But in THE HUMAN ROOTS OF THE ECOLOGICAL CRISIS, the pope is pretty clear where those roots lie. The BIG enemy, he says, is a world under the control of the Technocratic Paradigm. Not technology per se, but the rich few who use technology for power and profit, who don’t share fairly, and who in their selfishness ignore the harm their greed does to the rest of humanity, especially the poor and powerless, as well as to the environment.
The alliance between the economy and technology ends up sidelining anything unrelated to its immediate interests.The technocratic paradigm … tends to dominate economic and political life. The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings. Finance overwhelms the real economy. We have to accept that technological products are not neutral, for they create a framework, which ends up conditioning lifestyles and shaping social possibilities along the lines dictated by the interests of certain powerful groups.
In several places, the Encyclical blames the state of the natural world on
The culture of consumerism, which prioritizes short-term gain and private interest.
But that culture is not the fault of us consumers, the pope writes. Blame excessive consumption on the evil Technocratic Paradigm. We’re all dupes of the market.
Compulsive consumerism is one example of how the techno-economic paradigm affects individuals.
Pope Francis, a trained chemist, tries not to make science and technology the villains.
It is right to rejoice in these advances and to be excited by the immense possibilities which they continue to open up before us, for science and technology are wonderful products of a God-given human creativity.
Interesante también al final las consideraciones sobre si las palabras del Papa sólo son ruido, sin aportar soluciones… pienso que hacernos reflexionar ya es algo.
So taken as a whole, Pope Francis’ provocative Encyclical is far more than just about the environment. It is essentially preaching of deep moral values — attacking concentrated wealth, advocating for fairness on behalf of the poor — more than a specific or realistic call for achievable change. It’s easy to agree with many of the pope’s moral views, but hard to see how such a radical call for popular acceptance of significant reductions in material consumption and for redistribution of the world’s wealth and power — “The time has come to accept decreased growth in some parts of the world, in order to provide resources for other places to experience healthy growth” — has any hope of actually helping.
What does have a shot at helping is Pope Francis’s direct rejection of the increasingly popular view that nature and humans are separate and that humans and all we do are nothing more than a threat to the natural world. Such appealing, but childish environmentalist simplicity blocks progress and potential solutions. More on that aspect of the Encyclical in the next essay.