Assisi, a papal anti-Davos will usher in “The economy of Francesco”

Credit: Bridgeman


THE MEDIEVAL town of Assisi rises above vineyards and olive groves in Italy’s fertile region of Umbria. Its shops sell the finest local wines, oils and truffles. It is sometimes hard to imagine that Saint Francis, Italy’s patron saint, who is buried beneath the basilica, started a mendicant holy order here. The town evokes a genteel prosperity, not poverty.

It is here, in March 2020, that Pope Francis will host a gathering of students, academics and socially conscious entrepreneurs. They will draw up what the dark-robed friars of Assisi’s Sacred Convent hope will be a magna carta for a new type of economy: one that reproduces the small-scale market economy and social harmony of Assisi. “The economy of Francesco” will be named in homage to the nature-loving saint.

The explicit aim is to find more sustainable ways of living that ease the burden on the poor, via the development of a “circular economy” in which all benefit, including the planet. The implicit one is to explore alternatives to the free-market capitalist system—even if that model has helped lift swathes of humanity out of poverty. As a sort of papal anti-Davos, it will attempt to complement the pope’s “Laudato Si’”, an encyclical about climate change published in 2015. That won the pontiff a strong following among environmentalists. The follow-up is unlikely to do the same for economists. ….

Read more here  https://worldin.economist.com/edition/2020/article/17495/pope-francis-hopes-anoint-new-economic-model