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  • "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design."

    - F.A. Hayek

The Holy See in Economics?!?

Posted by The_Chef On 10:59 AM 3 comments

Well that is interesting. The Pope now has the answers to the problems that we see in South America and the answer is not a reduction of transaction costs, more clearly defines and enforced property rights and a tax structure that favors growth, its rejection of both capitalism and Marxism. While I applaud the Pope for his insight in rejection of Marxist thought, I find his condemnation of capitalism both deeply disturbing and hilarious.

Rome has not been known for it's acceptance of the ideal of free thought, free speech, and freedom in general. I understand that the Catholic church is a "moral" entity in nature, but at the same time I would rather live in a free society than one governed by the whims of a group of individuals with an agenda.

This comment especially grated against me:

He also warned of unfettered capitalism and globalization, blamed by many in Latin America for a deep divide between the rich and poor. The pope said it could give "rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness."

Wow... Now this coming from a Catholic... just wow... allow me to elaborate.

1.) Given that the Pope is the Leader of a church that believes that man is a fallen creature, you would think that he would want to engender the creation of the system which best takes advantage of that fact. You cannot change the nature of man, the Church acknowledges this. As such, it would seem that favoring capitalism which plays to the greed of human beings would be the best possible system to live in, especially if it is a free society where people are capable of making their own decisions based on their own subjective valuations of any given good or service.

2.) Trade never makes either party worse off. John Stossel recently had a great piece on this here. It is painfully clear to anyone who is versed in trades and free-market Econ that we call it "mutual gains" from trade for a reason. How much worse off would we all be if we didn't trade?

3.) So what we see here is a Pontiff signaling and playing to the masses, which is usually what religion does. Papal signaling, who would have thought?

Now to be charitable, I'm not sure what exactly the Pope mean by "unbridled" capitalism. Hayek himself says that capitalism and exchange work under a set of very clear and strict guidelines (e.g. Property rights), but I don't think that is exactly what the Pope was saying ... I think he's talking about a mixed economy, which is really just mild socialism....

So thanks Popa Pope, you've displayed your ignorance.


3 Response for the "The Holy See in Economics?!?"

  1. Lord Pyration says:

    It's obvious to me that South Africa suffers due to never being introduced to the glories of Jacksonian democracy. In fact, the system of election based on popular vote alone echoes the revolutionary unification of Italy. Robespierre was a strict advocate of one person representing one vote, he just didn't know it. I do have a serious question though. Is it necessary that we try and find the origin of problems in South Africa instead of focusing on the problems themselves? Is it like the stock market before the New Deal where Roosevelt wanted to prevent future crashes and avoid quick, unstable fixes? Because what I see is a country suffering from apartheid, hunger and financial instability, so why are we even arguing about whether or not capitalism is the right way to go? Shouldn't we be worried over the apartheid and starvation, or would that be similar to the quick fixes that Roosevelt steered away from? It's an honest question. I'm no economist.

  2. TheAntiLib says:

    'He also warned of unfettered capitalism and globalization, blamed by many in Latin America for a deep divide between the rich and poor. The pope said it could give "rise to a worrying degradation of personal dignity through drugs, alcohol and deceptive illusions of happiness."'

    No, he's right, because priorities and values are intextricably linked. A society that places acquisition of material wealth as its highest mark of achievement, and advocates wholesale greed, is going to facilitate a culture of mindless consumption that won't be constrained to legal goods and techie toys. Spiritual and intellectual wealth will become a second-rate means of obtaining happiness. We're already seeing this effect in the U.S. and we don't have "unfettered capitalism". We're in a societal decline because materialsm and humanism are competing forces, they just don't play well together. You can emphasize the importance of goods or you can be pro-people, but you can't be both, and the farther the spotlight moves away from people onto material goods, the more apathy, crime, drug abuse, crime, domestic violence, crime, etc. you're going to see. Like ripples in a pond, this lack of humanity extends outwards from the struggle and strife of the lower classes to the wealthy. We're all in this together whether we realize it or not. Gotham City will be the model for major metropolises everywhere before you know it. Where's Batman when you need him?

  3. Jon says:

    Dude ... lord Pyration... that was about South America...