SOCIALIST Party president Fred M’membe says the global economy needs more government control.
In his first ‘apostolic exhortation’ declaring a new enemy for the Catholic Church: modern capitalism, Pope Francis wrote that: “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 naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralised workings of the prevailing economic system.”
The Pope urged government and financial leaders to “broaden their horizons”.
“The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols,” Pope Francis said.
“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. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.”
He urged government leaders to ensure all citizens had dignified work, among other things.
“It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and healthcare. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase,” said the Pope. “In the meantime, all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us. 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…Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules.”
Supporting the Pontiff’s view, Dr M’membe described it as a radical move if taken in the context of the last half-century of Roman Catholicism.
“This is more than just a lecture about ethics; it’s a statement about who should control financial markets. At least right now, Pope Francis says, the global economy needs more government control – an argument that would have been unthinkable for the pope just 50 years ago,” Dr M’membe said.
“The Holy Father couldn’t be much clearer. The Pope has taken a firm political stance against right-leaning, pro-free market economic policies. His explicit reference to ‘trickle-down’ economic policies is just the beginning: Throughout 224 pages on the future of the Church, he condemns income inequality, ‘the culture of prosperity,’ and ‘a financial system which rules rather than serves’.”
He said in effect, the Pope condemned failures of a free market economy.
“The Bishop of Rome hasn’t just condemned what he sees as a failed free-market – he has condemned the ethic and ideology that underlie free-market economies,” said Dr M’membe.