Populorum Progressio 26: Unbridled Liberalism

An interesting topic header. I’ve seen “liberal” defined in a lot of ways over the years. On the net, there’s a lot of “originalism,” looking for what the word used to mean. What did Pope Paul VI mean? It involves money–doesn’t sound like Occupy 1% to me. But let’s read:

26. However, certain concepts have somehow arisen out of these new conditions and insinuated themselves into the fabric of human society. These concepts present profit as the chief spur to economic progress, free competition as the guiding norm of economics, and private ownership of the means of production as an absolute right, having no limits nor concomitant social obligations

This unbridled liberalism paves the way for a particular type of tyranny, rightly condemned by Our predecessor Pius XI, for it results in the “international imperialism of money.”(Quadragesimo Anno)

Being rich isnot in itself the sin. It’s the behaving badly with money and power that concerns the Church, and mostly, concerns the poor. Money and power often lead to manipulation. Defenders tout the so-called free market, but it too often ends up as heavy thumbs on the scales of competition and justice.

Such improper manipulations of economic forces can never be condemned enough; let it be said once again that economics is supposed to be in the service of man. (Cf., for example, Colin Clark, The Conditions of Economic Progress, 3rd ed., New York: St. Martin’s Press (1960), 3-6.)

But if it is true that a type of capitalism, as it is commonly called, has given rise to hardships, unjust practices, and fratricidal conflicts that persist to this day, it would be a mistake to attribute these evils to the rise of industrialization itself, for they really derive from the pernicious economic concepts that grew up along with it. We must in all fairness acknowledge the vital role played by labor systemization and industrial organization in the task of development.

Yes. And let’s not forget the positive role of labor movements.

This encyclical letter is © Copyright – Libreria Editrice Vaticana, and can be found in its entirety at this link.

The image is of Lady Justice at the Central Criminal Court of London.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in Populorum Progressio, social justice. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s