Laudato Si 195: Economy, Not Tyranny

Earth from Apollo 8The encyclical letter Laudato Si is available here on the Vatican website.

195. The principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations, reflects a misunderstanding of the very concept of the economy.

Well-stated. Maximizing profits apart from any other consideration is really more a tyranny of the powerful, those able to manipulate labor, resources, as well as public opinion.

As long as production is increased, little concern is given to whether it is at the cost of future resources or the health of the environment; as long as the clearing of a forest increases production, no one calculates the losses entailed in the desertification of the land, the harm done to biodiversity or the increased pollution.

Summing up, businesses often pass on hidden and future costs to others, while basking in short-term wealth:

In a word, businesses profit by calculating and paying only a fraction of the costs involved. Yet only when “the economic and social costs of using up shared environmental resources are recognized with transparency and fully borne by those who incur them, not by other peoples or future generations”,[Caritas in Veritate 50] can those actions be considered ethical. An instrumental way of reasoning, which provides a purely static analysis of realities in the service of present needs, is at work whether resources are allocated by the market or by state central planning.

Leave it to Pope Benedict XVI to provide a sober analysis of proper business ethics.

About catholicsensibility

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