Inequality, corruption, and incompetent regulation are awful ingredients for a healthy economy. While partisan hacks have criticized the Pope for being a commie, they know not what they do. Pope Francis is trying to save capitalism from itself.
We have tremendous inequality in our country. This Gatsby chart http://wpmedia.o.canada.com/2013/08/gatsbycurve.jpg shows how socially immobile we have become compared to other developed nations. As Marie Antoinette can confirm, a large angry mob of the poor is very dangerous. As the Pope states, “aggression and conflict will find fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode.” These types of events are not exactly calming news for the markets.
The Pope also discusses” widespread corruption.” While the list of scandals in the markets is to lengthy to mention over the past years, suffice to say it has not been a positive for investor confidence.When people feel the game is fixed they do not play. The Popes criticism of corruption is not a condemnation of Capitalism. It is a suggestion of how to improve it. Bernie Madoff did much more to damage capitalism than the words of Pope Francis.
Finally, the Pope calls for regulations to protect individuals from being abused by “Free Markets.” Markets should not be so free that they take on a life of their own. Today special interests dominate the government. How can these regulators work in our best interests if they are being bribed by lobbyists who only have the interests of a few at heart?
The Pope is right and his suggested reforms of a flawed system will save it from itself. The markets cannot become the playground of the privileged few. In the words of Napoleon “religion is what keeps the poor from killing the rich.” Maybe the Pope’s critics should be grateful that he has given them a warning.