Academy of Social Sciences examining globalization to combat negative effects


Beginning today, the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences is meeting to study how to overcome the negative effects of globalization so that trend can be harnessed to build  a "civilisation of the common good.”

Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences; Margaret Archer of the University of Warwick, England; and Pierpaolo Donati of the University of Bologna, Italy held a press conference at the Vatican today to announce the academy’s 14th plenary meeting. The summit will take place at the Vatican from May 2-6 and has the theme: "Pursuing the common good: how solidarity and subsidiarity can work together".

According to organizers, the goal of the conference "is to give new meaning and application to the concept of common good in this age of globalisation, which in certain fields is leading to growing inequalities and social injustice, laceration and fragmentation of the social fabric, in short, to the destruction of common goods throughout the world".

"The main hypothesis on which scholars are called to exchange their views is that the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity can, unlike the compromises between socialism and liberalism, mobilise new social, economic and cultural forces of civil society which, within politically-shared fundamental values, can generate those common goods on which the future of humanity depends.”

An explanation released by the conference organizers says that the participants will carefully look at how the “four fundamental principles of the Catholic social doctrine (dignity of the human person, common good, solidarity and subsidiarity)” can be applied and also how they might be “misconstrued, misunderstood, disobeyed or distorted".

Explaining how these principles "are very often interpreted in ways that are very far from the meanings and intentions that attain to social doctrine," the note refers to the family. "The common good of the family is identified with its assets", it says, "family solidarity with sentiments of pure affection, subsidiarity with leaving each 'actor' to define the family as he/she likes".

"At the practical-operational level, some case studies on good practices will be presented", among them are “the 'economy of communion' and the 'Food Bank'”; “shared access (peer to peer) to information goods on communication networks (the Internet); the new 'Local Alliances for the Family' (born in Germany and spreading throughout Europe); subsidiary educational activities in developing countries”; and the use of “micro-credit for social, economic and human development."

Underlying all of these efforts, the bishops see “the fundamental challenge" facing the assembly as acknowledging that “the great deficit of modernity” and then discovering how to combine the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity to “turn globalisation into a 'civilisation of the common good'".

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