Many people are confused about how the West can be so rich and much of the rest of the world so poor. On World Food Day, Pope Francis blamed markets and capitalism.
“The fight against hunger demands we overcome the cold logic of the market, which is greedily focused on mere economic profit and the reduction of food to a commodity, and strengthening the logic of solidarity.
We must adapt our socio-economic models so they have a human face, because many models have lost it. Thinking about these situations, in God’s name I want to ask… The big food corporations to stop imposing monopolistic production and distribution structures that inflate prices and end up withholding bread from the hungry.”
Dr. Thomas Woods, also a Catholic, argues in his book The Church and the Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy that the Pope enjoys infallibility in matters of theology and morality, but not science, according to Catholic doctrine. If he did, we wouldn’t need scientists. We could just ask the Pope to solve all scientific problems. Since economics is a science, the Pope has no more insight into it than does any layman. Catholics still must study economics in order to understand how the world works, just like Protestants.
If the Pope understood economic history, he would know that the world was poorer than Haiti from prehistory until the advent of capitalism in the 17th century when standards of living began to rise for the first time in human history, but only in the Dutch Republic, a Protestant country. Later, England and its colonies followed.
How did the Dutch break the Malthusian cycles of famine and mass starvation that had plagued mankind for millennia? They implemented the economic doctrines distilled from the Bible by the Catholic theologians at the University of Salamanca, Spain, in the 16th century. As a result, the Dutch outlawed the former “honorable” ways to gain wealth through looting in war and kidnapping for ransom. They prevented the nobility from using the courts to steal from the common people. And they created free markets and limited government. In other words, they instantiated capitalism.
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