I liked R.R. Reno’s summary of the parallel, seemingly contradictory effects of global capitalism on societies:
Because global capitalism often destroys traditional forms of social organization, it tends to make people more vulnerable, especially the poor, even when they’re less poor than they used to be. It’s foolish to imagine that ready availability of TVs in the slums of Buenos Aires makes up for the loss of the finely woven social safety net of a traditional village, however impoverished. Yes, people move there because they rightly see the modern market economy as the source for greater material well-being. But they also rightly want to be an integral part of a larger society in which their voices are heard and needs addressed.
By my reckoning, it’s this vulnerability—the danger of becoming an anonymous, throw-away person in a global economic machine—that Pope Francis wants us to see. He urges that we “eliminate the structural causes of poverty.” That’s been tried, without success. More germane to the social problem is his call for “small daily acts of solidarity.” We may not be able to win a war on poverty. But we can share our lives—and our society—with the poor.
His whole interpretation of the populism characterizing Pope Francis’ Evangelium Gaudium is interesting.
Hat tip: Peter Leithart