President Rafael Correa criticized the dominance of financial markets over the needs of people Friday, in a presentation at Vatican City in Rome.
“The great challenge of western democracy in our century is to replace market dominance with the recognition of the value of human capital,” he said at a forum celebrating the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II Encyclical Centesimus Annus.
The event, focusing on human rights, featured international speakers, including Bolivia President Evo Morales, U.S. investor Jeffrey Sachs, and U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
Correa said that the health of financial markets is too often used to evaluate the quality of democracy. “Since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, western countries have adopted the philosophy of liberal capitalism and its extreme expression, neo-liberalism, to evaluate the human condition. People need to be put back into the equation, and for a truly equitable world, must replace money as the true measurement of prosperity,” he said.
Correa also criticized the media for presenting a “false narrative” of the quality of life. “The media is owned and controlled by the market players, and it distorts the news to reflect its own interests.”
He added that the world today suffers from “unprecedented levels of inequality” but these are rarely reported by the media.
Sanders and Correa met briefly during a forum intermission. Sanders’s message echoed several of Correa’s points.