This has been a cranky week for libertarians, between people suggesting that maybe it would be nice if workers could be in a position to stay with their families on holidays, maybe we shouldn't be so consumption focused over the holidays, and maybe exclusion of the poor is a problem in market economies.
It is the last point that I want to talk about a little and provide a quick quote I like.
Pope Francis's recent pronouncement was admittedly overwrought (like Greg Mankiw, I thought the discussion of "trickle down" in a Vatican document looked ridiculous. But I don't get the uproar over the broader point.
People act like the pope was denying that markets raise people out of poverty. It seems to me he wasn't denying that at all. I can't even imagine what would get people to think he was saying that except they're on a hair-trigger and jump at anyone questioning a libertarianish party line as being entirely anti-market.
It seemed to me all the pope said was that market economies will produce winners and losers, and that a group of people - by circumstances of birth and disadvantage relative to the wealthy - can be left out of a lot of the gains of the market economy.
This seems to me to be obviously true.
It's not a statement that markets fail to reduce poverty. I obviously thinkl markets do reduce poverty, but I also think they exclude people. The two are not contradictory. I highly doubt Pope Francis misses this point. When markets were under threat, the papacy did not have any trouble standing against socialism. I doubt there's a major about face now and there was certainly no indication of that in what I read.
I promised a quote. I particularly liked this one:
"Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality."
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