In his speech on inequalities amid the pandemic, the Pope calls on the world community to face the “destructive effects of the Empire of Money”

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In his third encyclical on Sunday morning, Pope Francis denounced free market capitalism and the “magic” theory of the fallout economy, saying the coronavirus pandemic has once and for all refuted the idea that economic policies aimed at benefit the already rich benefit low-income people through job creation and investment.The 45,000-word document, titled “Fratelli Tutti” meaning “Brothers all” or “Brothers and sisters all,” indicated the Pope’s conviction that the pandemic has shown that a major overhaul of global economic systems is needed, as the crisis has disproportionately affected the poor in countries like the United States, Brazil and the United Kingdom; revealed the gap between low-income workers around the world who have had limited access to government assistance and professionals able to work from home; and caused the “most uneven” recession in modern US history.

“Anyone who thinks that the only lesson to be learned was the need to improve what we were already doing, or to refine existing systems and regulations, denies the reality,” Pope Francis said.

“The fragility of global systems in the face of the pandemic has demonstrated that not everything can be resolved by free market,” the encyclical continued.

The document implicitly rebuked conservative and neoliberal views in the United States and other wealthy countries. In the United States, the pandemic has so far eliminated low-paying jobs at eight times the rate of high-paying jobs, and Republican Senate leaders have scoffed at Democrats’ proposal to keep unemployment benefit $ 600 a week extended in March, despite evidence that it had a measurable positive impact on poverty levels in the United States for several months this year. Instead, the GOP has prioritized protecting companies from liability if their employees contract the coronavirus after returning to work.

Previous economic crises, such as the recession of 2008 and 2009, ultimately “increased freedom for the truly powerful, who always find a way out unscathed,” Pope Francis noted. Now, he said, society must face “the destructive effects of the money empire.”

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Those with economic power must “administer it for the good of all” rather than accumulate wealth, he said, suggesting that this applies to both individual countries like the United States. – where a recent analysis by the People’s Policy Project showed that nearly 80% of people are currently owned by millionaires and billionaires, who make up only 12% of the population – and the global community, where leaders in developing countries have recently asked if their populations would be “left to die” after the United States, Russia and Brazil refused to engage in a global effort to make a Covid-19 vaccine accessible to all.

Private property cannot be considered a right if a privileged few in a society live in luxury while others have nothing, the Pope added.

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, spiritual writer and leader of the Campaign of the Poor in the United States, interpreted Pope Francis’ words as a call for an “International Campaign of the Poor”.

“There does not seem to be any place for popular movements that unite the unemployed, temporary and informal workers, and many others who do not easily find their place in existing structures,” said the Pope.

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, Co-chair of the Campaign of the Poor, thanked the Pope for “calling the Church to stand with the movements of the poor around the world” in the midst of the pandemic and beyond.



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