In September 2009, a little over a year ago and at the peak of the economic and financial turmoil, Pope Benedict XVI invoked, in his "Caritas in Veritate" 1 encyclical letter, the need to rethink international governance, especially regarding strategic issues such as agriculture and the environment. This year, while most of the world's countries are resuming economic growth and powerful nations have met several times at the Toronto and Seoul G20 summits, the pope speaks out again in favor of a deep overhaul of the global economic system. In his November 14, Angelus prayer, the Holy Father thus strongly reaffirmed that agriculture must be a the heart of a new economic policy, "A necessary genuine resource for the future."
Momagri Editorial Board
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The current economic crisis, which was recently dealt with in what is known as the "G20", must be taken in all its seriousness. It has numerous causes and sends a powerful message on the need for a thorough revision of the global economic development model (see "Caritas in Veritate", No. 21).
It is an acute symptom that arose in addition to other more serious and already well-known indicators, such as continued imbalance between wealth and poverty, the disgrace of hunger, the state of ecological emergency and the now generalized problem of unemployment.
In this context, a strategic re-launching of agriculture seems to be a crucial step. In fact, the industrialization process has sometimes overshadowed the agricultural sector, which, while also gaining from modern know-how and technology, has nevertheless lost relevance with noteworthy consequences at the cultural level too. I believe it is now time to call for the re-evaluation of agriculture, not with a sense of nostalgia but as a necessary resource for the future.
In the current economic situation, the temptation for the more dynamic economies is to resort to advantageous alliances, which can nevertheless have costly consequences for poorer nations as they extend situations of poverty for countless men and women and deplete the world's natural resources entrusted to man by God the Creator so that he may cultivate and protect it (as stated in Genesis 2, 15).
Moreover, in spite of the crisis, we are still observing that, in long industrialized countries, lifestyles marked by untenable consumption and damaging effects for the poor and the environment, are still being encouraged.
We must then strive, in a truly unified manner, to achieve a new balance between agriculture, industry and services, so that economic development is sustainable, so that no one goes without food or work and that air, water and other resources are preserved as universal goods (see "Caritas in Veritate, No. 27).
To that end, it is essential to nurture and publicize a clear ethical awareness that is up to face the most complex current challenges, to train ourselves to spend more wisely and more responsibly, to promote personal responsibility and the social aspects of rural activities, which are based on perennial values such as hospitality, solidarity and the sharing of work fatigue.
Many young people have already chosen this path. Young professionals are returning to farming, thus answering not only to a personal and familial need but also to a sign of the times, a concrete responsiveness to the common good.
Let us pray to the Virgin Mary that these thoughts can serve as a stimulus to the international community, while we give thanks to God for the fruits of the earth and the work of man.
1Please see momagri September 7, 2009 article "The current crisis obliges us to re-plan our journey and to set ourselves new rules." http://www.momagri.org/UK/editorials/The-current-crisis-obliges-us-to-re-plan-our-journey-and-to-set-ourselves-new-rules_539.html