168. The marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith. Whatever the challenge, this impoverished and repetitive school of thought always offers the same recipes. Neoliberalism simply reproduces itself by resorting to the magic theories of “spillover” or “trickle” – without using the name – as the only solution to societal problems. There is little appreciation of the fact that the alleged “spillover” does not resolve the inequality that gives rise to new forms of violence threatening the fabric of society.
Some politicians and economists are living in error: they believe but they can’t comprehend the truth. Others know it is a lie, designed for get-rich and especially for getting-richer.
It is imperative to have a proactive economic policy directed at “promoting an economy that favors productive diversity and business creativity” [Laudato Si’ 129] and makes it possible for jobs to be created and not cut.
In fact, the free market is often not free at all. In some ways it is rigged in favor of the insiders. Pope Benedict came down on it:
Financial speculation fundamentally aimed at quick profit continues to wreak havoc. Indeed, “without internal forms of solidarity and mutual trust, the market cannot completely fulfil its proper economic function. And today this trust has ceased to exist”. [Caritas in Veritate 35]
When material wealth is placed above the people who really create it:
The story did not end the way it was meant to, and the dogmatic formulae of prevailing economic theory proved not to be infallible. The fragility of world systems in the face of the pandemic has demonstrated that not everything can be resolved by market freedom. It has also shown that, in addition to recovering a sound political life that is not subject to the dictates of finance, “we must put human dignity back at the center and on that pillar build the alternative social structures we need”. [Address to Participants in the World Meeting of Popular Movements (28 October 2014): AAS106 (2014), 858]
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