Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An analysis of what Pope Francis said

Philip Booth's blogs at the IEA are always interesting to read. He is a free-marketeer, a devout Catholic and a man who thinks about social and ethical matters as much as economic ones. His analysis of where Pope Francis is going frighteningly wrong in his statements about matters economic is of great interest. He compares this Pope with his two predecessors and the comparison is not to his advantage.
[W]hen John Paul asked whether capitalism should be the model that ought to be proposed to poor countries, he answered: “If by "capitalism" is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a "business economy", "market economy" or simply "free economy".” Of course, the economy should be, argued John Paul, circumscribed by the rule of law.

It is because of the Christian understanding of man as a moral and reasoning person that Pope Benedict argued in Caritas in veritate: “Economy and finance, as instruments, can be used badly when those at the helm are motivated by purely selfish ends. Instruments that are good in themselves can thereby be transformed into harmful ones. But it is man's darkened reason that produces these consequences, not the instrument per se. Therefore it is not the instrument that must be called to account, but individuals, their moral conscience and their personal and social responsibility.” In other words, we are not animals; the economy is not autonomous: it is guided by the decisions of moral human persons. Indeed, the snappy youth version of the Catholic Catechism is very strong on the importance of not circumscribing freedom, even when it is not used appropriately.
Read the whole piece.

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