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Pope Francis and the economists
Accuracy in Academia ^ | December 9, 2013 | Alejandro Antonio Chafuen

Posted on 12/12/2013 8:00:51 AM PST by Academiadotorg

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared at Forbes.com and The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

The recent economic statements by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG) read as a call for a “Third Way” economic system ruled by experts and people of good will. Pope Francis writes, “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.”

Pope Francis does not call for the socialization of the economic system and he does not point to any totalitarian country as a model. He states that this is “not a social document” and recommends the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church as a more substantial guide for study and reflection. Nevertheless, as he did not include references to point 42 of John Paul II’s seminal encyclical Centessimus Annus, which legitimizes a free-enterprise system based on a rule of law respect of human dignity, and as Francis’ language sometimes seems hostile to free markets, many Christian economists, and policy pundits, are alarmed. Several have questioned if the Pope has been negatively influenced by the Peronist culture of Argentina. Peronism has, as one of its pillars, an economic system that falls between socialism and capitalism. Juan Domingo Peron was an early champion of the Third Way.

In EG, the Pope reaffirms that the Church does not have a “monopoly on the interpretation of social realities or the proposal of solutions to contemporary problems.” Within the hierarchy of the Church, many different economists are consulted. One economist who has a strong influence on the Vatican is Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, who some credit for dressing the Third Way economic system in academic garb.

There is no doubt, however, that Stiglitz’s writings had an impact on the second most influential Argentine at the Vatican: Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Science. Stiglitz was appointed to the academy in 2003 and had been chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton. John Allen, a respected Vatican observer, wrote in 2003 that Stiglitz, “in that capacity, will help guide Vatican policy on global economic issues.” Allen also added that Stiglitz was a personal favorite of Sánchez Sorondo. During a program sponsored by the Acton Institute, I had the privilege of sitting next to Sorondo and he told me that Stiglitz was indeed his favorite economist. John Allen further added: “Stiglitz argues that the Clinton team made a mistake by accepting that the government should stay out of economic policy, leaving the finance sector to dictate the rules of the game. Stiglitz is thus likely to bolster what has already been the strong line of John Paul II, that public authorities must intervene in economic affairs to ensure that the benefits of globalization work for the common good.”

Most of the statements on economics coming out of the Vatican that disturb free-market champions have been preceded by similar statements from noted economists. Such is the case with Francis’ apostolic exhortation. The paragraph that has garnered the most critical comments from market-oriented scholars is the one chiding the notion that economic growth will always “trickle-down” and “inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.” It is hard to find an economist who would argue that there are no exceptions to this theory. We can easily find high rates of growth coexisting with injustice and lack of inclusiveness. China and India are good examples.

The use of the word “trickle-down,” difficult to translate and usually used to denigrate the free economy, has opened the door for many discussions. It is likely that EG was originally written in Spanish. The Pope used the term “derrame” (spillover). Scottish philosopher and political economist Adam Smith wrote about the “universal opulence which extends itself to the lowest ranks of the people” in a “well-governed society.” When translated, “derrame” has been used for Smith’s word “extend.” Smith never defended “the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.” He did not have an absolute “trust in the unseen forc­es and the invisible hand of the market” and he understood the importance of a well-governed society.

An incomplete litany of other laments and economic admonitions from the Pope include: “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system”; accepting “the dominion of money over ourselves and our societies”; the “dictatorship of an imper­sonal economy lacking a truly human purpose”; the “widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion”; and “the invasion of ways of thinking and acting proper to … cul­tures which are economically advanced but eth­ically debilitated.”

Since the publication of EG, Catholic economists have been providing answers and criticisms to each of these points. We can note that empirical studies show that economic freedom is the best antidote to corruption. Also notable is the work of free-market scholars of great prestige, such as the late Wilhelm Roepke, who created blueprints for a “Humane Economy.”

The best contribution that free-market champions can make is to become outstanding and convincing economists so that influential leaders incorporate all economic truths into their moral admonitions. A good example to follow is that of Gary Becker, the Nobel Laureate from the Chicago School, who has been a member of the Pontifical Council of Science longer that Stiglitz. Becker’s sound economic research and his respectful demeanor during meetings at the Vatican earned him that spot. The writings of Nobel Laureates from other schools of thought sympathetic to free enterprise, such as F.A. Hayek and James Buchanan from the Austrian and Public Choice schools, also deserve more attention from the Vatican.

Juan Carlos de Pablo, one of the best professors at the Pontifical Catholic University in Buenos Aires, where I studied and taught, told his classes that, “if economists do not know economics, how can you blame the bishops for their economics?” Pope Francis has acknowledged the role of the laity in many areas, not only economics. Those of us who are Roman Catholics and are convinced about the economic and moral superiority of the free economy have a duty to engage the Vatican in a fruitful and respectful dialogue.

Dr. Alejandro A. (Alex) Chafuen ’84 is president of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and a member of the board of advisors for The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. (The opinions expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Grove City College, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, or their boards of trustees.)


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: capitalismsocialism; popefrancis

1 posted on 12/12/2013 8:00:51 AM PST by Academiadotorg
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To: Academiadotorg
The recent economic statements by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG) read as a call for a “Third Way” economic system ruled by experts and people of good will. Pope Francis writes, “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.”

Ping for later

2 posted on 12/12/2013 8:06:09 AM PST by Alex Murphy ("the defacto Leader of the FR Calvinist Protestant Brigades")
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To: Alex Murphy

His heart is in the right place—but his head is another story.


3 posted on 12/12/2013 8:07:50 AM PST by SC_Pete
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To: SC_Pete

I know exactly where his head is and you would need a proctologist to remove it.


4 posted on 12/12/2013 8:09:20 AM PST by ZULU (Impeach that Bastard Barrack Hussein Obama the Doctor Mengele of Medical Care)
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To: Academiadotorg
The recent economic statements by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (EG) read as a call for a “Third Way” economic system ruled by experts and people of good will.

The Third Way has always been a call by communists
to end Freedom and Liberty.
shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
5 posted on 12/12/2013 8:12:41 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
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To: Alex Murphy
"Pope Francis writes, “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.”

This is classic modernism. The trouble is there are no good, benevolent, wise, just humans to administer such a system. Only corrupt individuals whose evil hearts will swell with pride when given such power and the cure will always be worse than the disease. For all its faults, the amorality of the invisible hand is always more just than the political machinations of corrupted man.

6 posted on 12/12/2013 8:14:11 AM PST by circlecity
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To: circlecity

Yep. He seems utterly blind to the fact that government officials NEVER really act out of altruism.

Makes little difference, as I concluded some time ago that “unfettered capitalism” (i.e. capitalism as we have known it since Reagan) is basically toast anyhow. At least for the remainder of my lifetime. Fewer and fewer people seem to support it, or are willing to stand-up for it.

Having a high-profile figure railing against it from the Vatican surely won’t help matters any.


7 posted on 12/12/2013 8:18:51 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Academiadotorg
"requires de­cisions, programs, mechanisms and process­es specifically geared to a better distribution of income"

That does it. He's a SOCIALIST.

I don't care how you try to parse or justify that one. He's done in my book. A leftist socialist totalitarian centralizer.

WHO gets to decide his "better distribution of income?" Precisely who is the elevated superior omniscient decider of "better"?

G-d would not elevate decisions above individuals to superior individuals. That's slavery and antithetical to the prime message of Exodus.

I reject this Pope.

8 posted on 12/12/2013 8:25:10 AM PST by Uncle Miltie (I Love 0bamaCare! It proves government incompetence forever.)
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To: Academiadotorg
Those of us who are Roman Catholics and are convinced about the economic and moral superiority of the free economy have a duty to engage the Vatican in a fruitful and respectful dialogue.

Agreed.

9 posted on 12/12/2013 8:26:57 AM PST by pgkdan (Stay Calm and Cruz on! Ted Cruz for President in 2016!)
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To: Buckeye McFrog
Yep. He seems utterly blind to the fact that government officials NEVER really act out of altruism.

I have little patience with the Catholic haters who spew their vile on this forum, but one made an excellent point once like a blind squirrel finding an acorn.

That point was that the Protestant Reformation saved the church from itself, and perhaps Christianity along with it.

The church had grown so corrupt by the early 16th century that government power and the perks which went along with it had grown more important than propagating the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Good men like Martin Luther and evil men like Henry VIII played the role of ending the government power monopoly and forced the church to refocus on it core spiritual mission. Prior to that time, many Popes has become as corrupt as the church itself and, in fact, led it down the wrong path. After that time, competition forced the church to refocus on spiritual matters just in time to allow it to save southeastern Europe from another invasion by the Muslim hordes in the late 1600s.

10 posted on 12/12/2013 8:29:32 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Uncle Miltie

“He’s a SOCIALIST.”

And you are an idiot.

He never said that income should be taken from the rich and given to the poor.

He is only saying that the poor should have the opportunity to have a better income.

The Pope is not an anarchist. He believes in the rule of law.


11 posted on 12/12/2013 8:32:04 AM PST by BarnacleCenturion
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To: BarnacleCenturion

“requires de­cisions, programs, mechanisms and process­es specifically geared to a better distribution of income”


12 posted on 12/12/2013 8:39:36 AM PST by Uncle Miltie (I Love 0bamaCare! It proves government incompetence forever.)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

“unfettered capitalism” (i.e. capitalism as we have known it since Reagan)”

You are delusional. Unfettered capitalism is the free market operating without a government to regulate it. In the time since Reagan socialism has taken root in unprecedented ways.

And by the way, the Pope never used the expression “unfettered capitalism”. That came from a Huffington Post article describing what he wrote. He never used the word ‘capitalism’ at all.


13 posted on 12/12/2013 8:39:59 AM PST by BarnacleCenturion
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To: Vigilanteman

Count me among the many, many Catholics who would agree with you that Martin Luther did the Catholic Church a HUGE favor.

Church leadership at that time was out of control, and certainly not acting Biblically.

FYI, at Christmastime you will often hear Away in a Manger played at Catholic Mass. Martin Luther is credited with being the author of that hymn. Perhaps a tacit admission by the Church that he had a point. Hearing that at Mass 50 or 60 years ago would have been unthinkable.


14 posted on 12/12/2013 8:41:08 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: BarnacleCenturion
He believes in the rule of law.

He's quacking like a socialist. Maybe he's not? The spiritual principal is help those who can't help them selves. Got it.

15 posted on 12/12/2013 8:42:15 AM PST by showme_the_Glory (ILLEGAL: prohibited by law. ALIEN: Owing political allegiance to another country or government)
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To: Academiadotorg

“Juan Domingo Peron was an early champion of the Third Way”

Juan Domingo Peron was a Nazi (literally) and a child molester. He married the mina (prostitute) Eva Duarte because the people who knew about his perverted lust for prepubescent girls were losing patience with him.


16 posted on 12/12/2013 8:46:57 AM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: Buckeye McFrog
FWIW, Martin Luther considered himself a good Catholic until the day he died. It just took the church which bore his name an additional 400 plus years to go off the rails into the cult of political correctness.

I pray that Pope Francis doesn't take today's Catholic Church in a similar direction.

17 posted on 12/12/2013 8:46:58 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Buckeye McFrog

“Church leadership at that time was out of control, and certainly not acting Biblically.”

Sort of like the American clergy today, no?


18 posted on 12/12/2013 8:47:59 AM PST by dsc (Any attempt to move a government to the left is a crime against humanity.)
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To: showme_the_Glory

Every Pope for over 2000 years have said that Christians should care for the poor.

Maybe you are out of the loop.

This Pope hasn’t said anything different from his predecessors. He is not calling for higher taxes or greater government control. He is only offering moral guidance. People will ultimately decide what they want to do.

The full text is here:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium_en.html#The_joy_of_the_gospel

You won’t find anything resembling socialism in there.


19 posted on 12/12/2013 8:56:32 AM PST by BarnacleCenturion
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To: SC_Pete
His heart is in the right place—but his head is another story.

I think this would describe the majority of liberals.

20 posted on 12/12/2013 9:11:59 AM PST by tbpiper
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To: BarnacleCenturion
The full text is here: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium_en.html#The_joy_of_the_gospel You won’t find anything resembling socialism in there.

Really? I went there and I find that paragraphs 202-208 which are under the heading "The economy and the distribution of income" are nothing but pure socialism. It specifically calls for the common management of the distribution wealth. Marx could have written it.

21 posted on 12/12/2013 9:15:01 AM PST by circlecity
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To: BarnacleCenturion
He is not calling for higher taxes or greater government control

But he says,

It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare

Ensuring that all citizens have healthcare sure sounds like Gov't control to me.

22 posted on 12/12/2013 9:16:54 AM PST by what's up
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To: SC_Pete

Justice, Communitive justice, distributive justice, social justice, etc..

The Left has highjacked the language of the Church, and the term “justice” itself. They patiently and methodically reached the point of being able to strong arm the media into defining all important concepts in their terms, and thereby, and over time, moved the masses toward their smoked up version of words and terms and concepts to match their Leftist ideology.

Even many Catholics, and non Catholics certainly, are oblivious to the original and the real useage, definitions and concepts.

This puts the Church on its heels in an impossible defensive posture, unable to catechise the world in time to save the world, or themselves.

Ignorance is sometimes a pacifier and to shake off its shackles requires work. Most don’t really give a damn today, therefore the Left has liberty to shape a lie.


23 posted on 12/12/2013 9:18:08 AM PST by RitaOK ( VIVA CHRISTO REY / Public education is the farm team for more Marxists coming.)
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To: circlecity; BarnacleCenturion
Good catch. This sounds like Obama.

203...Inequality is the root of social ills.

203. The dignity of each human person and the pursuit of the common good are concerns which ought to shape all economic policies.

24 posted on 12/12/2013 9:21:14 AM PST by what's up
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To: Academiadotorg

Pope Francis: The Bucks Stop here


25 posted on 12/12/2013 10:10:02 AM PST by bunkerhill7 ("The Second Amendment has no limits on firepower"-NY State Senator Kathleen A. Marchione.")
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To: Academiadotorg
Pope Francis

Is "Peter the Roman"

He may also be the False Prophet.

shalom b'SHEM Yah'shua HaMashiach
26 posted on 12/12/2013 11:06:15 AM PST by Uri’el-2012 (Psalm 119:174 I long for Your salvation, YHvH, Your teaching is my delight.)
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To: RitaOK

Coercive redistribution of wealth always ends the same way: with Lenin, Stalin, Mao tse tung, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Pol Pot, and the extermination of millions upon millions.

Nothing is more moral or just than letting people keep the fruits of their labor, honestly earned by the sweat of the brow. Nothing is more evil than governmental theft, the abrogation of personal property rights, punishment of creativity

The Pope confuses Charity with politics: tax and spend policies. He needs to be reminded that Karl Marx was not the Christ. In terms of real Christian Charity—NO ONE THE THE FACE OF THE EARTH GIVES MORE THAN FREE MARKET ECOONOMIES. How charitable is Venezuela? How charitable is China? Or Cuba? You have to make money to spend it—or give it.


27 posted on 12/12/2013 12:57:25 PM PST by SC_Pete
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To: what's up
This sounds like Obama.

203. The dignity of each human person ...

Anyone who advocates for abortion and leaving survivors of attempted abortions to die (Obama) has no comprehension of the "dignity of each human person."

28 posted on 12/12/2013 1:08:19 PM PST by ELS
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To: what's up

Yes, Jesus would be the first person to turn away a prostitute from health care because she spent all her money on drugs. The Bible is filled with stories of Jesus blaming the poor for their problems and refusing to help them.


29 posted on 12/13/2013 6:15:16 PM PST by Lou Budvis
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To: Lou Budvis
The Bible is filled with stories of Jesus blaming the poor for their problems and refusing to help them

Charity should be promoted and practiced at every turn.

But Gov't mandates are not charity. They are programs designed to remove $ from taxpayers' pockets in order to win votes for politicians and money for bureaucrats. This leaves less money for the taxpayer himself to give personally as he sees fit. And far too often the poor are left out in the cold as the bureaucrat pockets money that should have gone to the poor.

Socialist Gov'ts often use the Bible to manipulate the way to higher taxes. Again, this is a distortion of the Bible. God is looking for people to give of themselves...not look to a faceless, institutional State to do it on their behalf.

30 posted on 12/13/2013 6:27:31 PM PST by what's up
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To: tbpiper

FREE ENTERPRISE THE FAIREST SYSTEM, KEY TO ENDING POVEERTY -

Arthur Brooks AEI
May 18, 2012

By Peter Samuel

Briefs poverty free enterpise aei

“The (biggest) recipients of the blessings of free enterprise are the poor themselves. How do I know it?

“Go back to 1970, and compare 1970 around the world to today. It turns out that between 1970 and 2010 the worst poverty in the world - people who live on one dollar a day or less - has decreased by 80 percent. You never hear about that.

“It is the greatest achievement in human history, and you never hear about it.
“80 percent of the world’s worst poverty has been eradicated (in 40 years.)

“That has never ever happened before.

“So what did that? What accounts for that?

“United Nations?

“US foreign aid?

“The International Monetary Fund?

“Central planning?

“...nah.

“It was globalization, free trade, the boom in international entrepreneurship. In short it was the free enterprise system, American style, which is our gift to the world.

“...I will assert and defend the statement that if you love the poor, if you are a good Samaritan you must stand for the free enterprise system, and you must defend it not just for ourselves but for people around the world.

“It is the best anti-poverty measure ever invented.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss80iuEBC6A


31 posted on 01/06/2014 8:55:04 AM PST by Dqban22
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