Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Is the Pope committting the nirvana fallacy?

Pope Francis made headlines this week by criticizing free market (Anglo-American) capitalism:

"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," Francis wrote in the document issued on Tuesday.

But does this mean that the alternative is better?  The relevant question is not whether capitalism kills but rather whether the Pope's implied alternative would do any better.  In this classic clip from Milton Friedman, he says that the record of history is "absolutely crystal clear" on this point:


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for a lack of a better word, is good.

  3. Only those who worship Friedman believe IN GREED WE TRUST.

    'Pope Francis pushed back on attacks from conservative media figures who described him as a "Marxist" after he commented on wealth inequality.

    Pope Francis recently released Evangelii Gaudium, which included criticisms of the "idolatry of money" and wealth inequality around the world. In response, numerous conservative media figures attacked him.

    Rush Limbaugh described the Pope's writings having "gone beyond Catholicism" and into "pure Marxism."

    Other conservative media figures soon followed suit. Fox Business host Stuart Varney said the Pope was engaging in "neo-socialism" while Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said the document "reveals a disturbing ignorance" by the Pope. called him "the Catholic Church's Obama," adding, "God help us."

    In an interview with Italy's La Stampa newspaper, Pope Francis defended his remarks: "Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don't feel offended." He added, "There is nothing in the exhortation that cannot be found in the social doctrine of the church."

    The Pope expanded on his critique of "trickle-down" economics, noting that "The promise was that when the glass was full, it would overflow, benefitting the poor. But what happens instead, is that when the glass is full, it magically gets bigger nothing ever comes out for the poor."' MEDIA MATTERS