"Of Jane Fonda and Pope Francis,"
A Teachable Moment For the Market System
There is an opportunity for a teaching moment about the virtues of the market, but more important is questioning misrepresentation.
In his Dec. 17 Global View "Of Jane Fonda and Pope Francis," Bret Stephens criticizes the pontiff's statement about a "naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system." Now, the flaws in the anti-market view can be overlooked from those whose concern is leading their flock. What is impermissible is misrepresentation of those who justify the market. They do not trust in the goodness of those wielding power, but along with Adam Smith acknowledge their concern for self-interest. Nor do they view the current system (of crony capitalism) as correct, but denounce its over-regulation. The support for the market is instead based on the value of choice over coercion, spontaneous order, the improvement of the human spirit by reward for merit, as well as the historic and modern results.
So there is an opportunity for a teaching moment about the virtues of the market, but more important is questioning misrepresentation, whether by professional economists or religionists.
Dec. 27, 2013 3:04 p.m. ET