Skip to main content

Material well being and morality

Wall Street Journal's logic. They say:
"In the Americas 'thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities,' the pope said. 'Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal.'

The pope’s call to a common humanity is much-needed, but to our ears the most striking word in that passage is 'north.' Here is the Latin American pope acknowledging that the migrants are moving north to the United States, not the other way around. This is the same United States that practices the capitalist economics the pope has excoriated on so many other occasions. There must be something moral to free-market economics if it creates so much opportunity that attracts so many of the world’s poor."
Hmm. Interesting take. There is something material about the US economy for sure.  How they confuse material well-being with morality is another issue. Beyond the confusion between the ideology of free-market and the economic system actually in place in the US, I think it's safe to say that one can understand why immigrants move North, while at the same time believe that there are better alternatives to the US version of capitalism. There is something striking in the WSJ piece indeed, but it isn't the word north.

PS: Their editorial reminded me of Joan Robinson, who said (Economic Philosophy, p. 45) that "as we see nowadays in South-East Asia or the Caribbean [and one could add Middle East or Latin America], the misery of being exploited by capitalists is nothing compared to the misery of not being exploited at all."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What is the 'Classical Dichotomy'?

A few brief comments on Brexit and the postmortem of the European Union

Another end of the world is possible
There will be a lot of postmortems for the European Union (EU) after Brexit. Many will suggest that this was a victory against the neoliberal policies of the European Union. See, for example, the first three paragraphs of Paul Mason's column here. And it is true, large contingents of working class people, that have suffered with 'free-market' economics, voted for leaving the union. The union, rightly or wrongly, has been seen as undemocratic and responsible for the economics woes of Europe.

The problem is that while it is true that the EU leaders have been part of the problem and have pursued the neoliberal policies within the framework of the union, sometimes with treaties like the Fiscal Compact, it is far from clear that Brexit and the possible demise of the union, if the fever spreads to France, Germany and other countries with their populations demanding their own referenda, will lead to the abandonment of neoliberal policies. Aust…

A brief note on Venezuela and the turn to the right in Latin America

So besides the coup in Brazil (which was all but confirmed by the last revelations, if you had any doubts), and the electoral victory of Macri in Argentina, the crisis in Venezuela is reaching a critical level, and it would not be surprising if the Maduro administration is recalled, even though right now the referendum is not scheduled yet.

The economy in Venezuela has collapsed (GDP has fallen by about 14% or so in the last two years), inflation has accelerated (to three digit levels; 450% or so according to the IMF), there are shortages of essential goods, recurrent energy blackouts, and all of these aggravated by persistent violence. Contrary to what the press suggests, these events are not new or specific to left of center governments. Similar events occurred in the late 1980s, in the infamous Caracazo, when the fall in oil prices caused an external crisis, inflation, and food shortages, which eventually, after the announcement of a neoliberal economic package that included the i…