Laudato Si 189: Politics and Economy In Dialogue

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website. Section IV of Chapter Five addresses the topic, “Politics and Economy in Dialogue for Human Fulfillment.” The next ten posts will cover the relevant numbered sections 189-198.

189. Politics must not be subject to the economy, nor should the economy be subject to the dictates of an efficiency-driven paradigm of technocracy. Today, in view of the common good, there is urgent need for politics and economics to enter into a frank dialogue in the service of life, especially human life.

By broad definition, all human interaction is politics. The real challenge is not muting political exchange, but ensuring the discussion is not limited to those with power and access. This century’s depression is cited:

Saving banks at any cost, making the public pay the price, foregoing a firm commitment to reviewing and reforming the entire system, only reaffirms the absolute power of a financial system, a power which has no future and will only give rise to new crises after a slow, costly and only apparent recovery. The financial crisis of 2007-08 provided an opportunity to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and new ways of regulating speculative financial practices and virtual wealth. But the response to the crisis did not include rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world.

Truly, there was no real interest in change. The West is pleased to be on a war footing, and its financial industries are pleased with operating in a lawless state. Or lack of state.

Production is not always rational, and is usually tied to economic variables which assign to products a value that does not necessarily correspond to their real worth. This frequently leads to an overproduction of some commodities, with unnecessary impact on the environment and with negative results on regional economies.[Cf. Mexican Bishops’ Conference, Episcopal Commission For Pastoral And Social Cconcerns, Jesucristo, vida y esperanza de los indígenas e campesinos (14 January 2008)]

Unmentioned here is the assistance of the media in the attempt to sell unwanted or unneeded products to people by persuasion. How often are people bribed or seduced into acquisition that benefits only suppliers?

The financial bubble also tends to be a productive bubble. The problem of the real economy is not confronted with vigor, yet it is the real economy which makes diversification and improvement in production possible, helps companies to function well, and enables small and medium businesses to develop and create employment.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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