Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Vatican News presenting Pope Francis’ support for the UN Secretary General’s vision of a global future of sustainable local cooperatives which eliminate the unfairness of Capitalism.
Pope: cooperatives for clean energy against climate change
Cooperatives – people-centred development
The aim of the annual celebration is to increase awareness about cooperatives. Being people-centred, not capital-centred, cooperatives distribute wealth in a fairer way. As farms, businesses, or other organizations which are owned and run jointly by members who share the profits or benefits, cooperatives are committed to the sustainable development of their communities, environmentally, socially as well as economically. They support community activities, local sourcing of supplies to benefit the local economy, and decision-making that considers the impact on their communities.
In a message for the June 4 International Day of Cooperatives, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, focused on the role of cooperatives in addressing the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change and in forging a path towards an inclusive and equitable future for all.
…Read more: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2020-07/pope-francis-cooperatives-day-climate-renewable-energy-justice.html
Laudato Si‘, Pope Francis’ Climate Change Encyclical, also mentions the positive role of Cooperatives;
112. Yet we can once more broaden our vision. We have the freedom needed to limit and direct technology; we can put it at the service of another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral. Liberation from the dominant technocratic paradigm does in fact happen sometimes, for example, when cooperatives of small producers adopt less polluting means of production, and opt for a non-consumerist model of life, recreation and community. Or when technology is directed primarily to resolving people’s concrete problems, truly helping them live with more dignity and less suffering. Or indeed when the desire to create and contemplate beauty manages to overcome reductionism through a kind of salvation which occurs in beauty and in those who behold it. An authentic humanity, calling for a new synthesis, seems to dwell in the midst of our technological culture, almost unnoticed, like a mist seeping gently beneath a closed door. Will the promise last, in spite of everything, with all that is authentic rising up in stubborn resistance?
179. In some places, cooperatives are being developed to exploit renewable sources of energy which ensure local self-sufficiency and even the sale of surplus energy. This simple example shows that, while the existing world order proves powerless to assume its responsibilities, local individuals and groups can make a real difference. They are able to instil a greater sense of responsibility, a strong sense of community, a readiness to protect others, a spirit of creativity and a deep love for the land. They are also concerned about what they will eventually leave to their children and grandchildren. These values are deeply rooted in indigenous peoples. Because the enforcement of laws is at times inadequate due to corruption, public pressure has to be exerted in order to bring about decisive political action. Society, through non-governmental organizations and intermediate groups, must put pressure on governments to develop more rigorous regulations, procedures and controls. Unless citizens control political power – national, regional and municipal – it will not be possible to control damage to the environment. Local legislation can be more effective, too, if agreements exist between neighbouring communities to support the same environmental policies.
…Read more: Laudato Si’
Pope Francis sadly does not explain why a system in which people work hard but other people receive the benefit is somehow fairer than a system in which people work hard and get to keep the benefit. Of course, if all the fruits of my efforts were redistributed, perhaps I would choose not to work so hard. There is no point trying to work and save up for stuff you want to buy, if you are not allowed to keep what you save.
Perhaps this is what Pope Francis means by “a non-consumerist model of life”.