Pope’s economic beliefs
Pope Francis isn’t exactly known for his wholehearted support of capitalism, but that doesn’t mean he’s rooting for economies to fail.
On the contrary, on May 27 the Pope spoke to workers and managers in Genoa, saluting entrepreneurs for their role in economic development. Yay entrepreneurs!
A quick clarification
His affirmation wasn’t without caveats, though. Pope Francis also warned that in business, the welfare of workers must be at the forefront of the decision-making process.
On Saturday, at the Ilva factory in Genoa, the Pope declared that “there is no good economy without a good entrepreneur.”
He lauded those movers and shakers for their ability “to create: to create jobs, to create products.”
But the Pontiff drew a sharp line between entrepreneurs and speculators. “The speculator does not love his company, he does not love his workers, but sees business and workers only as a means to make a profit,” he went on. “When the economy is inhabited by good entrepreneurs, businesses are friendly to people and even to the poor,” the Pope said.
Corporate social responsibility, anyone?
He continued: “When [the economy] falls into the hands of speculators, everything is ruined.”
The Pope also spoke out against competition – not in the broader economy, but within a single firm. He called cutthroat office competition “an anthropological and Christian error,” and emphasized its detrimental effect on the economy, as well.
He went on to declaim those who have taken the concept of “meritocracy” too far, “distorted and perverted” it until corporate profits are seen as the only things worth caring about.
“When a business scientifically creates a system of individual incentives that put workers in competition with each other, perhaps an advantage can be gained in the short term, but it soon ends up undermining that fabric of trust that is the soul of any organization,” said the Pope.
“And so, when a crisis arises, the company unravels and implodes, because there is no longer any rope to hold it together. It must be said strongly that this competitive culture among workers within a business is a mistake, and is therefore a vision that needs to be changed if we want the good of enterprise, workers and the economy.”
workers are humans too
Basically, the Pope wants entrepreneurs to be mindful of the human element intrinsic in whatever they’re building.