Hence remembrance is a rare commodity. Thus, it is necessary to be vigilant, as lookouts guarding a problem for which there is (perhaps) no immediate solution, but regarding which we cannot turn away. To use Sen’s words again, the Economy of Francesco would rather be indignant and deal with evident injustices than invest resources in the pursuit of perfect justice. The alternative is to sit, quietly and astonished, next to Thrasymachus when, in his dialogue with Socrates (in Plato’s Republic), he explains that justice has been and always will be the profit (sympheron) of the strongest.
The second reason is the conviction that the civil aspect is the foundation of the political one and not vice versa. History teaches us that lasting social changes are almost never those imposed from above, but those that responded to ideas already internalized by people. That is why a protest is never a private good, but always a common good. At the beginning of her protest, Greta Thunberg was protesting alone (tree) in front of the Swedish parliament, but she was already doing so on behalf of all those who had within them a deep need for ecological justice (forest). Thus, the Economy of Francesco demonstrates to affirm that the actual conditions – violence, crime, abuse, inequality – should not be legitimized by any earthly or divine law. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) in her text A Vindication of the Rights of Women 1792 sharply criticized philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau for dividing the type of education of men (rational) from that of women (servile). Wollstonecraft pointed out to Rousseau the undue shift from “what is” to “what is good to be”, that is, the passing off of a historical contingency (the wife enslaved to her husband) as a law of nature. Tomorrow, Jan. 28, the Economy of Francesco will repeat Wollstonecraft’s message, applying it to what is happening in places where women are denied access to universities, among many other things.
Finally, it cannot be ignored that the act of protest transforms and also defines those who protest. To some, it might seem strange that a group of people who should be concerned with the economy would organize symbolic protests for issues of social justice. Nothing could be worse than such an idea. The aim of the Economy of Francesco, initiated by Pope Francis and the Franciscan charism, is to give a soul to the world economy through the thinking and work of young people. One of its pillars is precisely the idea that human beings are much more than just self-interest (or any refined form of it). A natural tendency exists in people to intentionally care for the good of others (from the nearest to the farthest, from one’s neighbor to the planet) without expecting anything in return. Certainly, we are still at the level of the anthropological hypothesis rather than the scientific fact. But this is the path laid out by and for the Economy of Francesco. Thus, the January 28 event is one of the milestones of the journey of young women and men economists and entrepreneurs, who had been working for three years now for a new economy. Our hope is that those who today, unfortunately, are denied access may soon join us on that path.
To join or organize an EoF Reading Marathon for March 8th, visit www.francescoeconomy.org