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Davos: Pope condemns ‘profit at all costs’ from World Economic Forum stage

26 January 2018


Heavy snow falls in Davos, in the Swiss Alps, on Tuesday. World leaders gathered in the town for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, from Tuesday to Friday

Heavy snow falls in Davos, in the Swiss Alps, on Tuesday. World leaders gathered in the town for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, from ...

THE Pope has criticised “ambition for profit at all costs” in a message to the World Economic Forum in Davos, in Switzerland, this week.

In his speech, delivered by the Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Cardinal Peter Turkson, at the opening session on Tuesday, Pope Francis called on world leaders, including Theresa May and President Trump, to “safeguard the dignity of the human person” by “offering to all people real opportunities for integral human development, and by implementing economic policies that favour the family”.

He said that there was a “moral imperative” for people to be given the conditions to live in a dignified manner. The world “cannot remain silent in the face of the suffering of millions of people, whose dignity is wounded, nor can we continue to move forward as if the spread of poverty and injustice has no cause”.

The World Economic Forum brings together more than 3000 of the world’s political and business elite each year in Davos. The theme of this year’s forum, which was due to close today, is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, which the Pope said was “very timely”. “At the level of global governance,” he went on, “we are increasingly aware that there is a growing fragmentation between states and institutions.”

He said that recurring financial instabilities had “brought new problems and serious challenges that governments must confront, such as the growth of unemployment, the increase in various forms of poverty, the widening of the socio-economic gap, and new forms of slavery, often rooted in situations of conflict, migration, and various social problems”.

He warned about the dangers of technological advances, such as artificial intelligence, and said that they “must be so employed that they contribute to the service of humanity, and to the protection of our common home rather than to the contrary, as some assessments unfortunately foresee”.

His message ended with a call for reaction from the forum: “Now is the time to take courageous and bold steps for our beloved planet. This is the right moment to put into action our responsibility to contribute to the development of humanity.”

On Friday, US President Donald Trump declared that “There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest and to grow in the United States. America is open for business, and we are competitive once again.”

In his keynote speech, he told audience members that free trade “needs to be fair, and it needs to be reciprocal” in order to work properly and the US “will no longer turn a blind eye” to unfair practices.

Trump also criticised the media, saying he didn’t realise how nasty, how mean, how vicious and how fake they were before he became President, which led to some boos from the crowd.

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