Pope To Davos Attendees: Use Your Wealth To Help Others
Credit: Eric Espinoza Photography/Flickr
January 22, 2014

But will the billionaires listen? I somehow doubt it. From where I sit, annual Davos meetings are an opportunity for them to feel better about their place in the world while doing little to help anyone.

In a letter read to Davos participants, Pope Francis exhorted the billionaires to think of others besides themselves, and to consider business a means rather than an end. A Guardian reporter live-blogged it:

The Message continues that we must praise the steps being taken to improve people's welfare in education, communications, and many other areas of human activity. And we must recognise the role that modern business activity has had in creating these opportunities.

But we cannot ignore the suffering in the world, he warns, and often important issues of human suffering are " little more than an afterthought" to business leaders.

Those in positions of power have a special responsibility to those less fortunate than themselves, he says. It is intolerable that so many people around the globe still die from hunger today.

"We need a new, profound, sense of responsibility on behalf of all."

Business is a vocation, a noble vocations, as long as those involved feel challenged by a meaning in life. Those people can serve us all for the common good, he says.

Progress is about more than economic growth, the Pope's envoy continues. We can only all benefit from business if its leaders are looking to serve us all, rather than to simply serve themselves.

Powerful exhortations from a powerful man, but I'm concerned that they're falling on deaf, selfish ears.


The guest list at the WEF in Davos features some of the richest and most powerful people in the world, including the CEOs of JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, and Walmart’s CEO of global eCommerce. All told, there are over 700 "chief executives" attending, 13 members of the United States Congress, and representatives of 20 central banks from around the world. It’s the world’s global elite all in one place.

So when Oxfam reports that 85 people hold more wealth than half the world's population, assume more than a few of those 85 people are present or represented in Davos this week.

Don't turn blue holding your breath for them to take his words to heart.

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