An observation for Mr. Novak on Pope Francis and “trickle-down” in EG 54 | Fr. Z’s Blog

Diverging a bit…the real problem with the way that the sentence is translated into English rests on the distortion of the phrase “por sí mismo” into “inevitably” rather than “by itself”.

In the (distorted) English translation the Pope’s criticism seems to land heavily on people who back “trickle-down” economics (which is already a loaded term used by liberals to denigrate a more free-market model).   But the Pope really seems to be criticizing, in Spanish, those who think that the “trickle-down” approach (and yes, that term is a distortion) can help the poor on its own or by itself, that is, without people as individuals taking personal responsibility to help the poor.  People in business have to act morally and responsibly, with an eye on their neighbor, and not just sit back and say that “A free market will eventually help all those poor people all by itself“, thus exoneration them of any personal obligation to do their part.

That, I think, is what the Pope is saying.   It is less a criticism of the free-market (though he clearly isn’t a great fan after his limited personal experience in the disaster that is Argentina) than it is of people who think that a “system” alone will take care of the poor without personal involvement.

So, if I understand the Holy Father correctly, I entirely agree with that first part of EG 54, so long as it is properly translated.  I add that I think a free market is, in fact, the best way to help the poor rise from poverty.  Socialism, Communism… no.   And before some liberal nut suggests that I am for a free-market wholly unfettered by laws, rules, government, …. no.  That’s just stupid.

via An observation for Mr. Novak on Pope Francis and “trickle-down” in EG 54 | Fr. Z’s Blog.



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