Pope Francis said on Sunday (4) that the Covid-19 pandemic is the last crisis to prove that market forces alone did not produce the social benefits that their proponents promised.
Encyclicals are the most important papal texts. This is about fraternity.
It covers issues such as immigration, the gap between rich and poor, economic and social injustices, health care imbalances and increased political polarization in many countries.
The document was signed by Francisco in Assisi, Italy, on Saturday (3).
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The title Todos Irmãos was criticized for not using inclusive language. In Italian, the word “fratelli” means brothers, but, as in Portuguese, it can be used to refer to a group with brothers and sisters. According to the Vatican, the name of the encyclical was taken from a text by St. Francis of Assisi written in the 13th century and cannot be changed.
At one point in the text, when speaking of how different cultures should coexist, Francisco, who is Argentine, cited Brazilian composer, poet and diplomat Vinicius de Moraes.
He made reference to the song Samba da Bênção: “Life is the art of encounter, although there is so much disagreement in life”.
The context was an incentive to a culture of encounter, in which everyone can learn something and in which no one is useless. “This implies including the peripheries. Those who live in them have another point of view, see aspects of reality that cannot be discovered from the centers of power where the most decisive decisions are made.”
Criticisms of neoliberal economic policy
Francisco said that the right to private property cannot be considered absolute in all cases, as there are those who live extravagantly and others who have nothing.
“The right of some to freedom of business or the market cannot be above the rights of peoples and the dignity of the poor; nor above respect for the environment,” he wrote.
The Pope directly attacked an idea of economic thought known by the English expression “trickle down”.
Literally, it means to spill or drip. In practice, it means that tax cuts for companies or wealthy people will benefit the entire society.
In the encyclical, the Pope writes the following: “The market, by itself, does not solve everything, although at times they want to make us believe in this dogma of neoliberal faith. It is a poor, repetitive thought, which always proposes the same recipes before any challenge that arises “.
According to the highest authority of the Church, “neoliberalism always reproduces itself, using the magic theory of ‘spill’ or ‘drip’ – without naming it – as the only way to solve social problems. He does not realize that the supposed redistribution does not solve inequality, which is the source of new forms of violence that threaten the social fabric. “
He says that an active economic policy is indispensable to increase jobs instead of reducing them.
“Financial speculation, with greed for easy profit as a fundamental objective, continues to wreak havoc.”
The market cannot fully fulfill its own economic function, he says, without internal forms of solidarity and mutual trust.
“And today, it was precisely this trust that came to be lacking. The end of the story was not as predicted, with the dogmatic recipes of the prevailing economic theory demonstrating that they themselves are not infallible.”
The Pope then quotes the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic: “The fragility of world systems in the face of the pandemic has shown that not everything is resolved with market freedom and that, in addition to rehabilitating a healthy policy that is not subject to the dictates of finance, we must put human dignity at the center again and on this pillar the alternative social structures we need must be built “.
Francisco also criticized the lack of coordination between governments to solve Covid-19 problems: “When he was writing this letter, the Covid-19 pandemic that left our false security guards out of the blue emerged. that the different countries gave, it was evident the inability to act together. Despite being super connected, there was a fragmentation that made it more difficult to solve the problems that affect us all “.