The Pope Versus Unfettered Capitalism

By:  John Nichols

Remember when the Occupy movement demanded that issues like income inequality, race-to-the-bottom globalization and the failures of the free market be placed on the agenda?

Remember the silly critique of Occupy that said the movement’s necessary challenge to austerity lacked specifics?

Problem solved.

The pope has gotten specific.

Condemning the “new tyranny” of unfettered capitalism and the “idolatry of money,” Pope Francis argues in a newly circulated apostolic exhortation that “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.”

The pope has taken a side, not just in his manifesto but in interviews, warning: “Today we are living in an unjust international system in which ‘King Money’ is at the center.”

He is encouraging resistance to “the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation” that creates “a throwaway culture that discards young people as well as its older people.”

“What I would tell the youth is to worry about looking after one another and to be conscious of this and to not allow themselves to be thrown away,” he told a television audience in his native Argentina. “So that throwaway culture does not continue, so that a culture of inclusion is achieved.”

The reference to a “culture of exclusion” is not casual,

In his manifesto, the pope decries the current “economy of exclusion and inequality.”

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