“It cannot be that today we produce enough food for the whole world and millions of people die of hunger every year – more people than die of coronavirus, malaria and dengue fever combined”, a Vatican official has deplored.

– “The economy is sick with many things and therefore needs many cures”

Father Augusto Zampini, the adjunct secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, raised the alarm in a November 18 interview with Vatican News.

“The organisation of the Common Home, the economy, is sick with many things and therefore needs many cures”, Zampini denounced.

The Vatican official – who is also an integral part of the Pope’s COVID-19 Commission – was speaking ahead of the opening this Thursday of the ‘Economy of Francesco’ event.

The Pope convened that event in May 2019 when he invited young people from all over the world – along with some of the globe’s most renowned economists and entrepreneurs – to join him in Assisi to plan for “a different kind of economy: one that brings life not death, one that is inclusive and not exclusive, humane and not dehumanising, one that cares for the environment and does not despoil it”.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was postponed from when it was originally slated to be held in March, but this Thursday it finally gets underway online until Saturday November 21.

– “We extract from the earth and from human beings without giving anything in return”

Speaking to Vatican News, the Vatican expert decried that our “extractive and technofix mentality” is to blame for the social, economic and environmental turmoil that our world is living through today.

“Through this mentality, we extract from the earth and from human beings without giving anything in return: we do not extract responsibly, we do not relate to either the earth or to human beings and we generate a culture of consumption and waste, with an economic globalisation that goes hand in hand with a globalisation of indifference, with the cry of the earth, with the cry of the poor, with suffering”, Zampini alerted.

To heal our world, the Vatican official came up with a series of five concrete proposals, all of which he said are based on a shift to a “value-added” mentality centred on a “culture of care” instead of what the Pope calls our “throwaway culture”, and on an idea of “universal solidarity”.

Zampini’s five ideas for a more humane economy included an “agriculture of care and justice”, fairer trade and distribution of goods and services, the privileging of “collective” and not just individual benefit in business, the promotion and adoption of sustainable consumption habits and, lastly, responsible investments that lead to integral human development.

Zampini summed up all those notions under the umbrella idea of a move from an “economy of shareholders” to an “economy of stakeholders”, in which the interests of all people and our Common Home are taken into account, and not just those of the rich and powerful.

The adjunct secretary of the Human Development dicastery recalled, too, that a more inclusive, sustainable and equitable economy must also be necessarily based on clean and renewable energy, because as Pope Francis wrote in his landmark 2015 encyclical Laudato si’ on care for our Common Home:

“We are faced not with two separate crises, one environmental and the other social, but rather with one complex crisis which is both social and environmental. Strategies for a solution demand an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded, and at the same time protecting nature”.

More on Novena on the “Economy of Francesco” event:

‘Economy of Francesco’ organisers insist pre-COVID economy now obsolete, push for more than just ‘green’ recovery to focus on poor

April 2020: Youth promise Pope redoubled efforts on “economy of relationships” in wake of coronavirus

January 2020: Thousands of young people to meet in Assisi to realise Pope’s dream of a “new economy on a human scale”

More on the Pope’s vision for the economy:

Popular Movements unleash “radical”, “revolutionary” potential of Pope’s vision for economy (full text)


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.