Each day, I find myself more and more drawn to Pope Francis. Whether it’s his emphasis on inclusion, ecumenical acts, views on evangelization, or his concern for individuals over traditional dogma, he is definitely bringing change to the church.
In a free market society, individuals are rewarded (through monetary gains) for working hard. If we use a real life example, an individual working for a publicly traded company would likely receive not only a base pay but a bonus if they contributed to increasing the price per share of the ccompany’s stockholders. Sounds fair, right? Pope Francis has a bit of a different opinion, in that he feels “Unbridled capitalism has taught us the logic of profit at all costs, of exploitation without regard to persons.” (source) He believes one of the core issues of the global financial crisis we are facing today is due to a lack of “person-centered ethics in the world of finance and economics.”. (source)
Person-centered ethics. Think about that for a moment. On its surface, it sounds like something we could all support and stand for. No one deserves to go hungry. No one should have to live on the street. No one should have to earn less than a standard living wage. The challenge to this comes in when too many – or too few – regulations are put in place. If we move away from a capitalistic society, one where wealth accumulation is the focus, into more of a socialistic society, where product made for direct use and reward is more evenly distributed, would we still see the gains in technology, science, and so many other sectors that we are experiencing today? Would people work as hard individually if it meant that the reward wasn’t solely given to them but instead shared among others? It’s an interesting question to ask.
Even more prevalent is Pope Francis’s notion that “human beings themselves are nowadays considered as consumer goods which can be used and thrown away. We have started a throw-away culture.” (source) Companies today continue to focus on training efforts and initiatives to muscle-build their organizations, often in an attempt to more with less, thereby increasing their profit margin. However, they are also more likely to lay off bottom-tier employees as opposed to cutting the pay of top-tier executives in order to meet their quarterly forecast.
With all the experience Pope Francis has in Latin and South America, and witnessing first hand the economic meltdown of these areas resulting in poverty and an ever-widening gap between the rich and poor, it’s no surprise that this issue is close to his heart. It’s something that, regardless of your economic or political views, should be close to everyone’s heart. We are taught in the bible – and in the creation of the Ten Commandments – that we are to worship no other God but God himself. Wealth accumulation, it seems, has become the idol – or perhaps the golden calf – of today.
Note: this post is linked to NOBH .