Pope Paul VI penned Populorum Progressio in 1967. In it he suggested that human economic institutions needed to attend to the development of all people of the world, not just the wealthy few. We know that advancing technology has provided great wealth for a new generation of celebrities. The ever-present and always-evolving media of communications ensures we all know about them.
21. Some economic rules have proved effective for growth, but not for integral human development.[Cf. Populorum Progressio] Wealth has increased, but together with inequality, with the result that “new forms of poverty are emerging”.[Caritas in Veritate 22]
Pope Francis adds to the discussion by suggesting we look to the possibilities we’ve missed today, rather than a straight-up comparison between now and some previous age:
The claim that the modern world has reduced poverty is made by measuring poverty with criteria from the past that do not correspond to present-day realities. In other times, for example, lack of access to electric energy was not considered a sign of poverty, nor was it a source of hardship. Poverty must always be understood and gauged in the context of the actual opportunities available in each concrete historical period.
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