Pope Francis, an outspoken critic of the current global economic system, has sought advice from Bangladeshi economist Prof Muhammad Yunus and other global thinkers to formulate an inclusive global economic policy.
"The Catholic Church under the leadership of Pope Francis is seeking to formulate a new economic policy, taking into account the spiritual perspective," said a statement issued by Yunus Centre in Dhaka yesterday.
The leader of the worldwide Catholic Church invited the Nobel peace laureate and some other influential thinkers to a conference on “The Global Common Good: Towards a More Inclusive Economy” in Vatican City on July 11-12.
The Pope took the initiative to hold the consultation meeting on what is needed at the global policy level to overcome the social plagues that humiliate the dignity of people.
In line with his predecessors, the Pope has declared his opposition to the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and to an attitude of indifference that characterises today's political, economic and social situation.
He also expressed a keen interest in the social business idea developed by Prof Yunus and his view about the role of selflessness in the economy, according to the statement.
During the conference organised by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Prof Yunus highlighted his views about poverty, unemployment and state charity.
He explained to the church leaders how social businesses could create a world free from unemployment, poverty, and dependence on state charity.
"The present conceptual framework of capitalist economy is morally wrong and is based on a very narrow interpretation of human beings, which assigns a role which is antagonistic to the unleashing of basic human qualities of sharing and caring," Yunus said.
Global thinkers who attended the meeting include Jose Angel Gurria, secretary general of OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development); Mark Carney, governor of Bank of England; Michel Camdessus, former managing director of International Monetary Fund; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, finance minister of Nigeria; Donald Kaberuka, president of African Development Bank; Huguette Labelle, chairman of Transparency International, and Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University.
On July 10, the founder of Grameen Bank delivered a lecture in Italian parliament on social business.
He had a meeting with Senator Ignazio Marino, mayor of Rome.
The mayor invited the Bangladeshi economist to help him launch a Grameen microcredit programme in his city, similar to the programme already implemented in New York.
Prof Yunus also met Jose Graziano da Silva, director general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and addressed the staff of the UN agency.