The tragedy of the commons, the Pope, and the system

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Michael Lebowitz:The tragedy of the commons, the Pope, and the system, Nov 23, 2015

Michael Lebowitz: The tragedy of the commons, the Pope, and the system
http://www.straight.com/news/583241/michael-lebowitz-tragedy-commons-pop...

The message of "On Care for our Common Home" is simple: the earth is our commons, it is limited, and we are not managing our commons in a way that is consistent with its sustainability and justice. Indeed, the Encyclical is unequivocal in describing the despoiling of our common home: the pollution, toxic waste, global warming, rising ocean levels, acidification of oceans, deforestation, natural resource depletion, drought, and food and water shortages, et cetera. How is it, the Encyclical asks, that we have "so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years" (53)?

At the core of the problem, it proposes, is Mammon—in particular, the worship of profit. Thus, Pope Francis attributes the destruction of the ecosystem to the search for "quick and easy profit" (36), to the "principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations" (195), to the one-sided "pursuit of financial gain" (56) and, to finance, which "overwhelms the real economy" (109). The Encyclical accordingly calls upon us to "reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals" (190).

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demandside
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

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Quote demandside:

Michael Lebowitz:The tragedy of the commons, the Pope, and the system, Nov 23, 2015

Michael Lebowitz: The tragedy of the commons, the Pope, and the system
http://www.straight.com/news/583241/michael-lebowitz-tragedy-commons-pop...

The message of "On Care for our Common Home" is simple: the earth is our commons, it is limited, and we are not managing our commons in a way that is consistent with its sustainability and justice. Indeed, the Encyclical is unequivocal in describing the despoiling of our common home: the pollution, toxic waste, global warming, rising ocean levels, acidification of oceans, deforestation, natural resource depletion, drought, and food and water shortages, et cetera. How is it, the Encyclical asks, that we have "so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last two hundred years" (53)?

At the core of the problem, it proposes, is Mammon—in particular, the worship of profit. Thus, Pope Francis attributes the destruction of the ecosystem to the search for "quick and easy profit" (36), to the "principle of the maximization of profits, frequently isolated from other considerations" (195), to the one-sided "pursuit of financial gain" (56) and, to finance, which "overwhelms the real economy" (109). The Encyclical accordingly calls upon us to "reject a magical conception of the market, which would suggest that problems can be solved simply by an increase in the profits of companies or individuals" (190).

It's bitterly ironic that the pope made these points without relegitimizing one main solution which the Catholic Church previously denounced and reined in: liberation theology. When the Church did that several decades ago, it merely confirmed, once again, that it's willing to play ball with right-wing, fascist governments, especially in Central and South America, in return for being left alone. After all, if one is taught to believe that one will get his/her reward in an afterlife, there's no reason to militate for immediate socioeconomic progress in this one, is there? Liberation theology was showing a path to (and understanding of) a genuine "Gospel of the Poor" when one of this pope's predecessors and the rest of the Church's power structure in Rome delegitimized it. Will he relegitimize liberation theology? If not, his current remarks ring hollow, as would the remarks of anybody advocating something while simultaneously denouncing the means to bring about the changes they're advocating.

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Ulysses
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

You might like this Nobel Acceptance speech by Harold Pinter. He mentions the genocide Reagan launched on countries that dared embrace liberation theology.

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douglaslee
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

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