…County. An analysis by Pope Francis regarding unfettered markets
Pope Francis’ advocacy on behalf of the poor and his critique of the unfettered market in the recent article is amazingly powerful. To us, it is a reflection of what has been going on right here in Prince George’s County Maryland.
To clarify, one must understand and believe in the values of a free market place of goods and services, but at the same time, it’s important to remember that society has an obligation to make sure that the markets are regulated sufficiently to prevent extremes of inequality.
A healthy society requires a balance of the private and the public sector. A society without a public sector would be mean, nasty, and brutish for all except those at the very top of a pointy pyramid, for all, that is, except the top 1% or 10%. A society without a private sector concentrates far too much power in the hands of those who rule and fails (as we saw in the instance of the Soviet Union) to permit enterprise, individualism, and personal freedom.
And it is in that spirit that here cite a short article about Pope Francis, who has emerged as a powerful voice on behalf of the world’s poor.
Pope Francis, the author writes, is critical of “a world that is about “competition and survival of the fittest.” It is a world “where the powerful feed upon the powerless.”
He questions “a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.” He is concerned that this culture has produced global indifference. Society seems content to believe that poverty is somebody else’s problem. For him, the poor are not only exploited but excluded. They have become “the outcast, the leftovers.”
He hammers the injustice of growing inequality. He sees this income gap as a “result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace.” He speaks of the “sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”
He also speaks of growing world-wide corruption which is at least tolerated as the world eagerly seeks to serve the “interests of a deified market which become the only rule.” He specifically mentions “self-serving tax evasion,” and “the thirst for power and possessions,” as examples of the harmful corruption that abounds and knows no limits.”
As we reflect on the growing inequality in our society, where a very small number of people enjoy vast wealth while a vast number of people live in poverty like here in Prince George’s County, the words of Pope Francis ring true.
Yes, we need a marketplace where people buy and sell goods and services. But the marketplace should not make us indifferent to the losers, to those who cannot succeed in the competition to buy and sell.
A healthy society takes care of all its children and builds a culture where love, kindness, and compassion are valued more than the goods we acquire. This is the same treatment we would like to see from our leaders here in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
We guess that sounds radical, but we are not radical. Like you, We just want a better peaceful world for our children and grandchildren and yours too. A fruitful life with the hope of a better future for our children and their children.
This theme links up with the world campaign against poverty, as well as global trade, aid and investment issues. The world campaign against poverty is aimed at ending poverty worldwide by increasing development aid, cancelling external debt and promoting fair trade and better global governance, including the full respect of human and trade union rights. The creation of decent work for all as the best weapon for ending poverty is a central trade union demand.