An Eco-sustainable World
To the Future

Towards a humanistic and sustainable economy

Towards a humanistic and sustainable economy

Having reached the finish line of the 3rd millennium, and the third decade has begun, which according to Agenda 2030, seems to be decisive for the fate of humanity and the planet that supports it, there are many questions that haunt us, fears that pervade us, the doubts that assail us.
Yet above all we are developing (with different personal sensitivities) a certainty: we can no longer support certain lifestyles, certain ways of relating to others, certain economic systems.
We are faced with a notable historical transition, where not only our way of relating to people and things is called into question, but also the policies that arise from this vision.
The same relationship between economics (understood as a broad science of resources and their management) and freedom is under deep analysis and revision: human freedom and that of all living beings, as addressed by Pope Francis in his latest encyclicals and apostolic exhortations, to starting from Laudato Sì, to Fratelli Tutti, up to the more recent Laudate Deum.
Yet in these first twenty years of the 3rd millennium capitalism has imposed itself throughout the world – from the democratic one of the West to the authoritarian one of China – without any contrast. And with all the consequences of the case. In this entire period of time, no alternative voice has ever been raised, at least of such an authoritative level, other than that of Pope Francis.
Not even Agenda 2030 has touched the link between economy and freedom with such decision, synchrony and interdependence. Because beyond all the beautiful words and programs launched by the United Nations, what is at stake is not only the impact of this unbridled capitalism on the entire planet but the freedom of every living being that inhabits it: from the most microscopic to the human.
Yes, because, above and beyond the tangible good that is the ecosystem (on which so much environmentalism was born, and fortunately), the supreme good par excellence is freedom.
And here we must dust off that very uncomfortable and, apparently, increasingly marginalized person who is Jesus Christ (Bethlehem, 6-7 BC-Jerusalem, 26-36 AD), with his teaching.
We are good at making references to great philosophers and historians of the more or less recent past; just think of I. Kant’s phrase “Act in such a way as to consider humanity both in your person and in the person of everyone else, always as a noble end, never as a simple means” but we never dwell on it (and often they don’t even Christians) on the depth of the message of this person who, even if not seen with the eye of the Faith of Catholics, historically, with his thoughts, as well as with his actions, has determined a profound watershed in history, so much so as to date the years with a before and after his coming.
Precisely starting from these concepts, the French scholar Charles Gave analyzed the economic thought of Jesus Christ, as it emerges from the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The result was an essay entitled “Jesus Economist”, published by the Bruno Leoni Libri Institute. Just as The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni (Milan, 7 March 1785 – Milan, 22 May 1873) explains the formation of prices, in a market economy, much better than ten specialist treatises, the Gospels illustrate the socio-economic doctrine of Jesus better than an army of exegetes.
For Charles Gave, Jesus is extraordinarily modern. Better yet, timeless. He is the first to urge the separation between State and Church (“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, to God what is God’s”). He is the first to sublimate the culture of risk, the true essence of the parable of the talents (“Evil and lazy servant, did you know that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered; you should have entrusted my money to the bankers and so, returning, I would have withdrawn mine with interest. So take away his talent and give it to him who has ten talents.” He is the first to understand the notion of value in economics (“Lifting up his eyes, Jesus saw some rich people throwing their offerings into the treasury. He also saw a poor widow throwing two pennies into it and said: “Truly I tell you, this widow , poor, she put in more than everyone else. All of these, in fact, put down their superfluous things as an offering, but this one in her poverty gave everything she had to live on”»).
Jesus does not demonize wealth. He chases the merchants out of the temple because it is unacceptable to make money with religion, nor should one gain political power with faith. Jesus condemns the evil rich, not the good rich. The Samaritan belonged to this category, he would never have brought an anathema upon himself.
Even on social justice, the economist Jesus does not allow himself, so to speak, to be exploited. Social justice is a collective notion. But Jesus addresses the person, the individual. Gave writes: “On Judgment Day, Christ will not say: on my right the proletariat, towards paradise; on my left the capital, direction hell. The good masters and the good proletarians will be on the right, the others on the left.” The evangelist John wrote: Judas is a great hypocrite who claims to say what is good and who, in reality, ruins everyone’s life. Judas loved money, but pretended to despise it, as still happens among many fringes of the ruling class.
From this book emerges a vision of the man Jesus that is still revolutionary today, as Gave says, timeless.
And so the lesson that emerges from his doctrine is still partly not applied and not understood by that liberal world which, by exploiting the etymology “free” undermines its very meaning, its very existence, often and frequently determining slavery, addictions , oppressions.
We could define Jesus’ vision of the economy, obviously beyond his main doctrinal and eschatological objective, that of a Humanistic Capitalism and Human Sustainability.
Yet, precisely from the emergencies of this period of history, significantly correlated to a deviated liberal and capitalist conception, emerge, in all their crudeness, the shadows of a dark past but also the light of a renewed perspective, that timeless perspective that now it is becoming clearer.
This light comes precisely from the teachings that nature, so mistreated and oppressed by unscrupulous capitalism, is demonstrating. In it we are understanding that there is no history, economy, capitalism, humanity, outside its principles and its rules. Nature contains the principles and rules of the economy, they are timeless and perfectly indicated in the teaching of Jesus.
Admirable, as mentioned, Pope Francis’ trilogy (especially in Laudato Sì), gives a commendable essay on humanistic economics and ecology, a sign that something new is happening in human history and that our historical perspective is too narrow to evaluate its effects and depth.
Atheists may turn up their noses (even if this article does not deal with theological aspects), lovers of Marxism on one side and liberalism on the other may raise objections.
The truth is that history is in motion and progress. He still has many unexpressed energies that are present in his DNA to mature.
Just as in culture and spirituality, as well as in the economy and the environment, the forms that complete the meaning of Human Sustainability are maturing, and sustainability is one with Humanistic Capitalism, as an inclusive conception of everything material and immaterial that concerns the human person. Universal humanism is the matrix and greatest common denominator of all this.
This arc of history, despite all the emergencies and catastrophes it will encounter, is a prelude to something, hidden for centuries (not for everyone) and which is manifesting itself in its fullness.
That inclusive sustainability of material and spiritual values is being envisaged, that concrete place where the environment, economy, technology, culture, spirit and morality live together.
As Leibniz stated, nature “does not make leaps”, that is, the relationships between things are of continuity and not of diversity and this opens up completely new cultural, sociopolitical and humanistic scenarios.

Guido Bissanti

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *