What Other System Would Pope Francis Recommend?


I get it – I do.  I get the disdain for that human condition that causes otherwise good people to act in dishonorable ways in order too accumulate wealth.  In fact, as part and parcel to that dishonor is the fact that people and their feelings are ‘hurt’.  It is most often described as ‘greed’ – though I would propose that the word ‘greed’ is often misused.

THAT is different.  That type of behavior IS not desired and can be considered immoral.  But just as that is true is the fact that capitalism is a powerful force for the general improvement of the lot of the average man.

Consider this chart, courtesy of Mark Perry over at Carpe Diem:

Decline of World Poverty

In the words of of Arthur Brooks:

It turns out that between 1970 and 2010 the worst poverty in the world – people who live on one dollar a day or less – that has decreased by 80 percent (see chart above). You never hear about that.

It’s the greatest achievement in human history, and you never hear about it.

80 percent of the world’s worst poverty has been eradicated in less than 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? No.

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 state, 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.

Think of that – how much money would the ‘do good nanny state liberal leftist’ have been willing to spend in order to accomplish this feat?  There is no end to that amount.

So, I ask the good Pontiff – ‘If not capitalism, what then?”

His answer can only be – “The continuation of the abject poverty experienced by billions of Christians previously in the care of the Catholic Church for 2,000 years.”

4 responses to “What Other System Would Pope Francis Recommend?

  1. His answer would be the same as almost everyone’s answer – a mixed system. Almost nobody espouses pure capitalism because that doesn’t lead to outcomes most people accept. Pope Francis would want more spending to help the poor and less on military, no doubt. He may want to cut corporate welfare in order to benefit people, and make other changes. But he’s not against markets, he’s not in favor of a state that regulates all. The Pope no doubt recognizes that theories/ideologies are imperfect and simplistic interpretations of reality. Capitalism is good – but it isn’t magic, nor is it the “right” system. Instead, markets are the basis, and we regulate them and use government to try to improve what capitalism would otherwise provide.

    • His answer

      Forgive me Father, ahem – sorry -, but I think I’ll choose to ignore the advise from the leader of what might be the most violent organization in the last 2,000 years.

      As a leader of individual spirituality – perhaps, but a leader of a global population – please!

      Pope Francis would want more spending to help the poor

      But ‘spending on the poor” doesn’t help the poor. Wanna know what helps the poor? Smart phones and micro loans to people in Africa.

      Capitalism is good

      He thinks its the Devil’s Dung.

  2. I don’t think Frances has that kind of ideology – he’s speaking from a spiritual perspective. It’s sort of like how anti-Communist Pope John Paul II could agree with Fidel Castro about a number of things. The Pope is anti-materialist – as is most religion. Material stuff matters less than spiritual, and charity trumps profits. No easy answer to helping the poor – it’s very difficult. Aid won’t do it. Smart phones and micro loans can help, but that won’t do it. Maybe the new info revolution will open the doors to real changes though.

  3. Given that human nature is pretty selfish: capitalism works well, and socialism is generally pretty disastrous.

    Isn’t the Pope, though, envisioning changed human nature, where there’s more focus on what’s best for the collective good?

    Libertarians, or Randians anyway, I think see selfishness as a virtue, but I think religion envision a world without it.

    Human nature isn’t likely to change anytime soon, and given the capitalism is the best available system to deal with human nature in a world with scarcity.

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