The strong and the wealthy are meeting in Davos for the  World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters on the theme: “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.  

Pope Francis in a message to the world’s political and industrial leaders said that “the dawn of the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” has been accompanied by a growing sense of the inevitability of a drastic reduction in the number of jobs.”

Quite naturally this statement in itself means bad news to millions of workers around the world. We have just had a similar experience in Malta. De la Rue is increasing investment and reducing workers.

Pope Francis appealed to world leaders to  create new models of doing business which, “while promoting the development of advanced technologies, are also capable of using them to create dignified work for all, to uphold and consolidate social rights, and to protect the environment.  Man must guide technological development, without letting himself be dominated by it!”

His heartfelt cry is:

“Do not forget the poor!... We must never allow the culture of prosperity to deaden us, to make us incapable of ‘feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and sensing the need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own’.”

Quoting his own bull of indiction for the Jubilee Year, urged the wealthy: “Make their cry become your own and together may we break down the barriers of indifference that too often reign supreme and mask our hypocrisy and egoism!” The economic world today is experiencing a “fourth industrial revolution,” with the development of robotics, the Pope continued. He said that leaders should be careful that innovation “does not lead to the destruction of the human person—to be replaced by a soulless machine—or to the transformation of our planet into an empty garden for the enjoyment of a chosen few.”

The Pope clearly shows that he is not anti-business but he wants business to be at the service of the human person:

“As I have often said, and now willingly reiterate, business is ‘a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world’, especially ‘if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good’ (Laudato Si’, 129).  As such, it has a responsibility to help overcome the complex crisis of society and the environment, and to fight poverty.  This will make it possible to improve the precarious living conditions of millions of people and bridge the social gap which gives rise to numerous injustices and erodes fundamental values of society, including equality, justice and solidarity.”

Local political and business leaders will do well to take the words of the Pope to heart and translate them in a more just distribution of wealth among us.

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The attempt by Minister Konrad Mizzi, through his lawyers, to deprive Daphne Caruana Galizia of her status of journalist is an attack not just on Caruana Galizia but on our right to enjoy freedom of the press.

Next Sunday I will discuss this topic in my commentary to The Sunday Times of Malta.

 

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