Tuesday, March 13, 2018

To Protect the Environment, Pope Francis Should Look to Free Markets

Edited by Robert M. Whaples

As the Catholic Church marks five years into Pope Francis’ papacy, we should be grateful he has made environmental protection and helping the poor central themes of his work. Unfortunately, these noble aims are often undermined by the pontiff’s fondness for central planning by government and his antipathy for free-market capitalism.

In his 2015 encyclical, Laudato si’, his leading statement about “care for our common home,” Francis decries the excessive and wasteful consumption enabled by capitalism, and paints capitalists with an extremely broad brush, depicting them as exploitative, short-sighted, and selfishly unconcerned about the environment.

This misunderstanding of free-market capitalism is a regrettable distortion. Such criticisms disregard the market incentives and mechanisms (not to mention individual liberties) that best alleviate the environmental degradation and extreme poverty that Francis seeks to remedy. [more...]

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