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The Pope's Economic Plan

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Pope Francis
(image by AP)

Today, Pope Francis released an 84-page document, known as an apostolic exhortation, called an Official Platform for his papacy by Reuters.   Frankly, most of it is arcane religious doctrine and prescriptions to this atheist, but the pope's economic plan ought to be of interest to everyone.

This pope lives simply, in a guest house, and has been known to wash the feet of ordinary people, despite having access to vast wealth, like all popes.   Further, like his namesake, Saint Francis, he seems to sincerely wish to do something to combat poverty.   However, most of the MSM articles are crafting his message in purely moral terms.   From the Reuters article:

In (the document), Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the "idolatry of money" and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens "dignified work, education and healthcare".

Did the pope just call for universal healthcare?   Where was he when Obamacare ruled out the Public Option?   On safer ground, the Reuters article continues:

(The pope) also called on rich people to share their wealth. "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. Such an economy kills," Francis wrote in the document issued on Tuesday.

"How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?"

This is safe territory for most media.   "Just give a little more...share what you've made with those less fortunate," is safe because how much is enough?   How much is too little?   One could debate redistribution forever without addressing the reason for maldistribution in the first place.   

Senator Bernie Sanders digs a bit further, recognizing the pope's "past passionate criticism of the global financial system, which has plunged more of the world into poverty while benefiting the wealthy few."  

From Reuters:

In (the exhortation), economic inequality features as one of the issues Francis is most concerned about, and the 76-year-old pontiff calls for an overhaul of the financial system and warns that unequal distribution of wealth inevitably leads to violence.

"As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems," he wrote.

The pope is clearly not a believer in deregulated markets!   What would (catholic) Ronald Reagan have thought?

But, there is more to the Pope's plan than just exhortations to -- somehow -- lessen the wealth gap.   Although for some reason, none of the articles I found directly linked to the actual apostolic exhortation, I was able to find it here.

In chapter 2, section I, the pope writes of "SOME CHALLENGES OF TODAY'S WORLD," saying:

"52. In our time humanity is experiencing a turning-point in its history, as we can see from the advances being made in so many fields. We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people's welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity. This epochal change has been set in motion by the enormous qualitative, quantitative, rapid and cumulative advances occurring in the sciences and in technology, and by their instant application in different areas of nature and of life. We are in an age of knowledge and information, which has led to new and often anonymous kinds of power."

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http://newthinking.blogspot.com/

Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (December, 2014) and may be found here:
https://tayen-lane.squarespace.com/america-is-not-broke/

Scott is President of Common Ground-NYC (http://commongroundnyc.org/), a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written (more...)
 

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My  dream is to fulfill Isaiah 23:17-18 an... by Michael Dewey on Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 5:59:29 PM
The world is opening in small and great ways. Wher... by Nelson Betancourt on Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 6:57:55 PM
Did the pope just call for universal healthcare? &... by Robert S. Becker on Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 8:08:47 PM
Hmm, I see.  Reagan is a catholic name, usual... by Scott Baker on Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 9:57:58 PM
Indeed, Reagan was not a Catholic, but Paul Ryan p... by John Sanchez Jr. on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 8:25:41 AM
Great article, Scott, thanks for such a thorough a... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 8:52:07 PM
Thanks.I might have critiqued him more for not pro... by Scott Baker on Tuesday, Nov 26, 2013 at 9:52:35 PM
I did a crazy thing today.I sent John Kelly's book... by Scott Baker on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 3:23:49 PM
Scott, you have got the Mosiac land laws wrong! Th... by David Chester on Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 9:59:55 AM
I certainly can't claim to be a biblical scholar.&... by Scott Baker on Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 12:43:02 PM
Even Solgeitsyn who was a dissident on USSR politi... by jean labrek on Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 5:07:30 PM
Your important expression is exactly on point. Ma... by John Durham on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 8:15:20 PM
In the US, I'm not sure the Catholic bishops want ... by H M Seiler on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 12:12:39 PM
"(The pope) also called on rich people to share th... by Rixar13 on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 12:18:39 PM
"(The pope) also called on rich people to share th... by Rixar13 on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 12:19:43 PM
A note from my most Catholic friend, explaining wh... by Robert S. Becker on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 1:09:30 PM
I like the last sentence: "They pretty certainly d... by Scott Baker on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 1:26:24 PM
One can only hope his words are paving the path fo... by Daniel Geery on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 1:37:05 PM
Here's a piece from The Week,  Pope Francis h... by Robert S. Becker on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 2:03:04 PM
We can't expect miracles.  He's only the pope... by Scott Baker on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 4:12:53 PM
Right, forget the Anthony Quinn movie, Shoes of th... by Robert S. Becker on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 5:20:10 PM
The hopeful thingt hat I draw from Pope Francis' s... by John Sanchez Jr. on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 10:10:27 PM
I am impressed with this pope as he is a true lead... by ProgressiveBum on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 3:20:40 PM
This reminds me of Pope Pius XI Encyclical of May ... by Mike Kirchubel on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 3:36:25 PM
Will love to hear him start talking about the Pari... by Michael Dewey on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 3:44:57 PM
Scott, are you a Prick? If the RIGHT was handed su... by John Durham on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 7:34:22 PM
Flagged by yours truly, without hesitation. Anyone... by Robert S. Becker on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 8:46:47 PM
Thanks, Robert.  I was going to flag it too, ... by Scott Baker on Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 4:58:48 AM
"under some kind of mental microscope!"..."uh, tha... by John Durham on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 4:03:48 PM
Agreed.....This article being very interesting. Wa... by jean labrek on Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 5:12:03 PM
John, are you a Prick? W ho are you? No one knows ... by Daniel Geery on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 10:33:56 PM
They are also listening to Scott, as you would kno... by Daniel Geery on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 10:35:49 PM
Pope Francis's recognition and exposure of EMPIRE:... by Alan MacDonald on Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013 at 7:54:26 PM
How about that. The pope's throne is filled, for t... by Lester Shepherd on Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 10:17:51 AM
Interesting.To deny a pope the right to live the p... by BFalcon on Wednesday, Dec 4, 2013 at 9:39:48 AM
Frankly, I'm not much into Church, I've never been... by Guglielmo Tell on Thursday, Nov 28, 2013 at 11:26:22 AM
Must correct an earlier comment. I meant to descri... by H M Seiler on Friday, Nov 29, 2013 at 1:37:09 PM
Yes. Exactly right.... by John Durham on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 8:03:58 PM
... by John Durham on Saturday, Nov 30, 2013 at 8:10:49 PM
He's not of the same intellectual caliber of his p... by paulvcassidy on Sunday, Dec 1, 2013 at 11:57:04 AM
The Atlantic Magazine recently wrote an article at... by Scott Baker on Saturday, Dec 14, 2013 at 3:02:49 AM