Click here to advertise on

USCCB blog criticizes income inequality, Austrian School of economics

Catholic World News - August 19, 2013

Writing for the blog of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, a priest who serves as a labor union official linked “rampant” income inequality to the Austrian School of economics.

After citing Popes Benedict’s criticism of “unregulated capitalism” and Pope Francis’s criticism of “ideologies which uphold the absolute autonomy of the markets and financial speculation,” Father Clete Kiley said that

this economic philosophy, borne [sic] of the Austrian School of Economics, is at the heart of this income gap. Pius XI called this philosophy “the poisoned spring.” In this philosophy, no one cares about income gaps; after all, it’s all about me. Implementing unregulated free market capitalism necessarily means rolling back safety regulations, outsourcing jobs, cutting back hours, bringing in immigrant guest workers without labor protections, eliminating entitlements and mounting a coordinated effort to break labor unions.

Father Kiley serves as director for immigration policy at UNITE HERE, a labor union formed in 2004 that has 265,000 members.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($27,707 to go):
$150,000.00 $122,292.96
18% 82%
Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: shrink - Aug. 20, 2013 3:28 PM ET USA

    What a straw man. There has been virtually no unregulated freemarkets in this country for 100 years. The "poisoned spring" comment by Pius XI comes a single paragraph 88 in an encyclical that is dedicated to denouncing the very thing that Fr Kiley holds dear--socialism.

  • Posted by: unum - Aug. 20, 2013 11:37 AM ET USA

    A little different take than that of Fr. Kiley- "The story of the Austrian School begins in the fifteenth century, when the followers of St. Thomas Aquinas, writing and teaching at the University of Salamanca in Spain, sought to explain the full range of human action and social organization. ..." Fr. Kiley, like most Progressives believes in state control instead of individual freedom. God gave us individual freedom, and told us to use it to help others.

  • Posted by: dagbat - Aug. 20, 2013 12:32 AM ET USA

    Income inequality is caused by human greed, not free enterprise capitalism. Today's accelerated income inequality comes at a time when free enterprise capitalism has been replaced by crony capitalism where big government and big business collaborate together with special interest groups to rig the economic system and to pick the winners and losers. The only economic system to successfully create a large middle class is free enterprise capitalism.

  • Posted by: Baseballbuddy - Aug. 19, 2013 6:05 PM ET USA

    Fr. Riley only gives a tidbit of truth; his commentary is surprisingly simplistic. Unfortunately, most American Catholic hierarchy have only a cursory knowledge of our very complex economy but at least they do not engage in this sort of class warfare. Fr. Riley's interpretation of our economy is embarrassing for me to see on the USCCB site.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on

Recent Catholic Commentary

Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle 4 hours ago
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed 4 hours ago
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? 9 hours ago
The Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities December 17
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17