What the Pope gets wrong about capitalism

Any form of control? Really? The Federal Registry of the United States regularly comes in over 60,000 pages. Or, to put it another way, it’s longer than all 46 books of the Old Testament, the 27 books of the New Testament and every gospel the Council of Nicaea decided to toss, combined. And the United States, a place teeming with these economic Darwinists, also happens to be one of the most charitable places on the planet — even before we begin counting per capita spending on safety nets.

The Pope goes on to decry the current “economy of exclusion and inequality.” Well, aimed at a nation incessantly debating ways to create more opportunities for the super poor to catch up to the super rich seems a bit unfair. We can do better, of course. But as inequality goes, according to two measurements (the Palma ratio and the Gini coefficient) the United States falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. That’s more impressive than you think, considering we welcome more immigrants, temporary workers, and foreign students than most nations. The majority of these visitors and immigrants –some of them illegal — begin their time here poor.

The Pope also throws around a bromide about “speculation” creating “a throwaway culture that discards young people as well as its older people.” One assumes that by young people he also mean abortions (mostly, the media skips this part), but the fact is, generally speaking, older people in the U.S. benefit more from financial speculation in the marketplace than anyone. Many people in retirement, if not most, live partially off the wealth created by their lifelong speculation in the marketplace, either through their pension plans, 401(k)s, or property speculation. Without these investments, more Americans would be living off of safety net programs, which wouldn’t exist long with that kind of pressure.