Pope_Francis_in_St_Peters_Square_Wednesday_general_audience_.jpg

In Which the Pope Informs us that the Free Market is Very, Very Bad

From today’s “Apostolic Exhortation,” posted, for now, without comment:

54. In this context, 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….

204. We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programmes, 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. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded.

  1. WI Con

    Glad they elected ‘a care taker/old guy’. I’ve had enough of this guy to make my mind up.

  2. The King Prawn

    Has the Pope himself finally settled our debate?

  3. Duane Oyen

    Well, Peter, how does a good Catholic react and figure out what truly benevolent and incorruptible central authority will, contrary to all prior human experience, effectively enable those “decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income”?

    Prior controversial statements he made were often not accurately conveyed.  This one seems hard to misunderstand.

  4. Reckless Endangerment

    I hate to say it, but I am beginning to treat this pope on most issues like I treat Hollywood actors on ALL issues.

    We had a first rate intellect in Benedict who, unfortunately, will only be appreciated by scholars because his ideas do not fit in a soundbite or have surface level appeal. Now we have a figurehead who is “likable,” but could not hold a candle to his predecessor’s mind. See Charles Cooke in today’s NRO for the same phenomenon with Obama, and its most logical conclusion with this pontiff.

  5. genferei

    My Ricobreak having lasted a good 6 hours, I hew to my usual task of providing the link Peter omits: EVANGELII GAUDIUM.

  6. Mike LaRoche
    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….

    One could say the same thing about socialism.

    This sort of nonsense is why I no longer attend Mass regularly.

  7. J.Maestro

    Francis doesn’t explain where all the money for these programs will come from. Does Francis have a stash the way Obama had a stash?

    As for “trickle down,” doesn’t that perfectly describe the Obama-Bernanke binge of the last few years? Or would Francis describe that, and EU protectionism, as laissez faire?

    What exactly would a “better distribution of income” look like? Who does the distributing? Would he expect me to shop in stores that I normally skip? Eat at restaurants when I’m not hungry? Tip waiters who did not serve my table?

    I’m serious: if he wants to weigh in on economic matters he needs to propose a coherent and workable framework, with real-life examples. Otherwise, he will only succeed in energizing the “irresponsible populis[ts].” And those people already have most of the political power.

  8. Douglas
    The King Prawn: Has the Pope himself finally settled our debate? · 7 minutes ago

    Nah, you’ll have people here defending him no matter what. I don’t mind a “Look, I’m a faithful Catholic, he’s my guy, and I have to stick with him, even when he says stuff like this”. I get that. I’m sympathetic to that.

    What absolutely infuriates me is when he says things like “Trickle Down doesn’t work”, and then his defenders… here of all places… step right up to the bat and go full Baghdad Bob on us. “Oh, he never said that. Quit falling for the leftist media spin!”. Damnit, I can read for myself, and I know exactly what he said. He is what his critics feared he was all along, and his own words convict him on this. If it walks like a liberation theologist, quacks like a liberation theologiest, etc.

    This man is rapidly destroying the good work of JP II and Benedict. Worse, he’s doing so because he thinks he’s doing the work of Christ.

  9. Austin Blair
    WI Con: Glad they elected ‘a care taker/old guy’. I’ve had enough of this guy to make my mind up. · 5 minutes ago

    I thought the same thing initially but when it got to the point where he mentions shareholder value over employees I tend to agree.  Mark Hurd did a great job streamlining HP to increase shareholder value.  For which he was handsomely paid.  Unfortunately, the focus on reducing costs and not investing in people, technology, etc. to build better products and solutions for HP’s customers put HP in a bind following his departure.  One could argue they are still feeling the effects of his focus on reducing costs to increase shareholder value.

  10. Richard Stewart

    Wow.  I’m very much a protestant (confessional Baptist, in the tradition of Roger Williams, James P. Boyce, et al)  Nonetheless, as my fellow Baptist Chuck Colson has noted in the past, the Roman Catholic concept of subsidiarity has much in common with the protestant philosophical construct of sphere sovereignty (which was proposed by Abraham Kuyper.)

    So here’s an open question to this Pope:  where does this “better distribution of income, creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality” fit in with the principle of subsidiarity?

    I ask because I very much doubt that the foregoing fits into subsidiarity (as I understood it) at all.

    “Paging Michael Novak!  Mr. Michael Novak, you have a question on Ricochet…”

  11. Ryan M

    You didn’t even wait a month for the monthly pile-on.  That isn’t at all what he said… you have to be versed in Catholic rhetoric… the media is out to get him, they’re twisting his words… so maybe he’s a liberal, but we only said he was infallible in matters of theology, not politics… will this madness never end?  It’s like the protestant reformation all over again.

    I’ll say it again:  Pope in a Che shirt. 

    League of Francis defenders in 3… 2… 1…

  12. Fredösphere

    Yes to the previous comments. I get the same feeling from this as I do when some U.S. court cherry-picks its way through the social science to draw some dodgy left-wing conclusion and then speaks ex cathedra and expects everyone to fall in line.

  13. Jeff

    I hate to say I told you so.

  14. Douglas
    Mike LaRoche

    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….

    One could say the same thing about socialism.

    This sort of nonsense is why I no longer attend Mass regularly. · 4 minutes ago

    Didn’t he also more or less try to put the kibosh on the movement to bring back the Tridentine Mass more often? Or did I hear wrong on that?

    For faithful Catholics… especially Conservative ones… what do you guys do now? You could try and wait him out with a “this too shall pass” attitude, but I’d lay cash that the next Pope will also be a third world guy. There’s always been that anti-markets, anti-freedom fringe in the third world priesthood, but it’s never been the official position of the church. What happens if guys like Francis institutionalize this… make it church policy… in Rome itself?

  15. Fricosis Guy

    His Holiness does a wonderful job of calling us to the Cross.

    However, I fear he continues a long tradition of mistaking half-understood cliches for the virtues of economic liberty. On social and economic matters, I wish he’d hew closer to what we are instructed to do by Scripture, as long understood by the Church.

    Where did the Church Fathers speak of “trickle down” and the “invisible hand?”

  16. Austin Murrey

    I think I speak for all conservative Catholics when I say: “Oy vey.” 

    Without reading the rest of his comments the above is pretty annoying.  If the Pope is calling on government or forced contributions to help “the excluded” that’s poor thinking.  And if he’s saying that we have to force people to behave in a certain way instead of appealing to their conscience that’s very different from the Church I grew up with.

    However, as with all Popes, just because he says it doesn’t make it so.

  17. Crow

    I am suspending judgment until I have the time to read over the full document later today.

  18. George Walden

    “This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts…” except for the abundant factual evidence all around us that demonstrate the wealth creating power of the free market. Geeze!

    Frances the Talking Mule!

  19. Peter Meza

     

    54. In this context, 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….

    One of those people is Fr. Sirico (a Catholic priest) at the Acton Institute. Capitalism is the best system ever devised for lifting the greatest number of people out of poverty.  Private charity including Catholic charities can take care of the hard cases.  The alternative economic system proposed by the Pope is just a version of a planned economy and we all know how that works out.  It looks like the Acton Institute still has a lot of hard work to do.

  20. CandE

    There has been some discussion on this over at the member feed as well.

    -E

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