Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Pope and the Economy

I read something intriguing the other day.  The rumor is going around that tomorrow the Vatican will publish a document on the world economy.

The article on Our Daily Thread predicts the document will follow the path laid out by Pope Benedict in his Caritas in Veritate.  In it he says that corporate profit should be for the common good.  The Holy Father has said that said people should be able to make a living that supports their family in such a way that children are able to be educated and not have to go out and work themselves.  Workers have the right to organize and to have their voices heard.  Countries that lower worker protection and abandon "wealth redistribution in order to increase the country's international competitiveness," the Pope says, "hinder the achievement of lasting development."

He comes down on the side of government involvement in the economy when he says “Grave imbalances are produced when economic action, conceived merely as an engine for wealth creation, is detached from political action, conceived as a means for pursuing justice through redistribution.”  Benedict seems to be saying here that both economic action and political action are needed to get an economy going. Wealth creation alone, it seems, is no guarantee of enough good jobs at high enough wages to support a population.

This wealth-creation-as-sole-solution seems disturbingly close to what the Republican Party in the United States is doing.  We are living now with those "grave imbalances" and with the social unrest that they cause. The 2 parties refusal to work with each other and the unhealthy concentration on raising money to get elected has left the majority of Americans struggling.


Anonymous said...

Is this to be a papal encyclical?

I'm not familiar with Pope Benedict's economic positions, but I'll admit that terms such as "wealth redistribution" make me very nervous, as they smack of socialism. Perhaps that's not what he has in mind, however. What else do you know about this?


Staying in Balance said...

I doubt if it would be a papal encyclical.

I think the Pope's views on economics is not "government control of everything" but more justice for those who may otherwise be left out. I feel like it shows how apolitical he is that he feels comfortable using such terms (when translated into English, anyway) as "wealth redistribution." We are to be our brothers' keepers after all.

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