News / Economy

Pope Urges Business Elite to Use Wealth to Serve Humanity

FILE - In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper, Pope Francis smiles during an event at the Vatican on Jan.21, 2014.
FILE - In this photo provided by the Vatican newspaper, Pope Francis smiles during an event at the Vatican on Jan.21, 2014.
VOA News
Pope Francis has called on the world's business and political elite to use their skills and immense resources to alleviate global poverty.

The pontiff's message Tuesday opened the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  In it, the pope praised the fundamental role that modern business has played in improving health care, education and communications.  But he also said it is "intolerable" that hunger continues to grip many struggling economies. He urged forum delegates to "ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it."

The papal plea came as the human rights group Oxfam released a study showing the wealth of the world's 85 richest individuals equals that of 3.5 billion people - a full one-half of the global population.

A co-author of the report, Nick Galasso, tells VOA that wealthy elites have used their political power to get lower tax rates, hide wealth offshore, and otherwise serve their own interests.

"High levels of inequality actually corrode democratic processes.  What we have seen across the globe and what the report documents is how wealth concentration is used to influence the political process to create laws and regulations that benefit the rich over everyone else," said Galasso.

Oxfam said that "by some measure, the riches of billionaires are now unparalleled in history."  Last year, Forbes magazine calculated the combined fortunes of the 85 wealthiest at nearly $1.7 trillion.

The report did not name the world's 85 richest individuals, but cited lists compiled by Credit Suisse bank and Forbes.  It said the income alone derived from the $73 billion fortune of the world's richest individual, Mexican telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim, could pay the yearly wages of 440,000 Mexicans.

The report lists financial deregulation, tax havens and secrecy, and diminished public services as examples of political maneuvering by the wealthy.  It said the effect of these policy changes is not only to concentrate wealth and political influence in higher income brackets, but to ensure it stays there for the next generation.

Oxfam says that in the past decade, the number of billionaires in India has increased tenfold, while in Europe, austerity measures mainly affect the middle and lower classes.  It says in Africa, global corporations exploit their political influence to avoid taxes, reducing government resources to fight poverty.

Oxfam is calling for those business leaders and government delegates at the forum to support government programs that strive to help under-served middle and lower income levels, support development of fair wages and crack down on tax dodging and financial secrecy.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: BPSeattle from: Seattle
January 22, 2014 3:35 PM
It is heartening to hear the Pope urge the elite to do more for the global poor. The disparity seems to be increasing forever and unless we all stand up and act, we will have a war! At www.borgenproject.com, learn how you can help too!


by: Muhasan from: Iran
January 21, 2014 9:59 PM
by "humanity" he means subsidize more pedophile priests... Allah will make you all bow to our will. Christian/Jewish filth.

In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
January 22, 2014 1:24 PM
No, he's not referring to more suicide bombers and terrorism; he says to save lives not destroy it by sharia and hate.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.