What Is an Economy? Understanding Rome's Radical Call

This is a radical call. Many simply cannot conceive of a world without competition, because they cannot conceive of relinquishing their desires for various goods. The proposal is rooted in a kind of spirituality: a way of viewing oneself and others through the lens of love. Instead of viewing others as competitors for limited resources, we can view each other as cooperators expanding the number of resources. The economy is not, then, a zero-sum game, but rather a process of naming desires which give life, and ignoring those which create competition. Instead of social Darwinism, it is a vision of social justice. It is not a "rich get richer and poor get poorer" economy (which is really unworthy of the name "economy"), but fundamentally an economy of communion.

What will drive this new vision of economy is the free and expansive desire to serve the goods of oneself and one's friends. Unlike the oppressive pedagogy prescribed by communism, it will be rooted in human creativity. The document comments that "The gap between ethical training and technical preparation needs to be filled by highlighting in a particular way the inescapable synergy between the two levels of practical doing (praxis) and of boundless human striving (poièsis)." An economy, it rightly realizes, is not just about dollars and cents or about financial and political structures. It's about people making a living and building a life.

At this moment in global history, it's time to realize that it's possible to do it together rather than in competition.

10/31/2011 4:00:00 AM