The Catholic Thing
HOME        ARCHIVES        IN THE NEWS        COMMENTARY        NOTABLE        DONATE
Pope Francis Needs New Friends Print E-mail
By Robert Royal   
Monday, 30 June 2014

BREAKING
 Hobby Lobby wins
Check in tomorrow @ TCT for Hadley Arkes’ take on the Court’s decision.

World expenditures on arms reached an impressive $1 trillion in 2012. That same year, however, the global economy was $85 trillion, meaning arms sales accounted for a little over 1 percent of all expenditures. That’s still a lot. But the “right” level of defense spending – like the right budget for police or firemen – cannot be determined in abstract mathematical terms. It has to be related to the nature and scope of the threats – of which there are dozens globally at any moment.

The U.S. military budget in recent years has been about $800 billion, just under 5 percent of the whole U.S. economy ($17 trillion/year). And U.S. arms sales abroad were $80 billion, half a percent of GDP. Big numbers, but relative to everything else in the economy, a significant but not unreasonable amount, especially for the nation that often has had to step in when others won’t or can’t, sometimes in humanitarian missions. By comparison, Apple alone has over $100 billion in reserves it can’t decide where to invest in an uncertain global economy – more than America’s arms sales per year.

I rehearse these figures because a few weeks ago in an interview with a Spanish magazine, the pope said something quite bizarre. All popes deplore war and all rational human beings oppose arms sales when they stoke pointless conflicts. But Francis went beyond that, saying that the world capitalist economy is a failure and “they” know it could only be made to work if “they” could start World War III. But “they” can’t, so that’s why there are regional wars.

One doesn’t know where to start with such an assertion. As one of the largest arms dealers, the United States would certainly have to count among “they.” But is America driving the main conflicts today in Syria, Ukraine, Africa – even Iraq and Afghanistan – for economic reasons? No economist or political analyst who wants to be taken seriously would assert such a thing. And that’s why the pope’s remarks have largely been ignored, even in places like The New York Times or MSNBC, where they have the greatest likelihood of getting a hearing.

            The only plausible explanation for the pope’s words is that he’s in a bit of a peace-and-social-justice bubble, and needs new friends, candid friends. “People tell me” he said in the same interview, that youth unemployment in Europe is high, maybe 50 percent in places. Indeed it is high there. In America, too. But to connect that – and global poverty – with a kind of conspiracy theory about arms sales and wars is simply bizarre. Francis is getting that from somewhere, somewhere not very reliable.

He’s clearly in a bubble, which he’s tried to escape in other realms. That’s why he needs some new friends – if nothing else to help him appreciate that there are other explanations, indeed explanations that really explain.

Who among his current friends may be maintaining the bubble? Honduran Cardinal Maradiaga, head of Francis’ “G-8” governing body of cardinals, must be among them. He’s the one who said, to great fanfare, at a conference on libertarianism sponsored by the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at Catholic University of America just a few weeks ago: “This economy kills.” Maybe, but no economy since the Fall has succeeded in bringing everyone into the benefits of its activity. More accurately, the globalized economy has rescued hundreds of millions of people from poverty: The Economist, a liberal-leaning magazine, has reported that extreme poverty was cut in half between 1990 and 2010:

How did this happen? Presidents and prime ministers in the West have made grandiloquent speeches about making poverty history for fifty years. In 2000 the United Nations announced a series of eight Millenium Development Goals to reduce poverty, improve health and so on. The impact of such initiatives has been marginal at best.
What’s the answer? “Almost all of the fall in the poverty rate should be attributed to economic growth.”

There’s large moral grandstanding in remarks to the contrary. It wasn’t international institutions, relief agencies, or income transfers that produced that miraculous, if incomplete, result. When you denounce a person or a system as murderous, others have the right, the obligation, to ask: where’s your proof? And in this instance, what makes you think your scheme (redistribution) would do better, not worse?

There are environmental threats, uneven advances, social disruptions associated with globalization, to be sure. But those are different, if related, problems.

Francis lived and worked among the poor and earned the right to keep them in view. Others may be just talking. When churchmen address economics, they almost always show a lack of basic understanding. They imply there are known means to relieve poverty and all that’s standing in the way is the greed of business people or the inaction of politicians.

There aren’t such known means – outside economic growth. Some businessmen are greedy and some corporations exploitative, but it’s in the absence of business activity that the people perish. And it takes blind faith to believe that politicians, as we typically find them in all ages and climes, are better at solving economic problems than pandering to voters.

There’s no shame in priests, bishops, even popes not understanding economics, just as there’s no shame in a lay man or woman knowing little theology. But we all need to make a sincere effort to understand what we know and don’t know. That’s simple honesty and humility.

John Paul II took the trouble to listen to people who actually knew something about economics and that’s why, even after his warnings about certain types of capitalism in Centesimus Annus [42], the following analysis [43-62] remains the best overall commentary on the complexities – and occasional paradoxes – of modern economies.

Read that. If you do, you’ll hope Francis seeks out some new friends. He has sincere concern about the poor. He needs to hear from those who can show what’s demonstrably helped so many in need.

Robert Royal is editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing, and president of the Faith & Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. His most recent book is The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Built and Sustains the Westnow available in paperback from Encounter Books.
 
 
The Catholic Thing is a forum for intelligent Catholic commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own.

Rules for Commenting

The Catholic Thing welcomes comments, which should reflect a sense of brevity and a spirit of Christian civility, and which, as discretion indicates, we reserve the right to publish or not. And, please, do not include links to other websites; we simply haven't time to check them all.

Comments (37)Add Comment
0
...
written by Bruno, June 30, 2014
I'm with the Pope on that. You don't remember Krugman's position on that? L
He doesn't want to be taken seriously is it?
0
...
written by Gian, June 30, 2014
The economy is murderous because it is justified by precisely the same argument that justifies abortion: libertarian self-ownership.

To observe that global poverty is falling but to close one's eyes to other things that are turning negative: a fall in family formation almost everywhere, a rapid rise in public manifestations of indubitably demonic activity (bioethics, transhumanism and alternative sexualities), a fall in social cohesion everywhere. To ignore all this and focus on material indicators, is to fall in precisely that trap the Pope talks about.
0
...
written by Manfred, June 30, 2014
I am very pleased to see Pope Francis' behavior and to read his statements because they are indictments of the cardinals who elected him. Another site is reporting, with statistics, the collapse of Catholicism in Latin America. The Pope has stated in the last year that the greatest problem facing the world is YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT. His treatment of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, including the isolation of their founder and breaking up their organization because of a few malcontents in the Order, has been barbaric. I won't even touch on the "canonizations" of two Vat. II popes on one day.
Serious Catholics are already looking forward to the next pope who will serve when this papacy terminates (for whatever reason).
Hopefully, this papacy of the Vatican II pope, with all its lunacy, will bring an end to that era.
0
...
written by Robert Royal, June 30, 2014
Gian: So you're saying that a well-known wrong view of the human person is a well-known wrong view of the human person. But you're changing the subject, and I wonder why? JPII understood how you can combine a vibrant, growing economy with the right theological anthropology. You're simply, factually wrong about what Francis and Maradiaga were saying. They were talking about economics, not philosophy or theology. And the evidence we have about the rise of the poor globally - for all the deep problems that also has brought -- is clear. Globalization has helped hundreds of millions.
0
...
written by Mack Hall, June 30, 2014
Gian, let us focus on what Professor Royal said, and not bring into the room and then fling about disconnected and irrelevant (to the immediate purpose) allegations and fears.
/
As King Louis says to Becket in the film version of BECKET, "The Pope is a most holy man, but surrounded by others of a somewhat inferior stamp."
0
...
written by Myshkin, June 30, 2014
Thank you Dr. Royal for an insightful post. As expected, your critics find fault not with the facts you presented, but that you brought them up in the first place: "What a rude man to critique the Holy Father! Oooooh!"

Pope Francis is an old man born and raised in an Argentina that has been dominated by Peronism. Abstract for a second from his position as Pope. What sorts of ideas do you think a 77-year-old Argentinian would think about the world economy, in all probability? Well, look at what recently happened to Argentina in the SCOTUS. Argentina thought it unjust that it should have to abide by the terms of its bond contracts. Perhaps Pope Francis should opine "This economy kills [the Argentinian government's schemes to line the pockets of its corporatist cronies]"

Francis is an instinctive Corporatist (and maybe a Peronist?) in his ideas on political economy. Corporatists believe that only their-kind-of-people should run all the companies, and that the government should oversee and enforce this (it's a near cousin to Fascism). OTOH, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was at heart a social democrat who often expressed hope that world government would save us from the political and economic difficulties (to be fair, he was skeptical of it at times as well). Only John Paul II truly set himself the task to not rely on tired political ideologies and see things fresh. His thought is powerful because of that.
0
...
written by Theodore Seeber, June 30, 2014
This isn't new news, but it seems new to Robert Royal and libertarian Americans.

After all, President Eisenhower warned us about it at the very beginning of this era.

I also seem to remember, long ago, a document floating around cyberspace on this topic- back in the late 1980s on the old Fidonet underground BBS system. Purporting to be a high level planning document, it was a plan to use surplus manufacturing capability in the United States to drive wars elsewhere.
0
...
written by Howard Kainz, June 30, 2014
What new friends from the "dismal science" might we suggest for the Pope?
0
...
written by Schm0e, June 30, 2014
Thank you, Mr. Royal.

Would that His Holiness could find it in his heart to condemn communism as harshly as he has capitalism; and central banking as harshly as has, say, financial speculation...and the Mafia.
0
...
written by Dave, June 30, 2014
It is so arrogant to suggest that the Pope depends on his friends for his opinion and is incapable of making a correct judgement for himself without the help of 'friends'.

Actually, I think the Pope knows exactly what he is talking about. The global economy may not be driven by arms sales, but it is the military-industrial complex and its bosses which are driving the working, structure and goals of the global economy.
0
...
written by PeteBrown, June 30, 2014
I think something is amiss with the figures in the first couple of paragraphs, Bob. The $800 billion figure sounds a little low for the US but in any event the US certainly does not spend 80% of the world's military budget which is cited to be $1 trillion.

Yes, Francis' remarks were a little rambling and hard to parse. But it is possible to tease out a non-crazy point. His main point was to be horrified about the very high youth unemployment rate--which apparently for European governments is a price worth paying to preserve their stupid project of monetary union. It's hard to argue that that the EU system has not failed (though it did not fail because of military spending.)

Nonetheless his idea seems to be that the world and the West in particular is happy to spend billions on the military while there is seemingly little concern about very high rates of unemployment. So it seems that the concerns of the interests that promote military spending have influenced the priorities of governments in a way that the concerns of unemployed have not.

And that is not the nuttiest thing to say when you put it that way.
0
...
written by Robert Royal, June 30, 2014
Theodore, sarcasm isn't thought, and you're changing the subject, too. Everybody who cares about public affairs worries about Eisenhower's "military industrial complex," but what a president said in different circumstances over a half century ago does not entirely explain our situation. Besides, Francis' main point was about the failure of the global economy. And the numbers suggest a different picture than he has put forward.

Dave "the military industrial complex and its bosses"? Meaning what? The global political leadership? So are we to blame them or commend them that extreme poverty around the world has been cut in half in 20 years? Or who deserves that credit?

Pete, the first two paras deal with two subjects: arms sales and then the U.S.military budget. Two different things. You too are changing the point, though to illuminate that the EU system is faulty, which it surely is. It was madness to think all the EU countries would abide by one set of financial rules. Granting that, I don't know a single country in Europe that is unconcerned over high unemployment rates. Yet few promote growth policies. Businesses create jobs and wealth; governments may help when they understand that and act prudently.

By the way, none of this has much of anything to do with the boogeyman of libertarianism. A good economy needs a strong, well functioning government, especially given the complexities of the modern economy (witness the housing crisis). But a good government knows what it should keep its hand on as well as off.

0
...
written by Yes We Are, June 30, 2014
I was confused by this post. It seems that the author is arguing that war is not the great threat that Pope Francis ascribes to it.

I am going to chalk this post up to another conservative free-marketer who does not have a good sense about the economic shenanigans that keep people poor.
0
...
written by Yes We Are, June 30, 2014
My goodness. The pope tries to draw the connections between war and poverty, and you criticize his penmanship.

You missed the real issue in the room: the links between military spending and making people poor. If you can't see that as the heart of Christianity, I'm afraid you need some new friends, and to leave behind the free-market conservative ideologues that I assume you currently hang out with (and, presumably, receive funding from for right-wing blog posts like this!)
0
...
written by grump, June 30, 2014
"Dozens of threats..." Neocon-speak for keeping the war machine humming. Gotta keep those "weapons of mass destruction" from getting into the wrong hands, must maintain more than 700 military bases overseas, expand NATO, ring Russia and China with nukes, run off-budget "black ops," militarize DHS and the nation's police forces. By the way, the Pentagon spends $20 billion a year on air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan. How cool is that?

"A new Pearl Harbor," as the neocons yearned for, wasn't enough. Now Dick Cheney says something "much worse" portends. Be afraid, folks, be very afraid. Trade your freedoms for more "security." Trust your government, sing the national anthem and "support the troops."

Maybe the Pope doesn't know much about military strategy and geopolitics, but he is astute enough to know that trillions and trillions spent to take lives would have been better spent to save them.


Want to know why you can't find any small arms ammo? The government is buying most of it. Why? To fight "domestic extremists," says Eric Holder. One of the "dozens of threats" no doubt.

0
...
written by Paul, June 30, 2014
Sadly we may need to increase our military budgets in the West because of growing unrest in the world. When did having money and making money in and of it self become bad? People with money: pay taxes, buy goods and services, give to charity, invest to create more wealth and prosperity. Of course we need common sense laws to protect workers rights and the environment but we don't need less capitalism we need more. Here in Canada we're too socialist already.
0
...
written by Schm0e, June 30, 2014
>> Yes We Are:
Please tell us you forgot your "sarcasm" tags.
0
...
written by Alex Abate Biral, June 30, 2014
Thank you for today's piece, Mr. Royal. The way the pope remarked about economy and war in that interview is a bit weird, I think. While I think the current wars and the economy are certainly related, that relationship isn't a simple matter of selling weapons (like your own article shows). I suspect the Holy Father might have meant to expound this relationship, but was unable to do so in the interview. Hopefully, he may be able to explain it better what he meant in the future.

I think a better position to criticize the economy from, and point to it as money worship, might be from distributism, as argued by Chesterton, Belloc, and others. I am far from an economist, but the system defended by Chesterton, much more local and based on families and small communities, seem to preserve human dignity far better than the globalized economy of nowadays.
0
...
written by Paddy Brennan, June 30, 2014
The problem with clergy commenting on economic issues is that they don't have to live under the basic laws of budgets and finance. When householders run out of money, they must tighten their belts, revise their priorities and make sacrifices. When clergymen run out of money, they just hold a special collection.
0
...
written by Matthew, June 30, 2014
I share Mr. Royal's concern on the Pope's recent statements {with some important reservations that I will not touch on here). Cementing that concern is the Pope's most recent statements "I can only say that the Communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. Poverty is at the center of the Gospel," and [paraphrasing] ... Communists are the modern version of Christians [ostensibly because of wealth redistribution enforced by the state].

If the Pope believes, as he has often stated, that worldly poverty and charity is "the central theme" of the Gospel rather than the 4 Last Things then the objective situation is self evident and does not require GDP statistics or an Economist article link.

This Pope theology is derived and steered by his economic world-view. He has taken a theological "means" towards salvation namely Charity, framed the theological virtue within global economic models, and then elevated the re-defined virtue as the new "Ends" that all humans should strive for. In many respects he offers a hard economic pantheism wrapped in a soft and gooey theology.


0
...
written by fredx2, June 30, 2014
A couple of observations:
1) It is usual for Popes to rail against the economic system. They have done so since at least Paul VI and probably before then. Benedict did it, JP II did it, and they do it in fairly strenuous language that conservatives would find objectionable. So long as some are at the top and some at the bottom, they will continue to do this.

2) However, Francis recent kooky statements (I can find no other word) were a departure. For the first time, a Pope was spouting weird conspiratorial ideas and was saying something that was manifestly wrong. One does not expect this from a Pope.

3) Soon after making these odd statements about the big economies purposely starting wars, the Vatican cancelled all his appointments for July and it seemed that he was going to take a rest. It may be that the guy was really too fatigued to be making sense, and things he really did not mean came out of his mouth. He had been keeping up a schedule that would have killed a horse, so this one statement might be just tiredness talking.
0
...
written by PNF, June 30, 2014
Jesus did not preach against Roman military spending. Jesus did not send missives to Rome asking the Emperor for more money to help the poor. Ever wonder why? Maybe because he didn't think those issues were the highest priority. Maybe he cared more about re-forming people's hearts than reforming the political situation. Maybe he wanted to awaken people to eternal salvation rather than focus them on temporal frustrations. The Good News inverts pagan values. Christ turns the world right side up, after the Fall turned it upside down. He brought heavenly perspective to a world that had its eyes turned downward. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, would do well to follow his lead.
0
...
written by Just wondering, June 30, 2014
Robert, I was just wondering if you would say people in America are rich when viewed through a Christian lens? Mother Teresa certainly didn't think so when she visited the country. She observed a spiritual poverty of astounding proportions. there is more to life than life this side of the grave. There is also life beyond the grave. We need to be about preparing ourselves for eternal life not piling up pleasures and possessions for ourselves. I don't see where an economy that is founded four square on the seven deadly sins is helping us to become holy.
0
...
written by Robert Royal, June 30, 2014
Just Wondering: I agree with you - and Mother Teresa - entirely, deeply. But if your are going to comment about an ECONOMIC system, then you need to measure in terms of economics I'm pretty confident that if Mother knew of some economic order that would reduce her beggars by one half over twenty years, she would have embraced it - and also sought to remind them that man does not live by bread alone.
0
...
written by Paul Frantizek, June 30, 2014
Good post. I too have mixed feelings about Pope Francis' comments regarding the global economic situation.

On the one hand, I appreciate his criticisms of neoliberalism and think they raise some sorely needed points.

On the other hand though, I suspect that his ham-handed manner of expressing himself may end up doing more harm than good, to the extent that it reinforces some very regrettable (Leftist) predispositions in looking at the economy, my main concern being the Pope's unfortunate habit of conflating neoliberalism with capitalism.

Like the author, I suspect that the Pope is taking the advice of some questionable characters. This is where Francis' shortcomings compared to JP II and Benedict really come to light - they never would have allowed such characters to hold such sway.
0
...
written by Seanachie, June 30, 2014
Do the Pope and senior Church officials have any specific recommendations about improving the "global" economy? What specifically would he/they do that is not already being done? What are the Mexican and Central American poor (and their governments) doing to improve their lot other than massively illegally entering the U.S. and throwing themselves upon the beneficence and charity of U.S. hard-working taxpayers?
0
...
written by Just wondering, June 30, 2014
Robert: The economic system you worship is making us poorer not richer. I am not richer when a business pollutes the community with pornography, when abortion clinics kill a million babies a year, when tobacco companies kill 6 million people every year, when thousands of workers are killed in Bangladesh so people can have cheap garments that they don't even need, when countless millions are enslaved by debt, when $300 billion dollars are wasted bombarding people with the propaganda of advertising to keep them unsatisfied with what they have, when the fisheries collapse because there is a dollar to be made taking the very last fish out of the ocean. Not all economic growth is good. Growth in what, for whom, at what cost, human and environmental? Does the growth contribute to our holiness or does it lead us away from heroic virtue?
0
...
written by Joan, June 30, 2014
The graciousness, elegance, wisdom and restraint of Professor Royal does not run thru my veins. This country girl will just say it out. Maradiaga is a radical and possibly a heretic. He is the Pope's BEST FRIEND and has great influence over him. When you hear the Pope espousing these half-baked economic ideas, it's virtually all from Maradiaga, the Pope is not formulating these ideas on his own, he is spoon fed. (Sorry, I know folks don't wish to hear that, but it's true and I ain't revealing my sources.)

Maradiaga's "New Evangelization" lecture is downright terrifying, if you can wade thru the hyperbole in 6000 words. See for yourself.

Now, the rest of the bubble that needs to be burst, before they remake the Church entirely (which, folks, you NEED TO UNDERSTAND IS EXACTLY THEIR INTENTION):
Baldesseri, deBruz, Gomez (both), Kasper, Wuerl, O'Malley, Rodrigues (other one), and such. Everything that seems to be "important" is not, and everything that the Pope is being pushed toward (perhaps in all innocence) is hidden from most Catholics.

IMHO, the Pope does not know the effects he's creating, the pebbles he is tossing that are becoming waves. He has put himself under the authority of Machiavellian men who "will help me get organized" and "reform" things and he is what is being reformed by those above and more.
0
...
written by Martha Rice Martini, June 30, 2014
Thank you, Mr. Royal, for this trenchant piece. If anything, you are too kind to the Pope or, as he prefers to be called, the Bishop of Rome. After all, he personally CHOSE Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga FOUR DAYS after his election to be his right hand man, the head of his Gang of Eight. And if your readers think you are too harsh in your assessment of the two, they should read the entirety of the Pope's recent "Evangelii Gaudium," as well as the entirety of Maradiaga's October 25, 2013, speech at The University of Dallas.

Quite apart from their economic thought, which is just embarrassing, I agree with Joan, that they intend to "remake the Church entirely[.]"
0
...
written by Paul, June 30, 2014
Joan,

Please clarify, is the Pope a stooge? Or is he surrounding himself with radicals or possible heretics? Or is it birds of a feather?
0
...
written by Chris Lynch, June 30, 2014
I hope a "clarification" is issued about this interview, and soon. While I understand righteous anger in defense of the poor, there is also the Christian duty to interpret the actions of others in the best plausible light. To be careless with serious accusations is not a trivial matter.
0
...
written by Carlos, June 30, 2014
The German Reformation started the way to "democracy" by rebelling against the Pope. Soon the king, the princes, the nobility, and finally the bourgeois where targets. Four centuries later in 1914-1918 nearly all the crowned heads of Christendom were emasculated and the three systems were now to fight another war for supremacy Capitalism, Socialism, and Fascism.1929 saw the end of Capitalism. Fascism kicked the bucket in 1945 and Socialism was the last but all of them survive in a strange mix today. All of them propose a world without God. Liberalism includes all those concepts: no God and no man. We must rediscover man now and recover the organic economy that does not depend on blind consumerism (that applies to weapons of war too) I'm with the Pope on this one. We create markets for the goods we have. No war, no market for war supplies.
0
...
written by bill bannon, July 01, 2014
Robert Royal...excellent times 7. But his two predecessors did the bubble thing on the death penalty and no one said boo because they were conservative in sex and Benedict on liturgy. East Asia has a murder rate of 1 per 100,000. The two largest Catholic populations, Brazil and Mexico, non death penalty, are 20 times that in murder rate by UN figures. Non death penalty Europe doesn't have many poor and their civilization was achieved in the context of a millenium of the death penalty. East Asia has hundreds of millions of poor who murder less than the baptised.
0
...
written by M J Anderson, July 01, 2014
Excellent article, thank you. A gentle word to those whose comments decry capitalist economies: Just as heretics and apostates do not invalidate the good of the faith, the abuse of a market economy by rogues and frauds does not indict capitalism. The better understanding of the rampant abuse of free markets that,in too many instances, have caused suffering and loss, is to acknowledge that some of the PEOPLE heading corporations are at fault -- the fault is not inherent in concept of free markets. No system of economic organization is perfect, however, capitalism is the most effective and least oppressive, with the greatest opportunities for ordinary citizens. Proof of this? The vast number of people fleeing to America and some other nations where such opportunities exist is testimony to this truth. The problem is not the market system, but the pagan ( dare I say that?) secularism of many people at the helm of the world's largest corporations. To correct our course in the near future we need competent business men and women of faith to lead corporations and nations. It is, in short, a failure to evangelize that plagues our economies. It has been a century long failure to "keep the faith" that has led us to this juncture.
0
...
written by Schm0e, July 01, 2014
Omg. If the proto-leftists posting here are what passes for "Catholics" today, the Pope was only half right: communists didn't just steal our flag; they stole our whole church.

I didn't know this many acid-casualties were still alive.
0
...
written by Romy, July 02, 2014
To Yes We Are - Many see a conspiracy to keep people poor. To what end in this age? Poor people don't buy products - and they don't hire employees.
0
...
written by Leonardo, July 04, 2014
As far as I know, (because I lived there almost 11 years) argentinians tend to consider themselves as the "center of the universe". Therefore, there is ALWAYS an "international conspirancy" against them: the Falkland Island war, the external debt,etc. At the same time, there is a consistent history of breaking any rule (international and internal). The most popular conduct is "working less (or nothing, if possible) and never pay the debts". So, it is important to know this cultural environment in order to understand the Pope. You may see this cultural vision of life in almost all the countries of South America and the Caribbean: the grade of "victimization" varies amongst them. For this reason, I do not expect a good perspective (in the short term, at least) in the social and economic development of Argentina, specially because they have rejected all that we consider essential for a healthy capitalism: respect the law, separation of public powers, treat their own people as free citizens and not as captive voters (specially the poor). The Pope comes from that country, so it is very rare that he does not speak about the use of the poor people by the politicians. The only people who take advantage from the poor are the politicians (not those "evil capitalists"), so they can stay always in power offering promises to people that have no choices (no free citizens). On the other hand, the argentinian business community has always worked next to the political class in search of protectionism and mercantilism and the unions have not made the things better. The end result has been a net of corruption and political clientelism that has done few for the poor and much (really, a lot) for the politicians. So, it is important to know this scenario in order to understand Pope Francis, in the same way that it was important to know Poland in order to understand John Paul II.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

security code
Write the displayed characters


busy
 

Other Articles By This Author

CONTACT US FOR ADVERTISERS ABOUT US