Ando Isamu, SJ (Jesuit Social Center, Tokyo)

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) that took place in Johannesburg from the end of August 2002 brought into focus, again, the most critical world issues of poverty and the global environment.

Professor Eduardo Valencia, from the Pontifical Catholic University in Ecuador, presented a paper on the Principles of Solidarity Economics as a Critique of Neoliberalism and the Search for Alternatives, at one of the workshops organized there by the International Jesuit network for Development [IJND].

We offer here his views as they were presented in the last part of his paper, because they give a well-founded alternative view of liberal economics, as different from the adopted one in Japan and in other Western countries.

The first sections of Eduardo Valencia's paper are highly theoretical but they prepare the ground to his critique of neoliberalist capitalism. He believes that the actual crisis of humanity is mainly due to the control neoliberalism plays over economic policy.

There is no justification for the dominance of neoliberalism today. It is only the result of the power and greed of big multinational corporations.

The disintegration of the Soviet Union, symbolized by the collapse of the Berlin wall (1989), brought the fall of the communist social system in Europe, although not in East Asia, and made people believed in the victory of liberal capitalism. That euphoria ended ten years later with a clear capitalist crisis that, since the beginning of the '90s, is still strongly felt in Japan now.

Professor E. Valencia tries to bring back "economics" to its former position within the moral sciences, as Adam Smith's intention was. The actual location of Economics as part of the positive sciences has made it function essentially independent from any ethical position. The economy ceased to be human and became just a positive science. At the free market, people's profit or satisfaction of needs would become the sole motivation to influence the formation of demand and supply of goods, by fixing a price. It is, then, easy to calculate production, costs and profit. It is, also, feasible to measure the consumption trends. Supposedly, only within a free market environment could the economy be considered scientific and hence, viable.

As a result, justice, equity and solidarity ideas, among others, were not part of "observable" phenomena in the world of consumption and production, and as such, had to be rejected.

But, criticism against the neo-liberal model has started to arise, even from people within the system. The scope of the critique goes against the relationships among States, bankers and entrepreneurs, the worship of money and success as value criteria and the menace of excessive individualism and excessive competition. Now, globalization leans towards totalitarianism if managed by the powerful groups that "incestuously" control the world economy at present, directing it towards satisfying their dark individual interests. The end result is the global monopoly where the largest one absorbs the medium-sized and the smallest ones.

Now, in order to look for alternative visions, it should not be forgotten that latest developments of other disciplines have made contributions to economics and produced positive renewals. Eduardo Valencia offers detailed accounts of advances in Physics, in Psychology, Biology and Philosophy.

For those interested, you can find the full text of Professor E. Valencia in our web of the Social Center. (

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