Thursday, June 18, 2015

Did the Pope Just Bless a Switch to Steady State Economics

Today's papal encyclical took some awfully strong positions and not just on climate change.  Francis also condemned our cult of consumerism which stands as the beating heart of neoclassical, growth-driven, free market economics.  In this era of neoliberalism it has become our default economic operating system and you don't need the pope to see that it's utterly destroying our civilization.

The pope seems to think the people of the most advantaged countries - that would include you - need to stop buying so damned much crap.

Francis writes: “Those who possess more resources and economic or political power seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms”. The failure to respond, he says, points to the loss of a “sense of responsibility for our fellow men and women upon which all civil society is founded”.

He calls access to safe water a “basic and universal human right” and says depriving the poor of access to water is akin to denying the right to a life.

The Argentinian pontiff heaps praise on efforts made by scientists to find solutions to man-made problems, and lashes out at those who intervene in the service of “finance and consumerism”.

“It is actually making our earth less rich and beautiful, even more limited and grey,” he says.


UU4077 said...

He's got my vote.

Lorne said...

With that kind of commentary, Mound, the Pope is surely putting a target on himself. Reduce our consumption? How long will the right wing take to call that communism?

Hugh said...

"Saving banks at any cost, making the public pay the price, foregoing a firm commitment to reviewing and reforming the entire system, only reaffirms the absolute power of a financial system, a power which has no future and will only give rise to new crises." p.138.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Hugh. Great catch, many thanks. I hope it won't be long before the encyclical is published. I expect it can play a significant role in motivating demands for change - one way or the other.

With that one line you've noted he's captured what a lot of us have believed for some time. It just has so much greater power when it comes from a leader of his stature and, for the first time in my life, I consider a pope a leader for us all.

@ Lorne - I sense the Right's response has been entirely pre-emptive. They spent the three weeks leading up to the release of the text bashing the pope, high and low. Now that the encyclical has been issued they've fallen quiet, perhaps hoping their lack of direct response will prevent it from gaining any traction with the public consciousness.

@UU - I wish.

Anyong said...

Now...the RC's Bank can begin putting into effect what true banking is all about...allowing anyone to be a customer while paying out good interest and helping the poor out of poverty.