September 28, 2015

Pope Francis' Condemnation of Capitalism Undercuts His Call to End Poverty

Liya Palagashvili

Affiliated Scholar

Donald J. Boudreaux

Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
Summary

With Pope Francis' first visit to the United States just wrapping up, he leaves behind two contradictory positions. He touched on these contradictions in a speech to Congress last Thursday. Francis criticizes the evils of capitalism and its spirit of profit. Yet at the same time, he pushes for an end to poverty.

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With Pope Francis' first visit to the United States just wrapping up, he leaves behind two contradictory positions. He touched on these contradictions in a speech to Congress last Thursday.

Francis criticizes the evils of capitalism and its spirit of profit. Yet at the same time, he pushes for an end to poverty. Here's the conflict:

Capitalism is fueled by voluntary exchange; under it, individuals prosper only by serving their fellow men and women. It is in capitalist societies where doctors are sometimes motivated by higher earnings to save the lives of individuals. It is in capitalist societies where scientists often work tirelessly to create medicine that will cure diseases. It is typically profit that motivates your local grocer to deliver the food you need to survive.

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