…el papa francisco preaches just economics for the altiplano and the lowlands…

…a clarion call to life and living, and being human in a wounded world – economics of the good life…

Bolivia, just as Ecuador, a country on Pope Francis’ itinerary whose President was almost overthrown in 2008 because of the very policies that Pope Francis (and many millions of other non-neoliberals) is so joyfully praising?

The Guardian gets to the point with the headline, Unbridled capitalism is the ‘dung of the devil’, says Pope Francis. Sample of the news report of his speech in Santa Cruz, Bolivia,

Pope Francis has urged the downtrodden to change the world economic order, denouncing a “new colonialism” by agencies that impose austerity programs and calling for the poor to have the “sacred rights” of labor, lodging and land.

In one of the longest, most passionate and sweeping speeches of his pontificate, the Argentine-born pope used his visit to Bolivia to ask forgiveness for the sins committed by the Roman Catholic church in its treatment of native Americans during what he called the “so-called conquest of America”.

And the thing is, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Trans-Atlantic Investment Partnership (TTIP), and Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) so obsessively promoted by the US President have yet to be destructively unleashed on an already oppressed and increasingly disadvantaged and dispossessed world. 

We extract nuggets from a speech for the ages, one that should embarrass, if such were ever possible, demonic titans of neoliberalism,  Pope Francis: Speech at World Meeting of Popular Movements, (for original spanish),

In his speech, The Pontiff resorts to two famously abused, and cynically so, words, ‘change’ and ‘hope’, and would go on to articulate their true meaning, no subterfuge, no deceit, no hidden agenda for the exclusive benefit of the plutocracy and its agents.

We want change in our lives, in our neighborhoods, in our everyday reality. We want a change which can affect the entire world, since global interdependence calls for global answers to local problems. The globalization of hope, a hope which springs up from peoples and takes root among the poor, must replace the globalization of exclusion and indifference!

And Pope Francis sees the urgency of the challenge, as institutions and forces are yet to be deployed to serve as counterbalance or to diminish the forces of brutal, uncaring mammon.

Time, my brothers and sisters, seems to be running out; we are not yet tearing one another apart, but we are tearing apart our common home. Today, the scientific community realizes what the poor have long told us: harm, perhaps irreversible harm, is being done to the ecosystem. The earth, entire peoples and individual persons are being brutally punished. And behind all this pain, death and destruction there is the stench of what Basil of Caesarea called “the dung of the devil”. An unfettered pursuit of money rules. The service of the common good is left behind. Once capital becomes an idol and guides people’s decisions, once greed for money presides over the entire socioeconomic system, it ruins society, it condemns and enslaves men and women, it destroys human fraternity, it sets people against one another and, as we clearly see, it even puts at risk our common home.

[bold added for emphasis]

At no time in recent has there been such a ruthless, unremitting push to construct a Neoliberal World Ruling Class, with specific nation-states (or decimated versions) serving as worker drones, as ‘cogs’.

Here the Pope addresses the ‘great unwashed’, the ‘wretched of the earth’, the lowly,

What can I do, as collector of paper, old clothes or used metal, a recycler, about all these problems if I barely make enough money to put food on the table? What can I do as a craftsman, a street vendor, a trucker, a downtrodden worker, if I don’t even enjoy workers’ rights? What can I do, a farmwife, a native woman, a fisher who can hardly fight the domination of the big corporations? What can I do from my little home, my shanty, my hamlet, my settlement, when I daily meet with discrimination and marginalization? What can be done by those students, those young people, those activists, those missionaries who come to my neighborhood with their hearts full of hopes and dreams, but without any real solution for my problems? A lot! They can do a lot. You, the lowly, the exploited, the poor and underprivileged, can do, and are doing, a lot. I would even say that the future of humanity is in great measure in your own hands, through your ability to organize and carry out creative alternatives, through your daily efforts to ensure the three “L’s” (labor, lodging, land) and through your proactive participation in the great processes of change on the national, regional and global levels. Don’t lose heart!

And he sets out three basic tasks, of which the first,

The first task is to put the economy at the service of peoples. Human beings and nature must not be at the service of money. Let us say NO to an economy of exclusion and inequality, where money rules, rather than service. That economy kills. That economy excludes. That economy destroys Mother Earth.

If this description of the present ‘economy of unfettered avarice’ is not the philosophy of the US, as promoted by its cheerleader, Barack Obama, we can look a bit more to find out. And that brings us to an analysis from TeleSUR, Obama’s Good Republican Week. Two points from Paul Street should provide the concrete examples,

It is instructive to ponder the essence of these two grand Obamanian policies. The first, known as “Obamacare,” is based on a plan first designed by the Republican Heritage Foundation in the 1990s. It is a richly neoliberal measure. It sets up a complex, “market-based” program that leaves the corporate insurance and drug syndicates’ cost-driving profit-taking fully in place, with disastrous consequences for the quality and affordability of U.S. medical care. Obama rushed to pass this brazenly corporatist measure after kicking the popular choice (single payer “Medicare for All,” supported by most U.S. citizens for many years) to the curb.

[bold added for emphasis]

The cynicism of the US health insurance programme becomes sharper when one considers that Aetna has recently acquired its smaller competitor Humana for US$37B, which means less competition to whatever little that had existed, with great opportunity for price hikes for the insured.

And on those ‘free trade’ deals, no ‘ifs ands or buts’,

The second, the TPP, is a sweeping authoritarian and corporatist measure that would cover 40 percent of the world’s economy. Lawyers and lobbyists for giant multinational corporations have been working it up and promoting it for nearly a decade. Beneath standard propagandistic boilerplate about trade and jobs, the real thrust and significance of the TPP is about strengthening corporations’ ability to protect and extend their intellectual property rights (drug patents, movie rights, and the like) and to guarantee that they will be compensated by governments for any profits they might lose from having to meet decent public labor and environmental (and other) standards, something certain to discourage the enactment and enforce of such standards. It’s all about what the New York Times calls “investor protection.”

And back to the Pontiff’s insights and exhortations. What type of economy?

…A just economy must create the conditions for everyone to be able to enjoy a childhood without want, to develop their talents when young, to work with full rights during their active years and to enjoy a dignified retirement as they grow older. It is an economy where human beings, in harmony with nature, structure the entire system of production and distribution in such a way that the abilities and needs of each individual find suitable expression in social life. You, and other peoples as well, sum up this desire in a simple and beautiful expression: “to live well”.

The threats to be anticipated and rejected, and one to which the world remains susceptible,

Similarly, the monopolizing of the communications media, which would impose alienating examples of consumerism and a certain cultural uniformity, is another one of the forms taken by the new colonialism. It is ideological colonialism. As the African bishops have observed, poor countries are often treated like “parts of a machine, cogs on a gigantic wheel”.[5]

Not just the ‘consumerism’ and ‘cultural uniformity’, but among the other threats are the utter misrepresentation, distortion of news events, the unwarranted vilification of independent national leaders by corporate cable news and shows from the ‘West’, especially the US. Happily, many have been turning away from such drivel.

The Pope’s speech, truly inspirational and inspiring, sufficient to convert the lethargic and instill a spirit of activism.

…’to every thing there is a season…’ has the season come for that ‘just economy’?…

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