ND Expert: A response to the Vatican’s call for a global economic authority

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Rev. Oliver Williams, C.S.C.

Yesterday (Oct. 24), the Vatican issued a document calling for the gradual creation of an international political authority empowered to regulate financial markets and address the “inequalities and distortions of capitalist development.”

Citing papal teachings over the last 40 years, “Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority,” a 41-page statement prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, argues that the current global economic crisis illustrates the urgency of establishing such an authority.

According to Rev. Oliver Williams, C.S.C., “many people will not find this a good idea, given the poor record of United Nations countries in human rights, for example, but the document stresses that we begin thinking about this matter, not that it be done overnight.”

Father Williams, who directs the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Religious Values in Business in the Mendoza College of Business, is a director of the U.N. Global Compact Foundation, a voluntary association of more than 6,000 businesses in 135 countries. Last April he co-directed a conference at Notre Dame and last June he attended a conference sponsored by the pontifical council in Rome to discuss these issues.

“The Global Compact initiative is a step in the right direction,” Father Williams says. “These businesses agree to advance human rights in developing countries, work toward better environmental policies, and take steps to overcome corruption. This U.N. initiative is setting the stage for greater global cooperation and has much promise for developing future models for advancing the common good.”