I was flying from Ohio to the Palm Beach International Airport yesterday and was reading an AP article in the Columbus Dispatch by Victor Simpson that I just had to post on. This AP article is dated by a couple of days now, but I think this is still relevant and current. The title of the article is “Capitalism, Marxism twin evils, Benedict says.” The general statement by the Pontiff is that BOTH Marxism and unbridled Capitalism are responsible for Latin America’s “problems.” First I would like to state that the title of the article belies the body. The teaser title suggests that both Capitalism and Marxism are “twin evils” which means to me both equally bad (otherwise the word twin is totally inappropriate within the context of the writer’s thesis.)
However based on this article and other broad swipes at Capitalism by the Vatican, I have to believe that the Pope is in fact equating the “dark side” of Marxism and Capitalism as the title of this article suggests, not just “unbridled” Capitalism. This is in my opinion an institutional attack on Capitalism in parlance with justifiable criticism of Marxism. Sure there are offenders on any “institutional” level, but lets talk the theory here not the abuse by a few. I am sure the Pope would insist on the same approach when discussing Catholicism as a religion and would like to leave off the table the digression of many of its priests with young boys and what I will indeed call an institutional effort to cover it up. Man is basically evil by nature (selfish) and not inherently good and honest. That is why I have said that I’ll believe that the Catholic Church is forthright and stepping up to the plate on the Pedophilia issue when the Vatican issues some wholesale excommunications and defrocks a lot of these priests. I have seen I think one defrocked and zero excommunications, so thus I feel the Catholic Church is institutionally complicit here.
But let me proceed………. There is no way on earth to equate Capitalism and Marxism in the same breath let alone the same thesis. Every time you point to the “results” of Marxism, the hard core Marxists defend their philosophy by claiming that it wasn’t implemented correctly. That would not be most times, but every time. But in a comparative analysis Capitalism has always triumphed over Marxism. You see Marxism doesn’t work outside of the classroom, which is why apart from Stalinists and College Professors, there are precious few theoretical Marxists any longer.
Let’s analyze this on the basis of the East/West euphemism. You have often heard of the Western World as a reference to Capitalism and Eastern World as a reference to Marxism. [Although there is a 3rd world movement among a group of countries that consider themselves to be “non-aligned” but who have demonstrated over time that they are more Socialist in sympathy if not Marxists, and their economies largely reflect it.] But it is clear that no matter how you carve the world, even in the most nuanced ways, Marxism fails and Capitalism prevails victorious. One of the most pronounced examples is Germany. Post war Germany was divided for years prior to the re-unification. The East of course was a bastion of poverty and economic failure while the West of Germany was one of the most prosperous countries in the western world. You could in those days leap all the way deep into East Germany and land in a city called Berlin and it too (as the capital city of Germany) was divided (by a wall) between the East and West. The West prospered significantly and the East was an economic basket case. People even surrendered their lives to escape from the East to the West. Now that the country is unified significant economic progress has suddenly erupted in even the Eastern portions of that country.
You remember the U.S.S.R. (Soviet Russia) before it collapsed under the weight of its own economic failure. This became so pronounced and such a great hardship on the people that even the old line Communists couldn’t hold the confederation together. As a result there is no longer a USSR and their satellite countries went their own direction and embraced Capitalism resulting in their best economic performance since WWII. Yes there is a “conversion cost” of the change because of the years of abuse through Marxism, but it is sort of a “pay me now or pay me later” dilemma.
Let’s take Korea. The North has continued to embrace Stalinist Marxism and the South has embraced Capitalism and as a result of fifty years of this you have a very prosperous and even economic powerhouse in the South (with the commensurate standard of living) and total economic failure even famine in the North.
In the Americas you have the champion of Capitalism (the USA) and the most entrenched hold out for Marxism in the world (Cuba). Cuba is a country that is trapped in the antiquated structure of the 40’s and has made zero progress economically since then and has even suffered immensely under Marxism. Even Castro himself when he got ill bypassed their “internationally acclaimed” medical system and brought in a Physician from Spain to do the heavy lifting. Cuba’s doctors make less than their cab drivers transporting tourists from Capitalist countries.
Even within the USA, history has proven that as we alter our tax and welfare laws in favor of Capitalism and Growth that our economy prospers and as we impose confiscatory practices of the state in this area the economy retards requiring new tax cuts to return the country to prosperity and create jobs for the workforce.
So in short I take offense that the Pope or Mr. Simpson suggests that Capitalism and Marxism are both parallel in their evilness. Capitalism has delivered the greatest good to the greatest numbers throughout the annals of history. Theoreticians time would be better spent trying to figure how to refine and implement Capitalism throughout the world if they really are concerned about world suffering. As for the Pope, I would have him focus on the breach of faith of his priesthood to demonstrate his bona fides before he starts preaching to the world on matters that he doesn’t apparently understand.