Wednesday, January 09, 2008


"More and more, in many countries of America, a system known as "neoliberalism" prevails; based on a purely economic conception of the human person, this sytem considers profit and the law of the market as its only parameters, to the detriment of the dignity of and the respect due to individuals and peoples. At times this system has become the ideological justification for certain attitudes and behavior in the social and political spheres leading to the neglect of the weaker members of society. Indeed, the poor are becoming ever more numerous, victims of specific policies and structures which are often unjust."
from Ecclesia in America (No. 56), Report of the Synod of America

In reading through the various websites of the Acton Institute orbit, I have gradually come to the conclusion that the philosophy being expounded is one of total self-centeredness--"me first". I came to the conclusion that were this the dominant philosophy we would very quickly see a restoration of the feudal state in which a dominant minority enslave the majority. Acton's philosophy ignores original sin, and proposes a sort of self-salvation through enterprise, and an unattainable utopian "gospel". It makes me shudder to think of what would happen to the poor that Christ told us we would always have with us. That African conference of the Mont Pelerin Society is the epitome of the problem.

Susanna has unearthed a 1999 article from the newspaper of the Houston Catholic Worker that spells out Neoliberalism in a 17-point definition. The article is titled "Pope John Paul II condemns neoliberalism in Ecclesia in America, as social sin that cries to heaven". It's written by Louise and Mark Zwick, and it opens with the above quote from John Paul II. I'll post some of the points here and give you the link for the rest.


Neoliberalism is known in the United States as neoconservatism. Its Catholic proponents are Fr. John Neuhaus, George Weigel, Michael Novak and Fr. Robert Sirico. Their publications are available through the American Enterprise Institu[t]e, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Acton Institute and First Things magazine.

1. The ideology of the Invisible Hand of the Market. The authority of the market is unchallenged. For many it is higher than God--an 'idolatry of the market' (Centesimus Annus, n.40).

2. Slave wages and unsafe working conditions in poor countries in maquiladoras (factories which belong to companies in the U.S. or other highly developed countries) and in some parts of the United States.

3. It is amazing that "free market" proponents are opposed to big government, but depend on the governments of wealthy nations for their protection in reaping enormous profits at the expense of the poor. Rather than laissez-faire, it is government- supported capitalism for the few.

4. Privatization of all public and state-owned enterprises.

5. Control of women's reproduction by companies, especially maquiladoras. Proof of no pregnancy frequently required.

6. Tax free zones (no help for the local community) and blackballing of union organizers wherever there are maquiladoras-arranged by the U. S. government.

Read the rest...

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