By Ricardo Valenzuela
At the beginning of the 80s I was taking a training with the Bank of America in its different offices in California, Chicago, New York. In one of my stays in Los Angeles, I was invited to a talk that would offer the Nobel laureate, Milton Friedman, one of the men I have admired the most and, above all, the guide which shaped my ideas of economic freedom. The event took place in one of the elegant lounges of the bank that was crowded with people from early on. A crowd that included the famous actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who years later would become governor of California. But my big surprise was the arrival of Ronald Reagan who a year later would be president of the United States.
The theme of the conference was the critical situation that world banking system was going through, listing motives from the misbehavior of the world economy, the novel currency flotation system, the absence of political leaders with real ideas of what economic development is etc. At a certain point of his talk, this wise character made the venue vibrate when he said: “This situation is so serious that the main banks of the world have lent more of their capital and reserves to countries that can be considered bankrupt.” Before a gloomy murmur of the assistants, Milton Friedman makes a long pause that is taken advantage of by someone who, breaking the protocol, almost screaming question. “Countries in bankruptcy How, where?” The … Read the rest
Catholic statists (including the Pope), like to lecture about “just” wages while they all but ignore issues that are a) real, b) causing great harm to families and c) can be fixed without violating Catholic doctrines on subsidiarity and private property rights. Mention this uncomfortable truth and you’ll be cursed, libeled and then blocked (as I was by Comrade Shea over the weekend).
If you are a Catholic (or even just a person of goodwill) and you are interested in practical ways to fix economic inequalities, why not start with the single largest real threat to wages and private property?
Over the last five years the Bishop of Rome has made manifest his ignorance of (or opposition to), Church doctrine on moral issues. Now he has chosen to demonstrate to the world another area in which he is ignorant; history, finance and economics.
We are naturally sad at the latest humiliation for the Church and the increase in confusion that will inevitably result from this promulgation of ignorance, but I am hopeful that God will do great things through the errors of this pontificate, and perhaps one way that will be manifested in the life of Catholics is the total annihilation of the neo-ultramontanist heresy which grips so many on both Left and Right.
Dr. Samuel Gregg offers an exceptionally charitable perspective on the document here. His conclusion:
Finance is unquestionably a sphere of life in which people are subject to specific temptations—just as politics and the priesthood are callings with their own potential pitfalls. Oeconomicae pecuniariae et quaestiones goes some way towards helping people make good choices in an industry upon which every single one of us is in some way reliant for our economic well-being. Unfortunately, it’s also a reminder that the Church has much more work to do if it’s going to make constructive contributions to the reform of a segment of modern economies that, ten years after the financial crisis, is still in desperate need of substantive change.