PopeWatch: The Pope and the Dismal Science

Further evidence that when the Pope talks about economics, he is without a clue:


On Palm Sunday and World Youth Day, Pope Francis told youth “not to keep quiet even if others keep quiet.” Young people should take his advice and speak out against Pope Francis’s economic agenda.

In his apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel”), Pope Francis said, “Young people call us to renewed and expansive hope, for they represent new directions for humanity and open us up to the future, lest we cling to a nostalgia for structures and customs which are no longer life-giving in today’s world.”

Those young people should note that Pope Francis clings to outdated structures and customs. He continues to push the high tax, government wealth-redistribution model that undermines market capitalism, which entrepreneurs, young and old, need to thrive.


Pope Francis argues that capitalism and globalization lead to poverty and inequality. In a 2015 interview, he said, “It is true that in absolute terms the world’s wealth has grown, but inequality and poverty have arisen.” His antimarket fervor stands at some distance from the facts.

From 1981 to 2013 the percentage of the world’s population living in absolute poverty (with incomes less than $2 per day) fell from 42 percent to 10.7 percent, according to the World Bank. This happened as market liberalization spread, lifting billions of people out of abject poverty over the past two decades alone.

More than 500 million people in China escaped crushing poverty after promarket reforms allowed unprecedented freedom for entrepreneurs to start new businesses, invest capital, innovate with new technology, trade globally, and hire the best employees. The same process has been at work in India.

At the same time, global income inequality has declined noticeably because of liberalizing economic reforms. Economist Branko Milanovic found that the global Gini value, a common measure of income inequality, decreased from 72.2 in 1988 to 67 in 2011. A lower Gini value means less inequality.

By ignoring these achievements of market liberalization and continuing to push for more government control, Pope Francis undermines entrepreneurship and wealth creation. He should heed the consequences of the policies he favors.


Go here to read the rest.  That a pope is bone ignorant about economics is unsurprising.  The problem of course is that the Pope is unaware of his ignorance and constantly supports policies that would make people poorer if implemented.  When a Pope tells us not to forget the poor, he is echoing Christ.  When a Pope tells us how to run an economy, his arguments must stand or fall like anyone else’s, since his office clearly gives him no special economic charism.

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  1. But you can bet your last dollar that if these young people “refuse to keep quiet” while criticizing the policies he endorses, Pope Francis will be the first one to tell them to shut up.

  2. Christ provided a standard by which we need to live, and then he showed us the way by sacrificing himself. Pope Chastisement provides a standard by which everyone other than he and his powerful friends need to live, as he exempts himself and his cronies. I’ve stopped listening to the man. Until he states dogma, he will be ignored.

  3. The Pope is an exemplar of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    His personal shortcomings aside, he’s a product of Argentina, a country with a wretched political culture. The American Universities Field Staff in 1963 published a compendium of profiles of the political economy of foreign countries which included a chapter on Argentina and the Peronist understanding of same: you use political power to sluice benefits to your constituency. Full stop. All this is atop the confusions clerics suffer generally on account of the ecclesiastical economy being so odd.

  4. Again, Pius the XI called serious abuses of the principle of subsidiarity a “grave evil” I assume that Francis’s call for nations to distribute the wealth (first they must confiscate it) falls into that category, no?

  5. Germany apologized for Fascism and Hitler. Japan also apologized.
    But no one has ever apologized for Communism and Socialism, not for those murdered and even as Venezuela dines on cats and dogs. All we’re told is “it just hasn’t really been tried”.

  6. “it just hasn’t really been tried”. In the words of Dr. Jordan Peterson, he is really saying that “I will do it correctly.” How? By oppressing those who disagree with you? The gulag does not work without slavery. The gulag does not work without turning men in to beasts of burden to the state. “I will take all you own and maybe I will give some back to you if you agree to surrender you sovereign personhood.” Utopia worked in the Garden of Eden before the Fall of man. Now, not at all.
    Dictators do not realize or care that the death of every one of their constituents is on their conscience.

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