Monday, September 21, 2015

POPE FRANCIS - Pope vs Capitalism

"Why Pope Francis wants us to stop worshipping capitalism" PBS NewsHour 9/17/2015


SUMMARY:  Pope Francis has bluntly criticized global capitalism for causing environmental destruction and tragic consequences for world's poorest citizens.  Ahead of the pontiff's first visit to the United States, economics correspondent Paul Solman takes a closer look at his economic beliefs.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the U.S. next week is generating huge interest and expectation.

Part of that excitement is rooted in the different tone the pope has taken on a number of issues, from marriage to the role of women in the church.  But he has also issued a tough critique of capitalism and called for more action on climate change.

We kick off our coverage of the Pope’s trip, which will continue all next week, with a look at those issues from our economics correspondent Paul Solman.

It’s part of our weekly series Making Sen$e, which airs every Thursday on the NewsHour.

PAUL SOLMAN (NewsHour):  Are you excited that the pope is coming here?


WOMAN:  It’s a blessing that the Pope is coming to visit us, especially the poor people that need a little bit more.

PAUL SOLMAN:  A senior center in East Harlem, the poorest part of Manhattan and the one with the closest ties to Latin America, home to Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentinean Jesuit priest now known as Pope Francis.

MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO, Speaker , New York City Council:  And just south of this district, we have the most wealthy district in the city of New York in the Upper East Side.

PAUL SOLMAN:  Melissa Mark-Viverito is the first Puerto Rico-born speaker of the New York City Council, where she also represents El Barrio.

MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO:  There is a real contrast, which speaks to really the vision and, I think, the philosophy of what the Pope is all about.

PAUL SOLMAN:  The Pope put that vision and philosophy bluntly in June, with his controversial encyclical on climate change and poverty, blaming what he calls unbridled capitalism for ruining the Earth, with tragic effects on those he cares most about, the world’s poorest.
PAUL SOLMAN:  The pope, however, is more than hinting.  He writes that — quote — “Whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, a market that doesn’t take into account fundamental rights of the poor and underprivileged.”

The Pope being unavailable to respond to economist Richard Sylla’s defense of markets, I asked his radical bedfellow, Naomi Klein, for a reply.

NAOMI KLEIN, Author:  Yes, this is a system that has pulled many people out of poverty, but it has also thrown many people into destitution.  Now, my goal here is not to say capitalism has never done anything good.  It’s to say we need a better system, because now the fate of our species hangs in the balance.

PAUL SOLMAN:  Or, as Reverend Wallis puts it....

REV. JIM WALLIS, Founder, Sojourners:  Is our economy today good news for the poor?  The economy is for, more and more, the very top, the very few, and the middle are all very insecure.  And half of God’s children, half the world’s people are left behind by the economy.  God’s economy is very simple.  There is enough, if we share it.  It’s really as simple as that.

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