By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
9/23/2013 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
In western capitalism, the fiduciary responsibility of a corporate director is to maximize shareholder value. Generally, this means the maximization of profits with the aim of increasing share price and paying dividends. Often left out of this formula is the primacy of the human person over capital. Pope Francis tackled this during his Mass on the island of Sardinia on Sunday.
CAGLIARI, SARDINIA (Catholic Online) - Speaking before two crowds, one a smaller group of 20,000 and later celebrating Mass for 300,000, Pope Francis decried the evils of capitalism run amok as chronically unemployed workers complained that they could not get work or that the work they had was dangerous and paid poorly.
One unemployed man told Pope Francis with a quiver in his voice that unemployment "oppresses you and wears you out to the depths of your soul."
Unemployment, low pay, and a lack of opportunity are common in the western world now as capitalist systems recover from the Great Recession. Although the Great Recession has ended for Wall Street with the return of record profits, Main Street continues to struggle. Various reports in the U.S. suggest middle class incomes are improving slightly, other data suggests they are flat.
The poor are facing the greatest challenge as large employers shelter before Obamacare cutting hours and laying off workers. Calls to increase the minimum wage in various states are gaining volume. California will already raise its wages in 2014.
The problem has two roots. The first is the insatiable focus on profits over people. The second is the use of government to punish businesses and redistribute wealth. Both solutions create an adversarial situation where the two sides, owners and workers, will be in constant conflict.
The solution presented by the Holy Father is to make the person the center of responsibility. Imagine if boards of directors focused on their employees rather than profit margins.
Before we decry disaster and complain about the inevitable loss of investment capital that would occur if fiduciary focus were to change, we should add the caveat that profits are not evil, nor should they be obliterated by policy or taxes. Profits are essential and are the right of the business that earns them.
Yet, there is such a thing as enough.
Obamacare is providing a dramatic example in the U.S. Although Obamacare threatens disaster for small and medium-sized businesses that operate with low margins, some large corporations are plotting to throw their employees to the market. Already, hundreds of thousands of retirees (see IBM) and thousands of other workers are being told that their companies would rather pay the annual penalty than provide health insurance for their workers.
Meanwhile, they continue to generate profits and pay bonuses.
The problem is that people are being viewed as a resource to be used -a number on a spreadsheet, instead of being valued as human persons.
Pope Francis said at Mass, "We don't want this globalized economic system which does us so much harm. Men and women have to be at the center as God wants, not money. The world has become an idolator of this god called money."
As Christians, we are permitted to take the profits we need and deserve, but we should not violate our conscience by reducing our employees to virtual serfdom by means of low wages, unpaid benefits, and inhuman toil. Workers too have the right to the fruits of their labor.
It is time for the market economy to embrace the message of the dignity of every human person offered by Christianity and to espouse Christian ethics in business. The idolatry of the spreadsheet over the worker is the camel which cannot pass through the eye of the needle.
Likewise, communism and socialism, with their virtual atheism and worship of the state and use of the worker as a means, are rocky grounds along the path to the Gate.
Rather, a different path exists. We truly do live in a world of blessing and plenty. Treasures that are shared are doubled by sharing, just as money circulating through an economy stimulates it. Let us learn to think of our workers first and take profits yes, but not at the expense of humanity.
We must find this better way together, or we will all be doomed.
Click here to learn about our Saint Michael the Archangel conference this Nov 1-3!
By Atarah Haely (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
In life we set goals. Sometimes we're heading straight toward them and sometimes we fall prey to negative thoughts that can cause us to give up. Discouraging thoughts, doubting our abilities and negative mindsets often lead us nowhere but you want in on a little ... continue reading
By Tony Magliano
For the sake of our salvation, we need to pay serious attention, and act with purpose, to what Jesus teaches here in Matthew's Gospel: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will ... continue reading
By Catholic News Agency
Global efforts to fight poverty protect the environment and the common thread of promoting human dignity must connect all make decisions about the economy, a Holy See representative told a United Nations body this week. New York City (CNA) - "In our efforts to ... continue reading
By Linky C. (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Pope Francis delivered a homily on one of his favorite topics Friday morning during a mass at the Saint Martha residence. The homily focused on how the devil's temptations never wane. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Pope Francis' recent homily in the chapel at the ... continue reading
By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News
After Pope Francis' visit as a "missionary of mercy," Cuba is now in a prime moment to move forward in its relationship with the Church and work for the common good, said a representative of an aid group that works in the country. Havana, Cuba (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading
By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Pope Francis, speaking at Mass Friday morning, warned the faithful about the ways of Satan. "The evil one conceals himself, and comes with his very polite friends, knocking at the door, asking permission, but then moves in and spends time with the man and, ... continue reading
By Hannah Marfil (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)
Life struggles are inevitable but to look at them more than just a bump in the road is like putting rocks in your backpack before a hike. God doesn't want that - our journey to Him is meant to shape us in a way He planned for us. Little by little, we achieve victories ... continue reading
By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News
Family rescues us from indifference and loneliness and teaches us the essentials of life, Pope Francis said - adding that as the family of God, the Church has the same role and must evaluate how to live this out. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - "Like Saint ... continue reading
By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
12-year-old Julia Bruzzese, who has been experiencing symptoms of Lyme disease, suffered from sudden paralysis that doctors are still unable to explain. However, following a blessing from Pope Francis, the young girl seems to be healing. NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) ... continue reading
By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News
Pope Francis formally opened the synod of bishops Sunday, telling participants that the union between a man and woman is the foundation of God's plan for the family, and a solution to the many forms of loneliness in today's world. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading