Losing my [economic] religion?
The Pope Just Published One Of The Most Powerful Critiques Of Modern Capitalism That You Will Ever Read.
…here a few lines that really stand out.
On the importance of remembering those who are less fortunate: “We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time, we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences.”
On the seriousness of economic exclusion: “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.”
On the failure of traditional economic dogmas: “… 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 naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”
On exploding inequality: “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.”
On the world’s obsession with money: “We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose.”
On the dangerous mix of inequality and consumerism: “It is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric.”
On the role of the state in providing for the common good and regulating the economy: “This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. “
The above summary text and the link is from Business Insider but the full text may be found at the Vatican itself. It’s so worth the read!
But really, this is shaping up to be the boxing match of the decade…
Think about it. Religion has always been a strange and twisted place.
For example, modern Evangelicalism is certain premarital sex is wrong, and anything, like contraception or STI protection, that may encourage it (Contraceptives actually discourage teen sex) should be kept out of the hands of children. The children, of course, have sex anyway and end up pregnant with STIs and then learn that abortion is also bad and a shotgun wedding between two unprepared children is the choice of the day. The result is a divorce rate twice that of atheists (Which is also bad) and children with broken lives everywhere.
Somewhere in that spin cycle of chaos, there’s a rather obvious solution but, to the true ideologue, the only answer is abstinence-only education — a faith-based ideology discredited so many times it’s not worth counting.
Another equally strange and twisted place of religious beliefs is economics.
Economics holds that the root of all good is trade. Trade is simply the ability to get things back in exchange for giving your resources out to another country. And, free trade is good while barriers to trade are bad because you can not get things back as cheaply and cheap is always best. Therefore, barriers to trade must be removed so consumers can buy cheap good and then everyone wins — right?
Except for the guy who is now in charge of training his new replacements in Bangalore (All of whom are named, “Bob,” claim to live in America and barely speak English) because the shareholders of his company care not at all for protecting the quality of life we have here, are uninterested in the race to the bottom the culture with the non-existent human rights system/fair labour market creates and are even less concerned about the poverty his family will now experience because the “Good hand of the market will prevail,” and everyone will eventually live in luxury — someday…
Just as obvious in this spin cycle is the simple fact that a government of the people, for the people and by the people is supposed to make it hard for companies to destroy our standard of living and way of life but, to the true believer, the magical/divine force of the market is better.
It’s really just another religion — but it’s been treated as pure science since forever.
But, finally, we’ve now all got the very best seats in the house for the showdown of the century:
On the left, we have a religious leader of such remarkable integrity, intelligence and leadership skill he could almost make me consider Catholicism — almost…
On the right, we have our NeoCon overlords, blind faith in the good of the market and the entrenched ideology of our global economic religion of gambling with other people’s money.
When Business Insider sits up and publishes this sort of thing, it’s ON!!! And, I honestly can’t think of a better opponent for one religion then the leader of another — and this Pope gets it better than nearly anyone out there.
Now, I need to go make popcorn…