The Pope and Capitalism


PopeFrancis-fingerPope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation, levied charges against free market capitalism, denying that “economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world” and concluding that “this opinion … has never been confirmed by the facts.” He went on to label unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny.” Let’s look at the pope’s tragic vision.

First, I acknowledge that capitalism fails miserably when compared with heaven or a utopia. Any earthly system is going to come up short in such a comparison. However, mankind must make choices among alternative economic systems that actually exist on earth. For the common man, capitalism is superior to any system yet devised to deal with his everyday needs and desires.

Capitalism is relatively new in human history. Prior to capitalism, the way people amassed great wealth was by looting, plundering and enslaving their fellow man. With the rise of capitalism, it became possible to amass great wealth by serving and pleasing your fellow man. Capitalists seek to discover what people want and produce and market it as efficiently as possible as a means to profit. A couple of examples would be J.D. Rockefeller, whose successful marketing drove kerosene prices down from 58 cents a gallon in 1865 to 7 cents in 1900. Henry Ford became rich by producing cars for the common man. Both Ford’s and Rockefeller’s personal benefits pale in comparison with that received by the common man by having cheaper kerosene and cheaper transportation. There are literally thousands of examples of how mankind’s life has been made better by those in the pursuit of profits. Here’s my question to you: Are people who, by their actions, created unprecedented convenience, longer life expectancy and a more pleasant life for the ordinary person — and became wealthy in the process — deserving of all the scorn and ridicule heaped upon them by intellectuals, politicians and now the pope?

Let’s examine the role of profits but first put it in perspective in terms of magnitude.

Between 1960 and 2012, after-tax corporate profit averaged a bit over 6 percent of the gross domestic product, while wages averaged 47 percent of the GDP. Far more important than simple statistics about the magnitude of profits is its role in guiding resources to their highest-valued uses and satisfying people. Try polling people with a few questions. Ask them what services they are more satisfied with and what they are less satisfied with. On the “more satisfied” list would be profit-making enterprises, such as supermarkets, theaters, clothing stores and computer stores. They’d find less satisfaction with services provided by nonprofit government organizations, such as public schools, post offices and departments of motor vehicles.

Profits force entrepreneurs to find ways to please people in the most efficient ways or go out of business. Of course, they can mess up and stay in business if they can get government to bail them out or give them protection against competition. Nonprofits have an easier time of it. Public schools, for example, continue to operate whether they do a good job or not and whether they please parents or not. That’s because politicians provide their compensation through coercive property taxes. I’m sure that we’d be less satisfied with supermarkets if they, too, had the power to take our money through taxes, as opposed to being forced to find ways to get us to voluntarily give them our earnings.

Arthur C. Brooks, president at the American Enterprise Institute and author of “Who Really Cares,” shows that Americans are the most generous people on the face of the earth. In fact, if you look for generosity around the world, you find virtually all of it in countries that are closer to the free market end of the economic spectrum than they are to the socialist or communist end. Seeing as Pope Francis sees charity as a key part of godliness, he ought to stop demonizing capitalism.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • A Z

    As a caller to Rush pointed out, The Roman Catholic Church has gift shops which visitors and faithful have to pass through entering or exiting to see many many churches.

    • frodo

      So?

      • A Z

        Pretty hypocritical when the Church engages in capitalism at the same time it criticizes it.

        How come they do not sell the trinkets at cost or just give them away?

        • frodo

          The Pope was critiquing the mistaken (in his view) belief that capitalism inevitably leads to more justice and inclusiveness. That doesn’t preclude engaging in commerce.

          • Drakken

            No matter how many times you effing commi’s try communism, it always ends up with a stack of dead bodies, so eff you commi, and this Jesuit educated Pope, and yes I am Catholic.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            The reason “The Church” is so hypocritical is not merely because they have some retail operations. It’s because the role of the Church according to the Bible is to place faith in God and to use non-coercive charity to help the poor. Instead any time some “Christian” leader calls for government to collect taxes and redistribute wealth, they are acting hypocritically if they own any property that can’t be immediately sold to pay for food, shelter, clothing for the needy and don’t do that to solve the needs.

            Or they can acknowledge the wisdom in preserving and investing capital in order to do that work over a longer time-frame more effectively by accumulating and investing capital in profit-making ventures. Like for example, selling indulgences and building vast palaces. Then never ever selling them.

            Actually the pope was just acting as a politician in that moment and playing to the leftist sensibilities we find spreading like a cancer throughout the world. It’s an easier sell than actually teaching what the Bible says.

          • Brooklyn Dave

            A lot of people get the RC “infallibity thing confused with everything that comes out of a Pope’s mouth. This is just an opinion. The RC church’s world view on economics is definitely left of center. Don’t forget Pope Francis is a Argentinian of Italian parents, and his world view on these things are very left-center. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has a whole bunch of drivel veering towards re-distributive economics. If the Church really wants to get my attention on these things, talk about crony capitalism, one world -ism, and how the real big bankers are screwing the rest of humanity. The phrase “the poor,” especially in religious left circles, has become so tiresome that I’ve stopped listening. In America poverty is relative. It has more to do with lifestyles etc. Every poor person has a cell phone and some even have lap tops. They might not be able to go skiing in Aspen or snorkling off the Bahamas, but poverty is relative in the US. Alot of “poverty aspirants” that are religiously bent–I am not talking about priests and nuns in vows– somehow think that we should emulate some sort of 3rd world poverty. I know I am all over the place, but the Church’s life blood depends on the middle and upper middle class to keep it going.

      • A Z

        Your comment was snarky, smarter than thou, & wholly unconstructive.

        You are a conversational sniper carrying water for the left.

        It is apparent that you are pathetic, when a person reviews your comments going back several months.

        • frodo

          My question was a genuine one. If it was only one word, and that somehow seemed rude to you, I’m sorry.

          I don’t see how having a gift shop is hypocritical, and think your comment was more snarky and holier than thou than what I’ve said.

          • A Z

            I took the liberty to read a sample of your comments over the last several months checking to see what stories you commented on and what sites you visited. Somehow I do not see you as playing Devil’s Advocate; it is more of a subtle, relentless belittlement.

            You are to debate what leprosy is to the immune system.

            Your comments have been “wholly inconstructive”

          • frodo

            I’m sorry you feel that way. However, I think you’re wrong.

            Personal attacks don’t give you credibility.

          • A Z

            Other people saw & understood my original point. It was not hard not comprehend. Nor is its’ validity much in dispute. I one yard rebuttal is a yawner for a forum.

            Like I said I reviewed your comments and it led me to the conclusion that you are a left of center snarky commenter that is wrong much of the time.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            Apparently “The Church” doesn’t even understand what capitalism is.

  • Lanna

    The Lukewarm church that promotes Social Justice, a definite sign before the entrance of the Ant-Christ who will emerge from the Roman Empire that crucified Christ. The Church of Laodicea: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are LUKEWARM….neither hot nor cold….I am going to spit you out of my mouth. That’s the Catholic church wealthy and promoting ungodly principles….Homosexuality. and Sodomy are an abomination, so is gay priesthood. The responsibility of the Pope is to stand on the strength of the Holy Word, not promote re-distribution of wealth and whatever makes one feel good! Love the sinner, not the sin, but teach what is right and good that is Godly!

    • IzzyKiddnya

      Well — you finally said it!
      The old “My church is righter than your church” argument…

      That takes care of the Catholics — who’s next? The Anglicans and Episcopalians because of the “funny smoke”?
      I’ll tune in next week for the next thrilling installment…..

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “The Lukewarm church that promotes Social Justice, a definite sign before the entrance of the Ant-Christ who will emerge from the Roman Empire that crucified Christ.”

      They are greatly influenced by the many who think the Gospels are a call to create Heaven here on Earth.

  • Elliott Alhadeff

    Income and wealth inequality is social injustice just as clearly as inequality in our courts and government. We tolerate the former and seek to eliminate it in the latter. Just because a person has an idea that he can make money from does not entitle him to more money or wealth than a judge making a decision in a courtroom or a public official deciding what he should do. Just because a person chooses not to work as well as another or even choosing not to work at all does not entitle the person working well or working to greater wealth anymore than what a government clerk makes compared to another government clerk. And even though some union leaders make more than some union members and are richer – a lot richer than the members does not mean there is inequality in wealth in unions. And why shouldn’t union leaders get more money? They come up with the ideas and leadership that members need to keep wealthy corporate executives from lowering wages and pensions. Even some government people get more money and better pensions than some others because they do things that others can’t do or just won’t do. So, I can understand why they should get more money and be richer so long as they do things that make them deserve it. So there. We should eliminate income and wealth inequality.

    • Liberty_Clinger

      Property inequality is natural and just because some people work hard and some are lazy, some are smarter and some not as smart. The effort to achieve property equality requires inequality in individual rights to the product of one’s labor, and that inequality of rights is the definition of tyranny, because no one has the right to rob a man of the fruit of his labor. The men of government do not have a right to tyrannically do as they please with other men and the product of other men’s labor – the pre-requisite social injustice for property equality.

      “With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor [Free Enterprise]; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor [Socialism]. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.” Abraham Lincoln

      “In the early days of the world, the Almighty said to the first of our race ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’; and since then, if we except the light and the air of heaven, no good thing has been, or can be enjoyed by us, without having first cost labour. And, inasmuch as most good things are produced by labour, it follows that all such things of right belong to those whose labour has produced them. But it has so happened in all ages of the world, that some have laboured, and others [Socialists] have, without labour, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong, and should not continue. To secure to each labourer the whole product of his labour, or as nearly as possible, is a most worthy object of any good government.” Abraham Lincoln

      Property equality is not achievable anyway, because those performing the equalizing maneuver must first collectivize the people’s property, and it never fails that the government collector’s first order of business is to line their own pockets.

      “It had long been realized that the only secure basis for oligarchy is collectivism. Wealth and privilege are most easily defended when they are possessed jointly. The so-called “abolition of private property” [Communist Manifesto] meant in effect the concentration of property in far fewer hands than before… In the years following the Revolution it [The Socialist Party of Oceania] was able to step into this commanding position almost un-opposed because the whole process was represented as an act of collectivization… It had always been assumed that if the Capitalist Class were expropriated Socialism must follow; and unquestionably the Capitalists had been expropriated. Factories, mines, land, houses, transport, everything had been taken away from them; and since these things were no longer private property it followed that they must be public property. Ingsoc [Socialist Principles of Oceania], which grew out of the earlier Socialist movement and inherited its phraseology, has in fact carried out the main item in the Socialist program with the result; foreseen and intended beforehand, that economic inequality has been made permanent.” George Orwell – 1984

    • Guy Fromage

      We should eliminate income and wealth inequality.

      How?

      • Elliott Alhadeff

        Gee. I thought I said how in my comment. The way you eliminate inequality is the way they do it in France and Italy and Palestine and South Africa. Just ask the government and the unions and the Democrat party and Obama and the Pope. They all want to eliminate inequality and they must know how or they wouldn’t be asking to do it. Look at how they eliminated inequality in health care and the minimum wage and transfats and stuff like that. Everyone should know that, but then they didn’t get a good education like me in a Los Angeles public school.

        • Drakken

          You really need to put a sarc tag at the end of your little missive, then everybody will get what you are trying to go for.

          • Guy Fromage

            OK. I get it now. That’s the problem with parody of lefties. How do you know when it’s parody, and when it’s sincere?

    • ben t

      I applaud your sense of humor and hope everyone understands its
      subtle attack on “from each according to their ability, to each
      according to their needs”. BOY-O-BOY do I have a lot of
      needs not being met!!! I don’t have the time to list them all.

      If Pope Francis is still viewing present day capitalism through
      the lens of Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical “Rerum
      Novarum” , the Church and Western Civilization are headed for
      the solid brick wall of the Iron Law of Supply and Demand which is
      the bedrock of determining the true value of Goods and Services. We
      will be heading into Industrial Feudalism (aka, Fascism).

  • blawrence

    Free markets are great but way back in Econ 101 I was taught that capitalism and free markets were not synonymous i.e monopolies and oligopolies inhibit free markets.

    Freedom is always good but greed is always bad and the point of life is not the acquisition of things.

    And it is fair to say that crony capitalism is synonymous with corruption.

    • Wesley Woods

      it is sad that Walter Williams seemed to overlook the key word “unfettered capitalism” meaning crony capitalism. he praised JD Rockefeller forgetting that he monopolized the energy sector. he forgets that children were used as practical slaves in factories during the industrial revolution under capitalism. let’s not forget that Unions were originally formed to help protect the workers from the corruption of companies. don’t forget that early capitalism brought slavery back to Europe after nearly a thousand years. lets not forget that capitalism relies heavily on credit which is a form of slavery for the borrower is slave to the lender until his debt is paid in full.

      • Guy Fromage

        In what left wing thesaurus does “crony capitalism” equate
        with “unfettered capitalism?” They are, in fact, antonyms. One the key manifestations of crony capitalism is onerous regulation, which creates barriers to marketplace entry. Such barriers constitute a fetter. If a business owner knows the right people, or greases the right palms, he can get the business climate sculpted to suit his needs, and to hobble competition. Since the government is the
        only entity able to lawfully initiate force, it is easier and cheaper for a business to get in bed with politicians, than to attempt to corner a market, or to innovate, because politicians are particularly cheap whores.

        • Wesley Woods

          unfettered capitalism declares money means power meaning you can buy yourself benefits to keep your competitors out of business by the use of the state. Christ declared that man could not serve both God and money.

          • Guy Fromage

            What does it mean to “keep your competitors” out? It means to restrain them, or in other words, “fetter” them.

            QED

            Go home, you’re drunk.

          • Ziggy Stardust

            Wesley, do you get it by now? Guy Fromage is explaining things logically. Do you think conservatives want big government to restrain competition because we are just stupid or evil? Do you think I care about using government to help some rich guy richer in the hopes that it will “trickle down” to me?
            Regulation, while necessary, does provide barriers to new competition. I have yet to find a conservative who opposes all regulation, so even conservatives support some level of goverment fettering. So the argument is attacking a straw man, but you don’t even understand what the unfettered capitalism means. You’re obviously an intellgent man. How did you become so closed minded?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “unfettered capitalism declares money means power meaning you can buy yourself benefits to keep your competitors out of business by the use of the state.”

            No it doesn’t. Unfettered means you don’t allow the state to interfere in markets. The state is the one that “fetters.” You’re describing fettered capitalism. The more regulations we have, the more chance for organizations to corrupt the process and interfere with market competition.

            What your’re arguing is that winners should not reap rewards because they’ll just keep winning if they gain from their victories. They only win by winning clients.

        • Drakken

          Bravo Sir! Extremely well explained and so simple that a commi can understand it.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “it is sad that Walter Williams seemed to overlook the key word “unfettered capitalism” meaning crony capitalism. he praised JD Rockefeller forgetting that he monopolized the energy sector.”

        Who suffered because of it?

        “he forgets that children were used as practical slaves in factories during the industrial revolution under capitalism.”

        What makes you think he forgot? Some safety laws are rational and it wasn’t that “capitalism” was to blame but rather that new issues came up as we pioneered new technologies and some regulations had to follow. You can’t impugn capitalism with any old sob story. How idiotic.

        “don’t forget that early capitalism brought slavery back to Europe after nearly a thousand years.”

        Human activity is evil. It should be banned.

        “lets not forget that capitalism relies heavily on credit which is a form of slavery for the borrower is slave to the lender until his debt is paid in full.”

        Not in America. Credit is a form of slavery? OK Karl, Whatever. Crawl back in to your grave now.

    • IzzyKiddnya

      There’s no better system than “free market” capitalism for deciding what to produce…the result of Free Markets” deciding “who gets how much” is less than optimal…if incomes were distributed more evenly, we’d see an increase in spending on consumption, and a resultant surge in GNP…a measure of how our economy is doing.

      Before everyone gets his knickers in a twist, note that I did NOT say “equality of Incomes”…

      If you MUST argue, criticize this statement I made — “…the result of Free Markets” deciding “who gets how much” is less than optimal…” My underlying assumption is hat a higher GNP indicates a healthier economy..

      Incidentally, very few markets in this country are completely “free”…maybe (for example) wheat in the CBOE, crude oil on the world market, and listed securities trades in regulated stock exchanges…

      • objectivefactsmatter

        “…if incomes were distributed more evenly, we’d see an increase in spending on consumption, and a resultant surge in GNP…a measure of how our economy is doing.”

        In the short term maybe. But you’d also be removing incentives to work harder and smarter. Over the long term, it would hurt productivity.

        “Incidentally, very few markets in this country are completely “free”…maybe (for example) wheat in the CBOE, crude oil on the world market, and listed securities trades in regulated stock exchanges…”

        Of course we have laws. But they should be applied equally and not be used to mold society but only to protect from fraud and negligence.

        • IzzyKiddnya

          I specifically said that I did not mean “Income EQUALITY” —

          I meant — IF incomes, at the low end, were to marginally increase
          and
          IF incomes, at the high end’ were to marginally decrease

          then

          Total spending on consumption would increase

          It could be done by changes to the Income Tax marginal rates, or by increasing the persona exemption and increasing all the marginal rates — or by other means…
          (Another caution here — I”m NOT saying “SHOULD”, I’m saying “COULD”.) Good Economic Analysis does not prescribe — it only show what’s likely to happen [if nothing else changes in the meantime])

          We’re leaving the realm of Economics, when you assert that by reducing someone’s income from (say) $500K/year to $475K, it will be “…removing incentives to work harder and smarter…”

          I could say that he would work even more hard and smart – to re-attain the decreased income….
          But, like you, I can’t prove or disprove either of our assertions…

          Incidentally, the term “Productivity” usually comes with a modifier or identifier — “labor productivity”, “productivity of capital or investment”, etc — and is a measure which compares the increase (or change) in output resulting from the increase (or change) in input.

          In the case of compensation for human activity (“labor, entrepreneurship, technical or managerial skill), you say “…it would hurt productivity…” — and I’m guessing you mean that if you cut someone’s compensation by a small amount (3 or 4 %), he will work “less hard” or “less smart” — am I correct?

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “…and I’m guessing you mean that if you cut someone’s compensation by a small amount (3 or 4 %), he will work “less hard” or “less smart” — am I correct?”

            No. A few percentage points won’t generally do that. But the problem is that it’s a slippery slope. As soon as the highly productive people begin to feel that it’s not worth their extra effort, they’ll take off elsewhere, including changing careers or approach to their work life. It’s human nature.

            And until you get in to larger numbers it won’t help that much, which means politically we’ll be pushed down that slope.

            But at the same time, these factors won’t do that much long term if you’re only talking about small corrections.

            The only way to ensure maximum productivity is to ensure access to real education and equal opportunities throughout to the maximum degree possible. Your suggestions are just manipulations that will change expectations and eventually people that truly create value will get what they deserve in a stable environment.

            Given all of the fundamental problems we have with competency in general, it seems extremely myopic to focus on pinprick adjustments that theoretically tilt towards “fairness” (according to what objective standard?) and give people false hopes when they should be working on developing competencies that allow them to earn as much as they hope to.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “We’re leaving the realm of Economics, when you assert that by reducing someone’s income from (say) $500K/year to $475K, it will be “…removing incentives to work harder and smarter…”"

            That’s why socialism is still not laughed out of existence. You can’t quantify it, but it’s obviously a factor that if people are motivated by money to perform their work, they’re going to be less motivated as you remove any fraction of it.

            Sure, some might “work harder to compensate” but on a larger scale (than finding exceptions) it will be a demotivating factor to have your earnings given to someone who didn’t have anything to do with getting that work done.

        • IzzyKiddnya

          Further on “Free Markets” — If you are thinking of “Laws”, we’re not talking about the same thing…
          Markets are “Free” (among other criteria) when you don’t care which lot you receive after you make you offer to buy, as they’re all the same. That’s why I picked as examples (1) Stock – you don’t care who sold his shares, as long as you receive them (2) Wheat – a bushel of #1 winter wheat is exactly the same as another – you can’t tell them apart (3) Crude Oil — West Texas Sweet Crude is traded – you don’t care whose tank it came out of — These are “Commodities” — they are fungible or “identical”

          You can buy “Grade A (fluid) milk, with an expiration date of “today” — you don’t care which dairy farm it came from to be packaged, as long as it’s graded, fresh .
          The Dairy distributor does his best to convince you that HIS product s somehow “different”, and deserving to be put in its own little market niche — “Milk from Contented cows” or “California milk”, etc =– anything to keep his product from being a commodity

          The market for soft drinks is interesting — is Canada Dry ginger ale really any different from Schwepp’s or another brand? You probably buy/select by price — but the manufacturers of Coke and Pepsi go to great lengths to “differentiate” the product, and you probably have a preference between them — I know I do!

          Which brings us to another “rule” – which you touched on — any producer with a monopoly (sole maker) is NOT competing in a Free Market environment and collusion between enterprises (oligopoly) or “cartel” has power over the supply and the resulting price…
          When any one seller or buyer can influence the Market price — it is NOT (by definition) a “Free Market”.
          Here’s the “LAWS” part — we have laws to prevent collusion and push the market closer to a “FREE” state…

          Books or CDs are good examples — the market for a PARTICULAR copyrighted artist’s performance is a monopoly and that market is not “Free” — but if you examine the market for ALL CDs — (without regard for artist, style, etc (think “Muzak” ) or “elevator music” — it’s all the “same” and each competes with the other on the basis of price.
          It would be illegal for all (or the majority of) CD publishers to meet and decide that they ALL would price their CDs at some certain price..

          .Consider the market for ALL music CDs, — that’s closer to a “free Market” (Test question – can you see why?)

          • objectivefactsmatter

            “Further on “Free Markets” — If you are thinking of “Laws”, we’re not talking about the same thing…”

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/free%20market

            free market

            noun

            : an economic market or system in which prices are based on competition among private businesses and not controlled by a government

            It’s not clear what point you’re making by talking about fungible versus non-fungible products. If a product is not fungible, you consider that a monopoly?

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/monopoly?show=0&t=1387354565

            mo·nop·o·ly

            noun mə-ˈnä-p(ə-)lē

            : complete control of the entire supply of goods or of a service in a certain area or market

            I guess one could say that license holders have monopolies for those products but this is not something that threatens the market unless there are no suitable alternatives and this item is crucial somehow.

            Does Apple hold a monopoly on the iPad market? Sure, if you can’t use Android or a similar OS, I guess you might care a little. But there is no need for the government to intervene because using Apple’s OS is not critical to the function for the most part. And even if it is, most would argue that it’s better to let Apple push other developers in to creating their own solutions rather than asking for government protection. Although people go ask for intellectual property rights protections if that’s what you’re getting at.

            It seems we’re drifting off the topic. I think you were going to explain:

            “…the result of Free Markets” deciding “who gets how much” is less than optimal…” My underlying assumption is hat a higher GNP indicates a healthier economy..”

            How are you claiming that free markets are sub-optimal in deciding who gets how much with respect to maximizing GDP?

  • chuckie2u

    It never ceases to entertain me to read about Politicians and Professors advocating equality of wages and the destruction of Capitalism. Both groups have created policies to protect their income flow and their retirement benefits. Neither are subject to the market forces of independent businessmen or the non-corporate workers. I have watched in my life time corporations terminate aging employees to avoid the burden of paying retirement benefits, planned attrition,move their operations to foreign soil devastating the second income wage earner and dumping the “greymen” within the organization at an age they cannot find comparable employment. Is there any reason a worker would not want the supposed job security and retirement benefits promised by Marxist in a Government controlled economy?

  • frodo

    Do note the actual words used here: the Pope denied that “economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world”. The key word here is “inevitably”–the Gospel of the Free Market makes precisely that claim and the Pope is correct to deny that. There’s no evidence than capitalism *will definitely* produce more justice or inclusiveness in the world and one can cite plenty of examples of how it has failed at that. That is not to say that capitalism and justice are incompatible–and the Pope did not say that.

    None of what he’s been talking about is outside the tradition of the Church.

    • Drakken

      Render unto Caesar what is Caesars and render under to God what is Gods. Apparently this Pope kinda forgot all of that in his Marxist theories classes at the Jesuit School he went too. Anytime some uses the words Social Justice, you know they are an effing commi.

      • frodo

        The Church has always had a social teaching, it’s all over the Gospels.

        There’s plenty of legitimate theological room for the Pope to raise moral questions about a misguided faith that capitalism *inevitably* produces more justice.

        • Wolfthatknowsall

          He’s got it wrong, Frodo. Capitalism’s goal is not “more justice” … the Left can define and pursue that all it wants

          to. The goal of Capitalism, besides wealth, is liberty … the pursuance of one’s dreams.

          The singular goal of the Left is the “collective” … usually called “community” in the modern world. The individual, his desires, and the goal of liberty, must be crushed under the weight of government, which symbolizes the collective.

          • objectivefactsmatter

            The goal of capitalism is to create plans that lead to greater productivity. What is done after that should be left to the producer.

            The Gospels don’t teach coercive collection of charity, that’s for sure. And certainly not by the government.

          • frodo

            I just don’t think it’s that straightforward. There are not only two equally hypothetical extremes–and I think that that’s the Pope’s central point. The “Left” no more has a “singular goal” than the “Right” does.

          • Wolfthatknowsall

            There’s absolutely nothing hypothetical about man shall earn his keep “by the sweat of his brow”. The sweat of his brow might be as a construction worker or a bank president, but the principle is the same.

            The value of Capitalism is that it provides the freedom for the individual to choose how he will work. Living off the sweat of others’ “brows” is not an option … without being legitimately disabled. Even then, family and church should be the first options …

            The Left? Except for those who are old-fashioned liberals whose goal to help those in need (and they are few and far in between, today), it’s purpose is the collective, government power, and the imposition of Marx on the world.

          • frodo

            Nor is there anything hypothetical about the Beatitudes or about Jesus’s statement about the rich man and the Kingdom of God. The problem, as I said, is one of balance.

            I must disagree with your characterization of “the Left”–which is, I’d say, a hypothetical and hyperbolic extreme. More people than you seem to allow are “old-fashioned liberals.” There aren’t that many people committed to the Revolution as you appear to think.

        • objectivefactsmatter

          “The Church has always had a social teaching, it’s all over the Gospels.”

          Oh brother. Are you talking about “The Church” or the texts? And social teaching can include, “Get to work idiot.”

      • Wolfthatknowsall

        And the Left also has its “churches”, which have left their God-given purpose in pursuit of the social gospel. I wince whenever I hear any “high churchman” pronounce on the mission of the church …

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “The key word here is “inevitably”–the Gospel of the Free Market makes precisely that claim and the Pope is correct to deny that. There’s no evidence than capitalism *will definitely* produce more justice or inclusiveness in the world and one can cite plenty of examples of how it has failed at that. ”

      Failed according to what standard? Your expectations?