Pope Francis: Pandemic proves ‘magic theories’ of capitalism have failed, world needs political reform

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Pope Francis criticized what he called the “magic theories” of market capitalism and claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic made it apparent that a new global political paradigm was indicated moving forward.

On Sunday, the pontiff enunciated his vision for a post-novel coronavirus world by combining the foundational provisions of his social instruction into a new encyclical aimed at pushing a new global unity.

The encyclical, “Fratelli Tutti,” or “Brothers All,” was released by the Vatican on the feast day of his patron peace-loving saint, Francis of Assisi.

The pope’s writings draw mostly upon St. Francis’ teachings as well as the pontiff’s own homilies that highlight sometimes gaping discrepancies in the global economy and its alleged negative effect on the planet, pairing them with his plea for more unity to combat the “dark clouds over a closed world.”

Francis even rejected the Catholic Church’s doctrine of justifying war as a means of self-defense, claiming that it had been too widely applied for centuries and, thus, was no longer applicable.

“It is very difficult nowadays to invoke the rational criteria elaborated in earlier centuries to speak of the possibility of a ‘just war,’” he wrote.

The Associated Press notes:

Francis had started writing the encyclical, the third of his pontificate, before the coronavirus struck and its bleak diagnosis of a human family falling apart goes far beyond the problems posed by the outbreak. He said the pandemic, however, had confirmed his belief that current political and economic institutions must be reformed to address the legitimate needs of the people most harmed by the coronavirus.

“Aside from the differing ways that various countries responded to the crisis, their inability to work together became quite evident,” Francis noted. “Anyone who thinks that the only lesson to be learned was the need to improve what we were already doing, or to refine existing systems and regulations, is denying reality.”

He went on to cite the loss of tens of millions of jobs, which came as a result of entire countries shutting down their economies ostensibly to ‘bend the curve’ of the virus’ spread after initial models falsely predicted millions of deaths.

Francis said the massive loss of jobs proved that politicians must listen to populist movements as well as unions and minorities in order to adopt more equitable policies.

“The fragility of world systems in the face of the pandemic has demonstrated that not everything can be resolved by market freedom,” he wrote. “It is imperative to have a proactive economic policy directed at ‘promoting an economy that [favors] productive diversity and business creativity’ and makes it possible for jobs to be created, and not cut.”

He also rejected the notion of absolute individual property rights — which is a cornerstone of American constitutional liberties — instead advocating for a shared resource approach as a “social purpose,” an economic theory embedded in Marxism and communism.

He rejected the capitalist principles that catapulted the U.S. to the top of the global economic ladder.

“Neo-liberalism simply reproduces itself by resorting to magic theories of ‘spillover’ or ‘trickle’ — without using the name — as the only solution to societal problems,” he wrote. “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.”

The encyclical, which may be the final one of Francis’ papacy, also reiterates earlier criticisms of ‘nationalist’ policies that reject unlimited immigration.


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