Skip to comments.The Pope Is Wrong about Capitalism: Free Markets Are Best for the Less Fortunate
Posted on 12/02/2013 7:41:24 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Forget the debate over whether Obama is a socialist.
Now were discussing whether Jesus is for big government. Or, to be more accurate, the Pope has started a debate about whether free markets are bad, particularly for the poor.
Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute wrote about the underlying theological issues in an article for National Review, but I hope I also contributed to the secular aspect of the debate in this BBC interview.
Editor's Note: I'm Catholic... Conservative, Traditional Catholic. Mitchell's right; Pope wrong. This is not a matter of doctrine. We are all free to disagree with the Pope. In this instance he's just another dude with an opinion.
The first thing I said was the rather obvious point that theres a lot more to life than accumulating wealth.
My most important point was that capitalism is the only successful model for creating broadly shared prosperity and I used examples from the Popes home region of Latin America to show that nations with more economic liberty are far more successful.
But I emphasized that supporters of freedom have a challenge because many people mistakenly associate capitalism with cronyism and bailouts for big business. In reality, free markets are a system based on voluntary exchange and private property, which means no special favors for any industry or company.
To bolster my point that economic growth is the best way to help the poor, I cited Hong Kong as a role model, both for creating growth and for enabling upward mobility.
My second most important point, which came near the end of the interview, was that genuine compassion is when you give away your own money, not when you vote for politicians who will use coercion to redistribute other peoples money. I should have used the opportunity to cite the data showing that Americans are far more compassionate in the right sense than their European counterparts.
Im sure Libertarian Jesus would have agreed.
Now we need to get others to climb on the freedom bandwagon. I suspect that Pope will be more receptive to that message than politicians, though the Vatican sometimes has been very good on these issues and at times very disappointing.
P.S. I was worried I made up a word when I stated that I wanted to make a theologic point, but its actually in the dictionary, so I got lucky. But even if it turned out it wasnt a word, it wouldnt have been nearly as embarrassing as the time in the 1990s when I wanted to say annals and pronounced it anals.
P.P.S. Thomas Sowell has some insightful analysis on whether Obama is a socialist.
Jesus with no “libertarian” modifier would agree, to a certain extent.
He wasn’t really concerned with the material or the economic but with the hearts of the people.
What the media says the Pope wrote, and what he meant might very well be two entirely different things. They lie and distort like the instruments of evil that most of them are.
Folks also need to remember that this was written in Spanish before it was translated, then came to us through the offices of the commie-pinko media. Add to that, this doc was about 54,000 words long - about the size of a novel.
It would still be Vatican’s fault for not making things perfectly clear.
The truth remains though - those “guardians of the common good,” the nation-states, have murdered hundreds of millions in the last century, and spread more poverty and misery around the world, while semi-Free Markets, semi-Free Enterprise and semi-Capitalism have fed more people, raised more standards of living, and generally done more good than all the governments of the world combined.
The Pope ought to write a document recognizing this and put all this “the Pope is a commie” crap to sleep once and for all.
The Pope also used the phrase free market.
Huh, you're right! On page 46 (from here) he said--
"...some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting."
I'm not happy with Pope Trickletrickle...
So much for infalibility!
RE: So much for infalibility!
Pope Francis was NOT speaking ex-cathedra in this Apostolic letter.
In 1900 Argentina was considerably more prosperous than Canada or Oz, #10 in per capita GDP.
They were at 80% of the USA pc/GDP. Today they’re a little over 30%.
I suspect he would see things differently if there were actually a free market in existence.
What we have today are managed markets where winners and losers are chosen by politicians who are mostly socialists anyway.
In Latin America, as you say, capitalism has almost always meant crony capitalism. Oddly enough, Chile under and after Pinochet was one of the few exceptions. Though it looks like they’re heading back in that direction.
It’s fascinating to see people try to defend the Pope on this. He wasn’t speaking ex cathedra. His context was quite clear. What he said is fairly hostile to the idea of free markets. He even used the straw man formulation of “some people”, which is a lot like “there are those who say ...”. He implies that free markets are controlled, but doesn’t say what would control his preferred alternative. Any entity given the power to allocate resources like the market will be as corrupt as the men running it.
Where markets are more free, there is more prosperity, more inclusiveness, and better material circumstances for the poor.
Good to know. No problem then, we all say stupid things in major policy tracts all the time.
Prohibition of usury and other business practices during and after the Middle Ages.
Corporatism (which later was adopted by (Italian) fascism) was a big ideal among a lot of Catholic thinkers during the 19th and 20th. Note for idiots: Corporatism does NOT mean rule by corporations.
US Catholics have not taken a lead in this generally, but devout Catholics in Europe have seldom been strong for markets. Many were involved in the search for a "Third Way" between market and command economies.
The Church may have backed off some during the Cold War, on the enemy of my enemy basis, but I can't think of any official Church document ever that indicated strong belief in free markets as the basis for an economy.
He really doesn't seem to understand the Invisible Hand. No goodness required.
OTOH, putting power to control the economy into human hands DOES require "crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."
What is crude and naive is to assume that any group of humans can be trusted with such power.
**Editor’s Note: I’m Catholic... Conservative, Traditional Catholic. Mitchell’s right; Pope wrong**
The Editor here needs to find the correct translation. It was mis-translated and the lamestream media, including this guy leaped on it.
The only English translation we have is in the Vatican’s Official website itself. Here it is:
I believe the above is where everyone gets their source.
“The Pope may be confused along with a lot of other people as to what Capitalism truly is and should be.”
No he isn’t confused, like most “religious leaders” from big religions, he’s simply a Socialist. He and his ilk would gladly crash “capitalism” in their “eternal quest” to “help” the world’s “poor.” While at the same time, not unlike our current government, they take a healthy cut from the offerings plate for themselves. Just look at how the Archbishop of Los Angeles openly flaunts immigration law to “help” the folks from Mexico and points south. The fact that what he’s doing is helping to destroy the economy for those of us who are here legally doesn’t even enter his mind.
Exactly! The “market” is neither good nor evil. Much the same goes for gravity. Things cost what they cost, and to have one thing is to necessarily forgo another.
Free markets are necessary for the formation of the free market price system, which is one of the institutions of capitalism that lead to an increased division of labor, which leads to economic progress, which leads to increased wealth and prosperity for everyone including the poor.
Increased division of labor also leads to increased productivity of labor, which leads to increased average real wage rates for workers, which leads to higher standard of living for the average worker.
This article is explains one of the errors:
And this is the response from a fluent Spanish and English speaking friend to whom I sent that link:
"The Fr. is right, whoever translated this made a mistake and it changes the meaning. But "por si mismo" is a very common phrase (as common as the English), so I think the mistake was intentional. Using the word "justice" is not remotely warranted either, but we know that "social justice" is a common left-wing slogan. He also omitted the word "all," though this is not so significant.
This is how I would translate it.
54. En este contexto, algunos todavía defienden las teorías del «derrame», que suponen que todo crecimiento económico, favorecido por la libertad de mercado, logra provocar por sí mismo mayor equidad e inclusión social en el mundo.
54. In this context, some still defend "trickle-down" [literally: "spill-over"] theories, which assume that *all* economic growth, fostered by free markets, can achieve *by itself* greater equality and social inclusion in the world.
“Thou shalt not steal” - Socialism is theft - The Pope is wrong