No legitimate spiritual tradition sanctions the abandonment of human responsibility for a just social order in favor of some neo-idolatrous faith in an "invisible hand." We cannot have our well-being at the mercy of a system whose primary energies and motivations come from greed and fear. This is very low-level stuff on which to order a social structure.
Pope Pius XI issued Quadragesimo Anno, subtitled "On Reconstruction of the Social Order" on May 15 of 1931. I quote:
"...the right ordering of economic life cannot be left to a free competition of forces. For from this source, as from a poisoned spring, have originated and spread all the errors of individualist economic teaching. Destroying through forgetfulness or ignorance the social and moral character of economic life, it held that economic life must be considered and treated as altogether free from and independent of public authority, because in the market, i.e., in the free struggle of competitors, it would have a principle of self direction which governs it much more perfectly than would the intervention of any created intellect. But free competition, while justified and certainly useful provided it is kept within certain limits, clearly cannot direct economic life..."
The belief in the unrestricted free market as the best force for ordering society is what is referred to in Christian teaching as idolatry. It is the subservience of the human intellect, created in the image of God, to an inhuman amoral force. This, the faith teaches, is an abandonment of human responsibility, especially our responsibility to the poor.
American free market extremists, who have dominated economic discourse since the Reagan administration, are quite literally worshipping a false god. Look around our country today to see where that leads.
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