Strategies for Social Change

There has been much debate over the effectiveness of the G20’s policies and procedures on eradicating poverty in Emerging Market Economies. From a purely economic perspective, there is much reform needed if the Millennium Development Goals are to be met. From a Catholic Social Thought perspective, there is much improvement needed in fulfilling a deeper sense of poverty reduction. Analysts, scholars, and theologians have all offered opinions on the improvement of the processes in use today. There seems to be a fundamental difference in the definition of wealth between the two parties, which does not allow complementary solutions to be created. In order to create effective policies in the best interests of all involved, compromises must be made.

One set of changes that should be addressed to best incorporate a catholic vision upon economic reform suitable for all nations is to increase the number of countries represented in the decision making. The G20 is made up of 19 countries and the EU, and these countries control over 80% of the economy yet represent a much smaller fraction of nations worldwide. Expanding the representation to more countries would allow for a much less biased and fair opinion on behalf of the world. For example, if the G20 solicited responses and ideas from all 192 countries in the U.N. (25), a much clearer idea of what was needed would be accomplished. Increasing the size of the nations represented in the decision making process would benefit the catholic perspective because it would enable the sustenance for all “without exclusion” to the best of its ability.mfi-egy-highlights.jpg

Another strategy for social change would be to address and overhaul the current approach the G20 takes in delegation of funds. A key proponent of the Universal Destination of Goods is the use of God-given goods for the benefit of all. Currently, the top-heavy approach used by the G20 is preventing nations from exercising their rights to human dignity and coercing them to accept the policies implemented by the member countries. This causes exclusion in the catholic viewpoint because the world has allowed “too much wealth to be concentrated in too few hands” (26). This sense of exclusion is completely against the Universal Destination of Goods and a solution to this problem would be to reverse the lending method.

Instead of using the current top-heavy approach where global behemoths decide the regulations for which concessional lending will be given, a catholic viewpoint would be to do the opposite. A strategy that focuses on bottom-up lending would ensure a more accurate voice and distribution of goods to the developing world. Commonly found in microfinancing institutions such as Catholic Relief Services, the bottom-up approach would allow for the funds to start at the source of the poverty and to work their way up the system. The current option mandates that large financing institutions (IMF) are given enormous sums of resources to disperse within their lending standards. This is a timely and ineffective process. The microfinance approach would have a much more direct effect on those who most need it. Microfinancing is a form of lending where individuals are loaned small sums of money, usually less than $50, and this capital infusion enables them to invest in materials needed to start or improve their business (27). These lending practices correspond closely with the Universal Destination of Goods. Micro financing has the ability to allocate these resources in the most efficient way without exclusion so that all involved can achieve a complete and fulfilled life.

These strategies, if effectively incorporated, could provide a solid compromise between both viewpoints. They could incorporate enough economic theory to enable survival and progress through benchmarks while enabling each individual the ability to pursue their individual goals within society as mandated by full participation.


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