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Time’s timely pick: Pope Francis

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Economics is alive and well at the Vatican. With Mandela dead, Obama’s luster tarnished, and Snowden on the right and wrong side of issues and the law, who else might vie for person of the year beside Miley Cyrus? Well, Miley is artist of the year, after all.

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It may seem early to name Pope Francis, but that is only because people haven’t caught up with reading his “apostolic exhortation.”

“Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires de­cisions, programs, mechanisms and process­es specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality.”

God has spoken to me, apparently, because I have been writing the same thing and publishing it here for the past several years. His #54 is almost enough to lure me back to church as it is purposeful and impactful.

Being a bit paranoid, maybe, Forbes contributor, Alejandro Chafuen, clarified immediately that “Pope Francis does not call for the socialization of the economic system and he does not point to any totalitarian country as a model.” Whew.

Looking skyward, hope is that wisdom from sustainable economics will envelope the earth in year 2014 so people around the world can discover a shared belief.

Sometimes God speaks second handedly, in this case via economist Joseph Stiglitz who is credited in the Forbes article for having influence at the Vatican.

“Stiglitz's most famous research was on screening, a technique used by one economic agent to extract otherwise private information from another. It was for this contribution to the theory of information asymmetry that he shared the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics[13] in 2001 "for laying the foundations for the theory of markets with asymmetric information" with George A. Akerlofand A. Michael Spence.

Before the advent of models of imperfect and asymmetric information, the traditional neoclassical economics literature had assumed that markets are efficient except for some limited and well defined market failures. More recent work by Stiglitz and others reversed that presumption, to assert that it is only under exceptional circumstances that markets are efficient.”

Stay tuned next year because there is so much to do and so much understanding to be gained by so many. Pope Francis has his work cut out for him, and God willing, he will appear again on Time’s front cover on merit.

“Pope Francis named Time's Person of the Year

Published December 11, 2013 Associated Press

Pope Francis is seen on a portion of the cover of Time magazine's 2013 Person of the Year issue. (AP)

NEW YORK – Time magazine selected Pope Francis as its Person of the Year on Wednesday, saying the Roman Catholic church's new leader has changed the perception of the church in an extraordinary way in a short time.

The pope beat out NSA leaker Edward Snowden for the distinction, which the newsmagazine has been doing each year since 1927.

The former Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was selected in March as the first Latin pope. Since taking over at the Vatican, Francis has urged the Catholic church not to be obsessed with "small-minded rules" and to emphasize compassion over condemnation in dealing with touchy topics like abortion, gays and contraception.

"He really stood out to us as someone who has changed the tone and the perception and the focus of one of the world's largest institutions in an extraordinary way," said Nancy Gibbs, the magazine's managing editor.

The Vatican said the honor wasn't surprising given the resonance in the general public that Francis has had since his election, but it nevertheless said the choice was a "positive" recognition of spiritual values in the international media.

"The Holy Father is not looking to become famous or to receive honors," said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi. "But if the choice of Person of Year helps spread the message of the Gospel — a message of God's love for everyone — he will certainly be happy about that."

It was the third time a Catholic pope had been Time's selection. John Paul II was selected in 1994 and John XXIII was chosen in 1962.



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