XIV ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY
THE VOCATION AND MISSION OF THE FAMILY
IN THE CHURCH AND THE CONTEMPORARY WORLD
Economic Challenge. 14.
“The concrete aspects of family life are closely connected with economic matters. Many point out that, to this day, the family can easily suffer from a variety of things which make it vulnerable. Among the most important problems are those related to low wages, unemployment, economic insecurity, lack of decent work and a secure position at work, human trafficking and slavery.”
“The following effects of economic inequity are reflected in a particularly acute manner in the family: growth is impeded; a home is missing; couples do not wish to have children; children find it difficult to study and become independent; and a calm planning for the future is precluded. Pope Francis insists that a change in perception by everyone in society is necessary to overcome this situation: "Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality" (EG, 204). Renewed solidarity between generations begins with attending to the poor of this generation, before those of future generations, giving particular attention to family needs.”
The girls of a Christian school in Chibok, Nigeria who were kidnapped by Boko Haram last year were not kidnapped because they were poor or their parents didn’t have jobs or they lacked an education. Hitler didn’t imprison and gas Jews because either he or they were poor. Stalin didn’t send East Europeans to the Gulag because they were poor, uneducated, or lacked resources. North Koreans aren’t starving to death because they are poor. Christian Armenians didn’t die on a death march a hundred years ago because either they or the Turks were poor. No, it is a power based philosophy, not poverty. And the very entities the Pope assumes will make the decisions for the distribution of wealth are the entities which killed 100 million of their own citizens in the 20th century.
The United States has 123 programs to transfer wealth from the employed and comfortable to the low income and unemployed, and a total of 2,293 Federal assistance programs. If the Pope were correct, there would be no poverty in the United States where we “distribute” $22,000 a year to each low income person.
If the Pope were correct about secure income solving the world’s problem (or bringing the masses to Jesus, which is why we have a Pope) why are there unhappy, mentally ill, dysfunctional, suicidal, imprisoned and wealthy celebrities, CEOs, doctors and politicians? Back to the drawing board, sir. Economic growth solves more poverty than socialist programs with a Christian veneer.
In 1820, the vast majority of people lived in extreme poverty and only a tiny elite enjoyed higher standards of living. Economic growth over the last 200 years completely transformed our world, and poverty fell continuously over the last two centuries. This is even more remarkable when we consider that the population increased 7-fold over the same time (which in itself is a consequence of increasing living standards and decreasing mortality – especially of infants and children – around the world). In a world without economic growth, an increase in the population would result in less and less income for everyone, and a 7-fold increase would have surely resulted in a world in which everyone is extremely poor. . .
The first of the Millenium Development Goals set by the UN was to halve the population living in absolute poverty between 1990 and 2015. Rapid economic growth meant that this goal – arguably the most important – was achieved (5 years ahead of time) in 2010.
It was rapid economic growth not redistribution of wealth that achieved that.