Laudato Si 109: Economics and Politics Driven by Technology

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Pope Francis continues a carefully constructed criticism of the modern enslavement to the “technocratic paradigm.”

109. The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economic and political life. The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings.

A suggestion that the role of banks and the stock market are given too large a portion of and influence over work. This one’s tough to deny:

Finance overwhelms the real economy. The lessons of the global financial crisis have not been assimilated, and we are learning all too slowly the lessons of environmental deterioration.

Where is the evidence we’re on the path to solving our biggest problems?

Some circles maintain that current economics and technology will solve all environmental problems, and argue, in popular and non-technical terms, that the problems of global hunger and poverty will be resolved simply by market growth. They are less concerned with certain economic theories which today scarcely anybody dares defend, than with their actual operation in the functioning of the economy. They may not affirm such theories with words, but nonetheless support them with their deeds by showing no interest in more balanced levels of production, a better distribution of wealth, concern for the environment and the rights of future generations. Their behavior shows that for them maximizing profits is enough.

Behavior tells all.

And worse for those who trust the Market, Pope Benedict had his deep skepticism:

Yet by itself the market cannot guarantee integral human development and social inclusion.[Caritas Veritate 35]

He was also expressed doubts on materialism of the First World in the face of great need:

At the same time, we have “a sort of ‘superdevelopment’ of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation”,[Ibidem 22] while we are all too slow in developing economic institutions and social initiatives which can give the poor regular access to basic resources. We fail to see the deepest roots of our present failures, which have to do with the direction, goals, meaning and social implications of technological and economic growth.

We’ll continue on this for another five sections that follow. Any comments today, though?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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