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Thursday, April 05, 2007


Capitalism impoverishes

Pope Benedict appeared to reach out to the anti-globalisation movement yesterday, attacking rich nations for having "plundered and sacked" Africa and other poor regions of the world.

An extract published from his first book since being elected pope highlighted the passionately anti-materialistic and anti-capitalist aspects of his thinking. Unexpectedly, the Pope also approvingly cited Karl Marx and his analysis of contemporary man as a victim of alienation.

"Our style of life [and] the history in which we are involved has stripped them and continues to strip them."
That "continues to strip them" is important; the opening paragraph of the article gives the impression it's all in the past. It most definitely is not.

In the quotes provided, the Pope focuses on Africa, although the indirect quote refers to "other poor regions of the world." Which is most certainly the case; capitalism's plunder is hardly limited to Africa. Nor is it limited to the developing world:

Pope Benedict went on to say that the poor of the developing world were not the only people who could be regarded as victims in need of help from a Good Samaritan. He said narcotics, people-trafficking and sex tourism had "stripped and tormented" many, leaving them "empty even in [a world of] material abundance".
This is the usual "morality" nonsense one expects from the church. It might come as news to the Pope, but poverty in the developed world is a lot bigger problem than narcotics and sex tourism.

It's fine that the Pope is reading and quoting Marx; I'd suggest he also read some Fidel to understand the problems the third-world faces today, and what the solution to those problems might be. "Plundering and sacking" has become a lot more sophisticated in the 21st century, but eternal cycles of debt, privatization of water, and the destruction of indigenous self-supporting agriculture are just as deadly as plain old "plundering and sacking" ever were. Not that there isn't plenty of that "sacking" still going on in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Hat tip to Politics in the Zeros)

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