temporary responses. As long as the problems
of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting
the absolute autonomy of markets and financial
speculation and by attacking the structural causes
of inequality,
no solution will be found for the
world’s problems or, for that matter, to any prob-
lems. Inequality is the root of social ills.
203. The dignity of each human person and
the pursuit of the common good are concerns
which ought to shape all economic policies. At
times, however, they seem to be a mere adden-
dum imported from without in order to fill out
a political discourse lacking in perspectives or
plans for true and integral development. How
many words prove irksome to this system! It is
irksome when the question of ethics is raised,
when global solidarity is invoked, when the dis-
tribution of goods is mentioned, when reference
in made to protecting labour and defending the
dignity of the powerless, when allusion is made
to a God who demands a commitment to jus-
tice. At other times these issues are exploited by
a rhetoric which cheapens them. Casual indiffer-
ence in the face of such questions empties our
lives and our words of all meaning. Business is
a vocation, and a noble vocation, provided that
those engaged in it see themselves challenged by
 This implies a commitment to “eliminate the
structural causes of global economic dysfunction”: B
Address to the Diplomatic Corps
(8 January 2007): AAS 99
(2007), 73.
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