Pope Francis has condemned “trickle-down” economic policies, saying that they provide the opportunity for “the powerful [to] feed upon the powerless”.
In the Apostolic Exhortation, the pope’s first lengthy writing of his papacy, he highlights what he calls the “economy of exclusion” as one of the major challenges that the world faces today.
The “trickle-down” theory is one that refers to capital being created within the wealthiest realms of society, with supporters arguing that this also benefits those less financially fortunate due to the trickling down effect.
Pope Francis writes, “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.
“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 two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality.”
He criticises the “laws of competition”, by which he says the “powerful feed on the powerless”.
He also says that anyone who defends the trickle-down theories within a free market economy “expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power”.
Pope Francis goes on to liken the “idolatry of money” to the worship of the golden calf, criticising a financial system which “rules rather than serves”, saying that ethical considerations into the financial services requires “a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders”.
Many said that Pope Francis would bring fresh thinking to the Catholic world when he was elected in March. He stressed the importance of tackling paedophilia, denounced corruption within religious groups and spoke about the need for world leaders to bring an end to what he called the “cult of money”.
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