Friday, April 11, 2014

Pope Francis: Quotations On Finance, Economics, Capitalism And Inequality

“As long as problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting absolute autonomy of markets & financial speculation & by attacking structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world’s problems.,” Pope  Francis said in 224-page document that essentially serves as his official platform.

“I Believe In God, Not In A Catholic God" "There Is No Catholic God" | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

Previous Catholic teaching on capitalism: "[The Church] has likewise refused to accept, in the practice of “capitalism,” individualism and the absolute primacy of the law of the marketplace over human labor. Regulating the economy … solely by the law of the marketplace fails social justice, for “there are many human needs which cannot be satisfied by the market.” Caritas in Veritate by Pope Benedict XVI

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Pope Francis: “A savage capitalism has taught the logic of profit at any cost, of giving in order to get, of exploitation without thinking of people… and we see the results in the crisis we are experiencing.”

1) This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.

2) While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation.

3) Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

4) With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs.”

5) The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and a return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favors human beings.

6) Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples is reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode.

7.) Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and na├»ve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

  1. "Naive trust in those wielding economic power"

    "The Golden Calf"

Alan: The intractable difficulty with "unjust economic structures" is that there is no "personal responsibility" in them.

Rather, "unjust economic structures" are Capitalism's trump card, keeping people in perpetual oppression by depersonalizing them through systems with no personal component. 

Capitalist Sin is essentially depersonalized, programmatic, systematic and automatic.

As Woodrow Wilson observed: "The truth is we are all caught in an economic system which is heartless."

Capitalist Sin "just happens"... because it was designed to "just happen"... a gift of self-exculpation supplied by early generations of capitalists who established the theo-philosophical template that absolved all subsequent generations of any moral (or political) responsibility.

Structural Sin authorizes "the Pilate in each of us" to wash our hands, to turn our back on the crucifixion of the poor, and then sleep well at the end of each day's prolonged feasting.

Currently, Christian Theology -- based on the medieval template of each individual's "personal relationship" with God -- includes no heuristic, no epistemological method for grasping the pervasive nature of overarching and subtending structural sin for which "I am not responsible."

The automatic structures of sin enable each of us to proclaim -- quite plausibly and with clear conscience -- that "it is out of my hands."

In Spanish, a common legal rendition of "corporation" is "sociedad anonima" - an "anonymous society." Since "no one" dwells inside the anonymous"corporate shell," there is no one to blame, no one to hold responsible; indeed no personal conscience that might be panged into "changing."

The structures are what they are - over there, far away, beyond the reach of human responsibility.


 “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills."
Pope Francis

“Many of you have been stripped by this savage world that does not give employment, that does not help, that does not care if there are children in the world who are dying of hunger, does not care if so many families have nothing to eat.” 
Pope Francis

  1. ***

    To understand religion across its full spectrum of virtue and vice, it is helpful to remember that Pharisees thrive in every generation. 

    "Yeshua Excoriates Fellow Pharisees"

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.

Abraham Lincoln And Pope Francis Agree On The Roles Of Mercy And Justice

"Mercy... makes the world more just."
Pope Francis

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