The 2018 Report of UNCTAD, the United Nations Organization for Trade and Development, on "Power, Platforms and the Free Trade Delusion" was presented today at the Sala Marconi of Palazzo Pio, in the Vatican.
The Report highlights the profound impact that new technologies have on people's daily lives and on the economic and political environment of hyper-globalization. It shows the need for a reform of trade rules, regulations and policies in order to promote real human development. One fact is highlighted: to date, inequalities between countries and within individual nations are increasing, and debt in developed and developing countries is growing, "for a total global debt of 247 trillion dollars, 50% more than in the pre-crisis period".
Cardinal Peter Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting of Integral Human Development, spoke at the presentation, observing: "Rules of trade have a political and social nature capable of influencing the life of mankind for a long and profound time. In themselves, they are not fair, but they can become so when they respond to the demands of social justice, when they allow more advanced countries, as well as developing countries, to benefit from participation in the global market system. A fair and multilateral trade system will therefore only be truly achieved when poor countries are given the opportunity to be fully and equitably included in the international market system.
For this to happen, he added, "there is a need for international policies that promote genuine human development and assist poor countries in building their capacity. It is also necessary, as the Report explains, that new digital technologies contribute to reduce, and not increase, the gap between rich and poor countries, to democratize and not to centralize the power of financial markets, to promote new energies for the development of people and countries without harming the environment".