Samuel Gregg, Research Director at the Acton Institute, ascribes good intentions to pope Francis:
Laudato Si’: Well Intentioned, Economically Flawed
Gregg, in a lengthy, well-reasoned article, points out,
What’s sadly ironic about all this is that the very same encyclical which makes such sweeping assertions about the free market and its advocates is also marked by several welcome calls for reasoned and broad debate (16, 61, 135, 138, 165) about how we address environmental and economic problems. Laudato Si’ also emphasizes that the Church doesn’t have a monopoly of wisdom on the prudential dimension of environmental and economic questions. Yet the encyclical’s use of phrases such as “deified market” (56) and “magical conception of the market” (190); its unsupported association of moral relativism with Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” (123); its relentless linkage of the market with materialism and consumerism (neither of which have had any difficulty flourishing in non-market economies); its failure to critique the left-populist regimes that have brought economic destruction and increased poverty to countries such as Argentina and Venezuela; and its attribution of suspicious motives to those who favor markets, runs contrary to this appeal for open and respectful debate.
Pope Francis, who recently
- Met with Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutierrez, the self-declared founder of liberation theology.
- Restored to the priesthood Miguel d’Escoto, the Sandinista who expounded liberation theology as a priest and turned Nicaragua into a Cuban-ruled hellhole. D’Escoto also considers Fidel Castro a saint.
- Brokered the “easing” of U.S.-Cuba relations that left the Cuban dissidents out in the dark.
- Welcomed Raul Castro for a “very friendly” hour-long private audience.
- Recognizes the Palestinian state.
Francis, in his first solo encyclical, relies on decades-old “global north and south” language to describe some of the global economy’s dynamics, language which was adopted in the 1950s by Latin American economists, and
reflects the conceptual apparatus of what was called dependency theory: the notion that resources—especially natural resources—flow from a “periphery” of poor countries to a “core” of rich states, thereby benefiting the wealthy at the poor’s expense. This meant, according to dependency theory economists, that peripheral nations should restrict trade with developed countries and limit foreign investment. The point was to reduce their reliance on exports of raw minerals and agricultural products, consequently promoting the emergence of domestic industrial sectors.
The north-south dependency theory has been discredited. The encyclical, however, will be used as a propaganda tool for decades to come.
The pope’s stance against economic freedom may be based on good intentions – the stuff the road to hell is paved with.
The Holy Father has appointed Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, professor of theoretical physics at the University of Potsdam and director of the Institute for Climate Impact in Potsdam, Federal Republic of Germany, as ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.