Catholic World News

USCCB blog criticizes income inequality, Austrian School of economics

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.


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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: - 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 Today's accelerated income inequality comes at a time when free enterprise capitalism has been replaced by crony capitalism where big government and big business collaborate together with special interest groups to rig the economic system and to pick the winners and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: - 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.