Catholic World News

Bring marketplace forces under social contract, Pope urges

October 20, 2017

In an October 20 address to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, Pope Francis said that “we must aim at ‘civilizing’ the market.”

The Pontiff explained that current world affairs call for “developing new models of cooperation between the market, the state, and civil society.” New approaches are necessary, he said, because of two major probems with the world’s existing socio-economic system.

First, he said, the global economy is marked by “the endemic and systemic increase of inequality and the exploitation of the planet.” The rise in inequality, he argued, is substantially greater than the overall rise in wealth. He traced the cause of this inequality to the profit motive, saying: “If the aim of profit prevails, democracy tends to become a plutocracy in which inequalities grow, as does the exploitation of the planet.”

The second major problem, the Pope continued, is “work that is not worthy of the human person.” He insisted:

We cannot sacrifice fundamental values such as democracy, justice, freedom, the family, and creation on the altar of efficiencey: the “golden calf” of our times.

Pope Francis said that under proper guidance, we should expect the market “not only to be efficient in the production of wealth and in ensuring sustainable growth, but also of placing itself in the service of integral human development.”

The Pope also called for a re-examination of the role of the nation-state, arguing that governments should not be “the only and exclusive holder of the common good.” Rather, he said, the government should allow room for intermediary institutions to have their influence. To ignore these institutions, he said, “would be a violation of the principle of subsidiarity.”


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  • Posted by: Archpriest - Oct. 20, 2017 7:46 PM ET USA

    I wonder if the present sovereign pontiff has ever read the encyclicals and writings of his predecessors? Leo XIII, St Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Ven Pius XII, St John XXIII, Bd Paul VI, St John Paul II, Benedict XVI - all rundly condemned the evils of socialism.