Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Warning to Pope Francis; Socialism is the Tail That Wags the Dog

This a follow-up to my recent article Pope Francis Ignores the Lessons of Collectivism The purpose of this article is to better explain what is meant by my remark that socialism always has unwanted consequences, which is why, no matter how good it sounds, it always fails While Pope Francis may want an altruistic planned economy, what he will get is the unwanted consequences of socialism. In his definitive work on free market economics, The Road to Serfdom: (Text and Documents--The Definitive Edition; The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 2) Hayek explains that stated goal by Pope Francis of a planned economy to combat poverty, suppresses the wants and needs of the individual in the name of the collective; which by definition is the tyranny the Pope Francis attributes to the free market (or as Hayek would say, "the road to serfdom").

The “social goal,” or “common purpose,” for which society is to be organized is usually vaguely described as the “common good,” the “general welfare,” or the “general interest.” It does not need much reflection to see that these terms have no sufficiently definite meaning to determine a particular course of action. The welfare and the happiness of millions cannot be measured on a single scale of less and more. The welfare of a people, like the happiness of a man, depends on a great many things that can be provided in an infinite variety of combinations. It cannot be adequately expressed as a single end, but only as a hierarchy of ends, a comprehensive scale of values in which every need of every person is given its place. To direct all our activities according to a single plan presupposes that every one of our needs is given its rank in an order of values which must be complete enough to make it possible to decide among all the different courses which the planner has to choose.

One avenue often used by those that propose a planned economy is freedom from economic matters. However it is how we approach our economic issues that gives us the freedom to pursue our individual wants and needs. When the government controls these economic issues, they will in essence define what wants and needs you our allowed to pursue.

The so-called economic freedom which the planners promise us means precisely that we are to be relieved of the necessity of solving our own economic problems and that the bitter choices which this often involves are to be made for us. Since under modern conditions we are for almost everything dependent on means which our fellow-men provide, economic planning would involve direction of almost the whole of our life. There is hardly an aspect of it, from our primary needs to our relations with our family and friends, from the nature of our work to the use of our leisure, over which the planner would not exercise his “conscious control.”


While the Pope Francis stated his belief that a planned economy free from global economic system,  would lead politicians to guarantee all citizens "dignified work, education and health care." Pope Francis Attacks 'Tyranny' of Unfettered Capitalism, 'Idolatory of Money , it is the individuals dignity that will all but disappear in with the collective state; work, education and healthcare will be one size fits all with the wants and needs of the odd man out is purposely ignored.   

Conditions will be without exception what in some measure they inevitably are in a large organization—or rather worse, because there will be no possibility of escape. We shall no longer be free to be rational or efficient only when and where we think it worth while; we shall all have to conform to the standards which the planning authority must fix in order to simplify its task. To make this immense task manageable, it will have to reduce the diversity of human capacities and inclinations to a few categories of readily interchangeable units and deliberately to disregard minor personal differences.

So much for dignified work, education and healthcare

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