Pope Francis on the world economy

Many of you might like what Pope Francis had to say about the world economy.  What would need to happen to get closer to an economy that is actually made for the benefit of man?

Pope Francis has launched a sweeping attack on the world’s economic system, saying it discards the young, puts money ahead of people and survives on the profits of war.

The 77-year-old leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics said some countries had a youth unemployment rate of more than 50 per cent, with many millions in Europe seeking work in vain.

“It’s madness,” the Pope said in an interview with the Barcelona-based Vanguardia daily’s Vatican correspondent Henrique Cymerman.

“We discard a whole generation to maintain an economic system that no longer endures, a system that to survive has to make war, as the big empires have always done,” he said.

“But since we cannot wage the third world war, we make regional wars.

“And what does that mean? That we make and sell arms. And with that the balance sheets of the idolatrous economies – the big world economies that sacrifice man at the feet of the idol of money – are obviously cleaned up.”

Pope Francis says there is enough food to feed all the world’s hungry.

“When you see photographs of malnourished children you put your head in your hands, you cannot understand it,” he said.

“I think we are in a global economic system that is not good.”

The Pope says the people’s needs should be at the heart of the economic system.

“But we have placed money in the centre, the god of money. We have fallen into the sin of idolatry, the idolatry of money. The economy moves by the desire to have more and paradoxically it feeds a disposable culture,” he said.

The pontiff said the young were discarded when “the birth rate is limited” and the old were discarded when they no longer were considered productive.

“By discarding children and the old, we discard the future of a people because the young will pull us strongly forward and the old will give us wisdom,” he said.


29 thoughts on “Pope Francis on the world economy”

  1. He’s absolutely right. And Tony Abbott, Kevin Andrews and Joe Hockey won’t take the slightest bit of notice of him. Time for all those good Catholics to go to the Vatican for a good kick up the arse. Refusing them communion too wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  2. Paul: If Abbott’s overseas trip itinerary is any guide, he would be more interested in Pope Rupert’s approval than Pope Francis. He would probably much more comfortable with the morality of Pope Rupert compared with what we have seen so far from Pope Francis.

  3. The Pope says the people’s needs should be at the heart of the economic system.

    “But we have placed money in the centre, the god of money. We have fallen into the sin of idolatry, the idolatry of money. The economy moves by the desire to have more

    That’s about the guts of it. The Pope isn’t a communist, but I think he’s definitely of the left.

    For some reason I like the value he places on the old for their wisdom.

  4. I can’t say I liked the anti birth control bit:

    The pontiff said the young were discarded when “the birth rate is limited” and the old were discarded when they no longer were considered productive.

    The world can’t afford to keep the population growing. If anything we should be cutting back, not charging ahead.
    I don’t think the LNP will survive if it insists on getting both the young and old offside

  5. I don’t like the birth control bit either. As a woman who could theoretically have had eight or more children (like my mum, brought up as a catholic) I don’t like it at all.

    But I also don’t like this
    ” What would need to happen to get closer to an economy that is actually made for the benefit of man?”

    FFS John, you should know better.

  6. And even if you used the term “human beings”, it would also be good to reflect on the idea that human beings are only one species, and not necessarily any more important than any other.

  7. I think Mr Bergoglio should read a little history on religions effects on humanity and then flick on the TV news.
    Its raid, invade or trade, take your pick.

  8. jumpy, institutional religion especially when mixed up with the state and in missionary mode, has certainly been a scourge.

    Val, yes, the Pope should know better and use inclusive language, but I doubt he would ever concede the primacy of human beings amongst the species.

  9. It’s nice to see all the gravatars. For some unknown reason, and as far as I know a unique complaint, on my computer I only see about half the gravatars. For example I don’t see John D’s or my own. I’m on my wife’s computer right now and there they all are. Now if anyone knows how to fix this complaint…

  10. Brian @ 8
    Are you saying that

    What would need to happen to get closer to an economy that is actually made for the benefit of man?

    was actually a quote from the Pope?

    Because it doesn’t look like it, in the way John D has set the post out. It looks like that is John D’s own question. That’s why I was so shocked. My apologies to John D for the mistake, but it’s not clear in the post.

  11. I do agree with a lot of what the Pope said though. Hopefully to have him speaking out against war and inequality will help the cause.

  12. Val, I was in my 30s when gender sensitive language first became an issue. I recall in studying philosophy thinking about the topic of “the nature of man”, rather than human nature. Old habits sometimes reappear. For example for the first 10 years on my second marriage I feared calling my wife by my first wife’s name, a 10-year habit. I managed to not to do it!

    John can speak for himself on this one, but I think it can be said that as a retired engineer, subtlety and nuance in language is clearly not his long suite.

    I read the piece quickly. I usually pick these things up. My bad!

  13. Pope Francis says there is enough food to feed all the world’s hungry.

    This is true.
    Removing trade sanctions and tariffs ( import and export ) would see improved food availability in poor countries.
    (As a sideline, also using food as food rather than fuel would address this further. But I’ll leave that there as it may derail the thread about world economics even further.)

  14. Jumpy @ 14
    I don’t think that issue is a derail at all. However, simplistically advocating removal of trade “barriers” is dangerous. One of the contributors to food problems in Africa in recent decades has been simplistic ideological trade prescriptions which led to local small scale sustenance food production being replaced by cash crops, for example.

    The idea that there is some simple thing called “free trade” is pie in the sky. Power always plays a role on trade (as in all aspects of life) and pretending it doesn’t only leads to exploitation. It’s like the “free market” – there’s no such thing.

  15. Val: The way this blog works when I put something in as a quote it comes up as the tinted section you would have seen if your computer sees what I see. Most of what appeared in the post was a direct quote from the ABC, not my choice of words.
    I assume that the pope was not talking in English and what you see in the post was a translation. Who knows just how PC what the pope actually said was in the language he used. As Brian points out he, the Pope and I all grew up in an age where, depending on the context, “man” could mean all humans or the male subset.
    I think that this is still the case. For example, the statement: “The economy should be made for man,not man for the economy” does not translate into: “The economy should be made for males, not males for the economy.”

  16. Jumpy: In most cases, the cause of starvation is that the starving people can’t afford food They have to have money or something that they can sell for enough money to keep themselves fed.
    In most cases, money provides the lubricant that helps most of us in developed countries produce and consume the goods and services that we have convinced ourselves we need. However, this over dependence on money is a real problem when we are talking about the provision essentials like basic food.
    Up till now, countries like Australia have (so far) used welfare to get around this problem with a money based economy. However, the same can’t be said about third world countries as well as second world countries like the US (and Abbott’s vision for Australia?)
    If we are going to get rid of starvation we have to set up effective world mechanisms that make receiving enough food a right no matter how little money an individual has.

  17. John @ 16
    You seem to have managed to miss about 30 years of discussion on gender and why people use gender inclusive language. Some time I’ll find some suitable reading for you, but at the moment it just makes me feel bloody exhausted. Where to start …

  18. John, I think we should use inclusive language wherever possible. Also, the use of “man” in this case will cause offense, which should be avoided.

    I was surprised in looking up my wife’s 1997 edition of the Macquarie dictionary to find for man:

    1. the human creature or being as representing the species or as distinguished from other beings, animals or things; the human race; mankind. 2. the human being: a person. 3. the male human being, as distinguished from woman.

    I’m surprised and disappointed! I can’t check the online version, as I would have to take out a free trial which would necessitate me using my wife’s email, and I know she is sensitive about that.

    Val, John’s contention about current usage is supported by YourDictionary and American Heritage Dictionary.

    There is still work to be done.

    I’ve been using the phrase “my wife”, whereas the Flinders material suggests “partner” as an alternative. I want it to be known that we have a legal partnership in marriage, and I don’t mind being called “Mr Osborne” which happens quite frequently. Moreover it is what my wife prefers. That being said we only got legally married because both our mothers would have seen us as living in sin.

    John, you can see how distracting this is when you’s prefer that we talked about alternative views of the economy!

  19. If we must be nit picky on word definitions and usage in relation to what the pope uses, or any other Christian, to look no further than the Bible.
    If there is still a concern, take it up with the author.
    Interesting view, I’ll reply when I’m less time deficient.

  20. Meanwhile, what about the Pope’s message on the greed etc of the current world economy?

  21. John
    The way I see it.
    Money is only an easy way to carry around the result of a barter.
    Wherever starvation thrives I see that those who Govern (* be they elected or not, either local, tribal, religious, regional or national ) have taken the primary rights away from the people that would allow them to feed themselves.
    A humans best chance to evaded poverty is to be in a country that is capitalistic, democratic and not a war zone.
    Those that *Govern declare wars.
    Trade between groups is a disincentive to armed conflict.
    The only entities that corrupts free and fair trade are those that *Govern.
    We will never achieve 100% of anything.

  22. Jumpy: I would agree with your statements most of the time.

    However, things like capitalism and the concept of money do have their limitations when you are talking about things like starvation and people not being able to afford essentials such as basic food. Capitalism isn’t equipped to deal with situations where people can’t afford essentials because its basic premise is that people will have to pay the capitalists for what they want to use.
    In first world countries the “can’t afford” issue is handled by welfare and charities which either provide essentials directly or provides money that can be used.
    In third world countries obligation and charity may help with some of the “can’t afford” issue but this can fall apart during crisis because everyone in the obligation network is in a state of crisis at he same time and foreign aid is limited.

  23. John
    Foreign aid is where the pope, one of the most pampered individuals on Earth, should direct his efforts.
    Foreign aid, as it’s core principle, is to ( firstly ) relieve poverty and ( secondly ) to establish mechanisms that empower the receivers to defeat poverty themselves at an individual level.
    I am certainly in favour of this and would like our country to up our amount given.
    ( It’s a pity it comes from borrowings rather than surplus, but that’s not our topic here)
    The trouble I have is that too much of that aid is syphoned off ( dare I say by those that Govern the recipients and by the givers Government ) rather than being use for it’s core reason.
    I have seen tremendous effort and results by our agricultural community in aiding poor countries. Even when they know it will bit us in the arse, trade wise, in the future.
    Even if some don’t like it, GM has an important role to play as well.
    In the end ” corruption ” causes most poverty imho.
    Aid is merely a transaction between two parties that gives value to both.
    Any entity that intervene in any transaction is corrupting it and diluting the value to both.

  24. Jumpy:

    Any entity that intervene in any transaction is corrupting it and diluting the value to both.

    So any government that does anything about say Coles using its purchasing power to screw it suppliers is diluting the value of the transaction for the suppliers?
    Lots of things cause poverty Jumpy. I don’t think its coincidence that most of the countries that had the big economic surge in the 20th century had strong unions. Sharing the wealth creates the internal consumer base that drove economic growth.
    One of the big differences between small business and countries as a whole is that, for most small business employees represent a very small fraction of their customers. Other way round for Australia as a whole.

  25. Just a warm-up: I’ve always considered “Man” and “Mankind” to have everything to do with the human race and absolutely nothing to do with masculinity; they are terms that include women and men, short and tall, young and old; savage and civilized – whereas “man” and “men” are terms that clearly do indicate masculinity.

    What Pope Frank seems to be getting at is the old choice between God and Mammon. It is now, in our age, the choice is between sharing and robbing; between goodness and evil; between caring and callousness; between teamwork and selfishness; between living and merely existing; between sustainability and degradation; between compassion and brutality. The economic system we allow to continue in our name is no better than Communism – so let’s find a better one before this one destroys all of us..

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