Pope Francis unloads on capitalism

Pope Francis is touring Latin America and a dominant theme of his speeches has been hysterical denounciations of "unbridled" capitalism. 

New York Times:

His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the “dung of the devil.” He does not simply argue that systemic “greed for money” is a bad thing. He calls it a “subtle dictatorship” that “condemns and enslaves men and women.”

Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week when he made a historic apology for the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church during the period of Spanish colonialism — even as he called for a global movement against a “new colonialism” rooted in an inequitable economic order.

The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution.

“This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop,” said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington.

The last pope who so boldly placed himself at the center of the global moment was John Paul II, who during the 1980s pushed the church to confront what many saw as the challenge of that era, communism. John Paul II’s anti-Communist messaging dovetailed with the agenda of political conservatives eager for a tougher line against the Soviets and, in turn, aligned part of the church hierarchy with the political right.

Francis has defined the economic challenge of this era as the failure of global capitalism to create fairness, equity and dignified livelihoods for the poor — a social and religious agenda that coincides with a resurgence of the leftist thinking marginalized in the days of John Paul II. Francis’ increasingly sharp critique comes as much of humanity has never been so wealthy or well fed — yet rising inequality and repeated financial crises have unsettled voters, policy makers and economists.

Is he really that ignorant? Apparently so. Perhaps someone should advise his holiness on what exactly capitalism is - and what it isn't.

It isn't the kind of banana republic crony capitalism that dominates the economies in central and south America. In those economies, where the poor live in cardboard boxes and pick through huge mountains of garbage for food, the market does not choose winners and losers - powerful men and women fulfill that task. It's not what you can do but who you know if you want to live comfortably in most third world nations.

It hardly matters if the government is "socialist" (most are) or "capitalist." The problems that lead to the creation of these gigantic underclasses has nothing to do with the free market. That Francis can't see this is a titanic failure of vision and imagination. He is simply repeating the leftist narrative about capitalism that hasn't changed for 100 years. It has little to do with reality, and everything to do with left wing politics.

In the west, markets are heavily regulated by government, ostensibly in the name of "fairness." It's malarky. While regulations smooth out some of the rougher edges of capitalism, it also tends to unbalance markets making them less free and more open to manipulation. And as far as "unbridled" capitalism, there are about 175,000 pages of federal regulations - most of them directed at businesses. How anyone could possibly describe that as "unbridled" capitalism is beyond me.

Pope Francis's forays into subjects beyond his spiritual responsibilities has been painfully embarrassing. Stick with saving souls, Holy Father, and leave the rest to people who know what they're talking about.

 

Pope Francis is touring Latin America and a dominant theme of his speeches has been hysterical denounciations of "unbridled" capitalism. 

New York Times:

His speeches can blend biblical fury with apocalyptic doom. Pope Francis does not just criticize the excesses of global capitalism. He compares them to the “dung of the devil.” He does not simply argue that systemic “greed for money” is a bad thing. He calls it a “subtle dictatorship” that “condemns and enslaves men and women.”

Having returned to his native Latin America, Francis has renewed his left-leaning critiques on the inequalities of capitalism, describing it as an underlying cause of global injustice, and a prime cause of climate change. Francis escalated that line last week when he made a historic apology for the crimes of the Roman Catholic Church during the period of Spanish colonialism — even as he called for a global movement against a “new colonialism” rooted in an inequitable economic order.

The Argentine pope seemed to be asking for a social revolution.

“This is not theology as usual; this is him shouting from the mountaintop,” said Stephen F. Schneck, the director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic studies at Catholic University of America in Washington.

The last pope who so boldly placed himself at the center of the global moment was John Paul II, who during the 1980s pushed the church to confront what many saw as the challenge of that era, communism. John Paul II’s anti-Communist messaging dovetailed with the agenda of political conservatives eager for a tougher line against the Soviets and, in turn, aligned part of the church hierarchy with the political right.

Francis has defined the economic challenge of this era as the failure of global capitalism to create fairness, equity and dignified livelihoods for the poor — a social and religious agenda that coincides with a resurgence of the leftist thinking marginalized in the days of John Paul II. Francis’ increasingly sharp critique comes as much of humanity has never been so wealthy or well fed — yet rising inequality and repeated financial crises have unsettled voters, policy makers and economists.

Is he really that ignorant? Apparently so. Perhaps someone should advise his holiness on what exactly capitalism is - and what it isn't.

It isn't the kind of banana republic crony capitalism that dominates the economies in central and south America. In those economies, where the poor live in cardboard boxes and pick through huge mountains of garbage for food, the market does not choose winners and losers - powerful men and women fulfill that task. It's not what you can do but who you know if you want to live comfortably in most third world nations.

It hardly matters if the government is "socialist" (most are) or "capitalist." The problems that lead to the creation of these gigantic underclasses has nothing to do with the free market. That Francis can't see this is a titanic failure of vision and imagination. He is simply repeating the leftist narrative about capitalism that hasn't changed for 100 years. It has little to do with reality, and everything to do with left wing politics.

In the west, markets are heavily regulated by government, ostensibly in the name of "fairness." It's malarky. While regulations smooth out some of the rougher edges of capitalism, it also tends to unbalance markets making them less free and more open to manipulation. And as far as "unbridled" capitalism, there are about 175,000 pages of federal regulations - most of them directed at businesses. How anyone could possibly describe that as "unbridled" capitalism is beyond me.

Pope Francis's forays into subjects beyond his spiritual responsibilities has been painfully embarrassing. Stick with saving souls, Holy Father, and leave the rest to people who know what they're talking about.