Pope Francis’ mistrust of free markets: A Chicago retort

ChiTrib very good here, dealing with Francis gently enough but making strong points clearly.

Pope Francis’ attacks on capitalism can be fiery. He has railed against “compulsive consumerism” and called the unfettered pursuit of money “the dung of the devil.” We’ve heard his oratory previously, and we respectfully disagreed with the sweeping nature of the criticism. Why? Because the pope brushes aside how capitalism lifts so many of the world’s people out of poverty. Now add to the litany a harsh new Vatican appraisal of western economics personally approved by Pope Francis.

Pay special attention to the reference to how capitalism, a.k.a. free market, raises people out of poverty.

A lengthy document released Thursday by the Roman Catholic Church goes into surprising detail in its takedown of business, competition, deregulation and the shareholder system. Concepts named and vilified in the paper include derivatives (a class of financial instrument that includes futures), credit default swaps and offshore banking. Debt securitization, a complex pool of assets that can be risky for investors, is a “ticking time bomb ready sooner or later to explode,” the paper says.

Gives us an idea of how deeply entrenched the Vatican powers-that-be, headed of course by Francis, are immersed in leftist ideology.

more more at Chicago Tribune

The Great German Meltdown

It’s a German thing, says Victor Davis Hanson.

Every 20 to 50 years in Germany, things start unraveling. Germans feel aggrieved. Ideas and movements gyrate wildly between far left and far right extremes. And the Germans finally find consensus in a sense of victimhood paradoxically expressed as national chauvinism. Germany’s neighbors in 1870, 1914, 1939—and increasingly in the present—usually bear the brunt of this national meltdown.

Germany is supposed to be the economic powerhouse of Europe, its financial leader, and its trusted and responsible political center. Often it plays those roles superbly. But recently, it’s been cracking up—in a way that is hauntingly familiar to its European neighbors. On mass immigration, it is beginning to terrify the nearby nations of Eastern Europe. On Brexit, it bullies the British. On finance, it alienates the southern Europeans. On Russia, it irks the Baltic States and makes the Scandinavians uneasy by doing business with the Russian energy interests. And on all matters American, it increasingly seems incensed.

more more more at Hoover Institution