Catholic World News

Pope praises entrepreneurs, but blasts speculation, competition

May 29, 2017

Pope Francis saluted the role of entrepreneurs in spurring economic development, but said that business decisions must be based on the workers’ welfare, in a meeting with workers and management in Genoa on May 27.

Speaking at the Ilva factory during his Saturday visit to Genoa, the Pope acknowledged that “there is no good economy without a good entrepreneur.” He spoke of the ability of entrepreneurs “to create: to create jobs, to create products.”

However, the Pope went on to draw a sharp distinction between entrepreneurs and speculators. “The speculator does not love his company, he does not love his workers, but sees business and workers only as a means to make a profit,” he said. “He uses: uses the company and the workers to make a profit.”

“When the economy is inhabited by good entrepreneurs, businesses are friendly to people and even to the poor,” the Pope continued. “When it falls into the hands of speculators, everything is ruined.”

The Pontiff went on to condemn competition within firms, saying that it is “an anthropological and Christian error” as well as a mistaken economic policy. He also said that the concept of “meritocracy” is “distorted and perverted” in order to provide for corporate profits. In arguing against competition, he said:

When a business scientifically creates a system of individual incentives that put workers in competition with each other, perhaps an advantage can be gained in the short term, but it soon ends up undermining that fabric of trust that is the soul of any organization. And so, when a crisis arises, the company unravels and implodes, because there is no longer any rope to hold it together. It must be said strongly that this competitive culture among workers within a business is a mistake, and is therefore a vision that needs to be changed if we want the good of enterprise, workers and the economy.

 
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  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - May. 30, 2017 11:59 AM ET USA

    Pope Francis has a point. Competition and individual initiative must be directed toward the common good, be it good of the team, the good of the business enterprise, or the good of the nation. "Dog eat dog" often ends in ruin.