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Social Justice And Empty Pockets


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104021Hoover Digest:


“People before profits” is a perverse idea that ignores the very mechanism by which people are helped.

Richard A. Epstein



Economic problems have led to much soul-searching on both sides of the Atlantic. Neither Europe nor the United States will be able to extricate itself from their shared slump until the policies that led to this crisis are reversed. The needs are clear: a successful and sustainable political order requires stable legal and economic policies that reward innovation, spur growth, and maximize the ability of rich and poor alike to enter into voluntary arrangements. Limited government, low rates of taxation, and strong property rights are the guiding principles.


Unfortunately, many spiritual and economic leaders are working overtime to push social policy in exactly the opposite direction. At the top of the list are two prominent figures: Pope Benedict XVI and financier Warren Buffett.


Not long ago the pope was on his way to recession-torn Spain to lead a celebration of World Youth Day when he denounced those nameless persons who put “profits before people.” He told journalists, “The economy cannot be measured by the maximum profit but by the common good. The economy cannot function only with mercantile self-regulation but needs an ethical reason in order to work for man.” Ironically, these words mirror the refrains of countless Spanish socialists, whose relations with the pope have soured in recent years. Their shared premises help explain why Spain finds itself in such a sorry state.



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