Permalink to In Which the Pope Informs us that the Free Market Is Very, Very Bad

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.

Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

Members have made 424 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. ...
  9. 15
  1. Profile photo of WI Con Member

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

    • #1
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:17 am
  2. Profile photo of The King Prawn Member

    Has the Pope himself finally settled our debate?

    • #2
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:21 am
  3. Profile photo of Duane Oyen Member

    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.

    • #3
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:22 am
  4. Profile photo of Reckless Endangerment Member

    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.

    • #4
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:23 am
  5. Profile photo of genferei Member

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

    • #5
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:27 am
  6. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    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.

    • #6
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:28 am
  7. Profile photo of J.Maestro Inactive

    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.

    • #7
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:28 am
  8. Profile photo of Douglas Member
    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.

    • #8
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:29 am
  9. Profile photo of Austin Blair Member
    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.

    • #9
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:30 am
  10. Profile photo of Richard Stewart Inactive

    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…”

    • #10
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:31 am
  11. Profile photo of RyanM Coolidge

    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…

    • #11
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:33 am
  12. Profile photo of Fredösphere Member

    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.

    • #12
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:34 am
  13. Profile photo of Jeff Y Inactive

    I hate to say I told you so.

    • #13
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:35 am
  14. Profile photo of Douglas Member
    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?

    • #14
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:37 am
  15. Profile photo of Fricosis Guy Coolidge

    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?”

    • #15
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:38 am
  16. Profile photo of Austin Murrey Member

    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.

    • #16
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:40 am
  17. Profile photo of Crow's Nest Member

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

    • #17
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:41 am
  18. Profile photo of Inactive
    Anonymous

    “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!

    • #18
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:41 am
  19. Profile photo of Peter Meza Member

     

    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.

    • #19
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:42 am
  20. Profile photo of CandE Member

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

    -E

    • #20
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:44 am
  21. Profile photo of Tuck Inactive

    The Catholics have been borrowing from competing religions for marketing purposes for millennia. See Christmas, for starters.

    Liberation Theology does the same from the competing religion called Socialism. What’s next, Satanist masses?Pretty disappointing, but I’m not a Catholic; and while I find the arguments of conservative Catholics on the merits of the Church appealing, the realities of who currently seems to be running the Church prevents me from wanting to join.
    • #21
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:49 am
  22. Profile photo of D.C. McAllister Contributor

    The week Francis was made pope, I wrote this and this. –I was told how wrong I was.

    I’ll try not to be bitter. I’m kidding, of course, but it is a bit frustrating. 

    • #22
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:50 am
  23. Profile photo of Great Ghost of Gödel Inactive

    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… 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.

    OK, I’ll bite: what, exactly, is anti-market about this? The Pope, as far as I can tell, is guilty of one thing, and one thing only: accepting the definition of the rigged, fascist (in the technical sense), mercantilist system that is the global economy as “the free market.” To the extent he’s criticizing the world as it is, he’s on the money, so to speak. To the extent he’s criticizing the free market, he is, as others have pointed out, regrettably economically ignorant.

    Update: emphasis added.

    • #23
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:52 am
  24. Profile photo of Charles Shunk Member

    As a faithful and informed Catholic with some training as a theologian, I would like to point out that the doctrine of Papal infallibility does not cover all possible teachings. The scope of the Pope’s teaching authority is limited by the purpose of the Papal office, which is directed to the salvation of souls. Normally this is expressed by saying that Papal infallibility is limited to the areas of faith or morals.

    In the quotation above, the Pope is attempting to act as an economist. He is stating an opinion as to the *actual cause* of poverty. This is an important question, but it is not actually a question of faith or morals so much as a question of fact and economics. There’s no law saying Popes can only talk about those things about which they have teaching authority, but if they do, then it should be clear that Catholics have the freedom to critique their opinions the same as the opinions of any other thinker.

    For example, I am free to say (and I do) that I think the Pope’s opinion here is both wrong and stupid.

    • #24
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:53 am
  25. Profile photo of Austin Blair Member
    Douglas

    What happens if guys like Francis institutionalize this… make it church policy… in Rome itself? · in 0 minutes

    If this happens then I think you continue to see conservatives spend less and less time engaged in the practice of Catholicism. I think this has already started happening (I go to church much less than I did even after leaving college) and I think that trend continues.

    • #25
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:54 am
  26. Profile photo of EJHill Member

    Perhaps he would feel more comfortable in the scarlet robes of a Cardinal. The red suits him.

    • #26
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:58 am
  27. Profile photo of M.D. Wenzel Member

    By rejecting capitalism and those who “wield economic power.” This Pope has effectively endorsed every violent, repressive, totalitarian regime. There only two ways to allocate resources; Voluntary, mutually beneficial exchange, or top-down planning backed by force. Unfortunately the Pope seems to prefer the latter. 

    • #27
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:58 am
  28. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Douglas

    Didn’t he also more or less try to put the kibosh on the movement to bring back the Tridentine Mass more often?……

    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?

    You heard correctly. Pope Francis is no friend of the Tridentine Mass; the only type of Mass I ever choose to attend these days. Its suppression since the Second Vatican Council has grievously damaged the Church, perhaps fatally.

    For now, we traditionalist conservative Catholics will try to wait him out. But if that socialist nonsense is ever institutionalized, I’m out. There is quite a striking parallel between the Catholic Church and the Republican Party these days. Both are betraying their most ardent supporters in order to appease their enemies.

    • #28
    • November 26, 2013 at 10:59 am
  29. Profile photo of Tuck Inactive

    Can someone please point me to that country that practices “unfettered capitalism”? I’d like to move there:

    Pope attacks “tyranny” of markets, urges renewal in key document

    “Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny”, urging global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequality in the first major work he has authored alone as pontiff. The 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, amounted to an official platform for his papacy, building on views he has aired in sermons and remarks since he became the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years in March.

    “In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticising the global economic system, attacking the “idolatry of money” and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare”.

    “He also called on rich people to share their wealth. “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,” Francis wrote in the document issued on Tuesday.”

    A new commandment.

    • #29
    • November 26, 2013 at 11:00 am
  30. Profile photo of Peter Robinson Founder
    Peter Robinson Post author
    Austin Murrey: I think I speak for all conservative Catholics when I say: “Oy vey.” 

    · 17 minutes ago

    Comment of the day!

    • #30
    • November 26, 2013 at 11:00 am
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. ...
  9. 15