Friday, November 25, 2016

The Fundamental Option for the Poor (and State Ruled by Law)

1. The universal destination of goods requires that the poor and marginalized be the focus of concern. The Compendium of the Social Doctrine # 182 tells us that “the preferential option for the poor should be reaffirmed in all its force”. Today we can say that, in general, the whole Church agrees on the importance of opting for the poor. But who are "the poor"?

2. Many texts say that the poor are those who suffer inhuman conditions in terms of

--access to health care
--basic liberties like the freedom to feel secured

3. There are the dimensions of economics, politics, culture. Poverty can mean precarious living. The dictionary will say that to be precarious is to be in a dangerous situation of falling and collapsing. The poor is "precarious" materially or "precarious" in property or "precarious" in health care or "precarious" in inter-human relationship or "precarious" in discrimination, etc. There is a deprivation of resources that are needed for "common good", there is deprivation of respecting human dignity. Pope John Paul II gave a statement on this. "Taking up the Lord's mission as her own, the Church proclaims the Gospel to every man and woman, committing herself to their integral salvation. But with special attention, in a true "preferential option", she turns to those who are in situations of greater weakness, and therefore in greater need. "The poor", in varied states of affliction, are the oppressed, those on the margin of society, the elderly, the sick, the young, any and all who are considered and treated as "the least" (Vita Consecrata #82). 

4. Notice that poverty is not limited to material poverty. The poor are the "least" in society; they are the marginalized. They can include people victimized by discrimination, infants, propertyless, homeless, migrants, refugees, ethnic minorities, etc. Pope John Paul II wrote that the option for the poor "is not limited to material poverty, since it is well known that there are many other forms of poverty, especially in modern society--not only economic but cultural and spiritual poverty as well" (Centesimus annus #57).

5. Opting for the poor is in the center of our faith. The option for the poor "affects the life of each Christian inasmuch as he or she seeks to imitate the life of Christ" (Pope John Paul II, Solicitudo rei socialis # 42). Remember that the Lord Jesus identified himself with the least: "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least, you did for me" (Mt 25/40). In the poor is the presence of Christ.

6. The inspiration here is Jesus himself. He identified himself with the “least”. The Church's love for the poor is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, by the poverty of Jesus and by his attention to the poor (Compendium of the Social Doctrine #184). What we do to the poor we do the Christ. The poor is sign of Christ's presence (Compendium #182).

7. Jesus came to announce--proclaim--the Good News TO THE POOR (SEE Mt 11/5 ; LK 7/22). The Church therefore follows this line by going to the poor and showing to the poor the Good News. The option for the poor is rooted in faith in God who became poor. It "is never exclusive or discriminatory towards other groups" (Centesimus annus #57) but it emphasizes that the poor have the FIRST PLACE in the preoccupation of the disciples of Christ.

8. The option for the poor IS NOT OPTIONAL. It is not something we can set aside. It is a choice we are all called to accept. Pope John Paul II would call the option as primacy of Christian love it is "an option which I defined as a 'special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity.'" (Centesimus annus #11). This means that we put to work the command of love of Christ.

9. The option for the poor demands work that includes changing economic and political structures--structures that produce poverty. Pope John Paul II wrote (in Centesimus annus # 58) that the option for the poor is not just about giving "extra" resources, or what the Pope calls as "the surplus". Option for the poor involves

--helping people  who are "presently excluded or marginalized to enter into the sphere of economic and human development"
--"a change of lifestyles, of models of production and consumption, and of the established structures of power which today govern societies"
--orienting social organization "according to an adequate notion of the common good".

10. Today we do not forget the ecological problem. The option for the poor includes the defense of the environment. Remember that the environment is "common home" for Pope Francis. The question is about the future too with the link between ecology and struggle against poverty.

11. In case we think that we can remove all poverty, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine says no. This will happen only “upon Christ's return” (#183). So for now we have the poor with us and we will be judged according to how we treat the poor.

Pope Francis: on the doctrine "option for the poor"

1. Pope Francis spoke to the PARTICIPANTS IN THE WORLD MEETING OF POPULAR MOVEMENTS in 2014. Let us look at some points in that discourse. 
He reminds his audience that the option for the poor is in the center of the Gospel. The poor, he says, suffer injustice and struggle for it. The struggle is a blessing to humanity. The Pope is courageous. Remember that he is talking to "popular movements" of the landless, the unemployed, those who have no decent homes. 
2. To his audience he says: "You have your feet in the mud, you are up to your elbows in flesh-and-blood reality. Your carry the smell of your neighbourhood, your people, your struggle! We want your voices to be heard – voices that are rarely heard". 
The Pope raises certain issues regarding LAND, HOUSING AND WORK.

     a. RELATED TO LAND IS HUNGER. The Pope mentions the global manipulation of the prices of food. Millions of people suffer and die from hunger while at the same time so much food is thrown away. It is a scandal, says the Pope. "Hunger is criminal, food is an inalienable right". The Pope emphasizes AGRARIAN REFORM to address the question of hunger. “Agrarian reform is", says the Pope, "besides a political necessity, a moral obligation.”
     b. RELATED TO HOUSING is the presence of poor settlements of marginalized people. The Pope then asks that this issue be addressed so that families have housing, so that neighbourhoods have adequate sewage, light, gas, asphalted roads etc.. He calls for working for neighborhoods that they may have schools, hospitals (or clinics). The Pope even adds "sports clubs and all those things that create bonds and unite".
     c. RELATED TO WORK is the problem of unemployment. "There is no worse material poverty than the poverty which does not allow people to earn their bread, which deprives them of the dignity of work". The Pope sees the obession for profit as a root cause of unemployment, "the result of an underlying social choice in favour of an economic system that puts profit above man". In economic profit things are thrown away, workers too. It has become a "throw away culture": "those who cannot be integrated, the excluded, are discarded, the 'leftovers'. This is the throw-away culture".

3. The Pope, after denouncing issues, congratulates his audience for being creative: "so many of you who are excluded workers, the discards of this system, have been INVENTING YOUR OWN WORK with materials that seemed to be devoid of further productive value…" Among his audience are garbage collectos, recyclers, peddlers, dressmakers, tailors, artisans, fishermen, farmworkers, builders, miners, workers excluded from labour rights. The Pope encourages unions...that these people join together and form unions. 
4. The Pope also takes the opportunity to mention the ecological problem. There cannot be land, housing, work if eventually we destroy the planet. "Creation is a gift, it is a present, it is a marvellous gift given to us by God so that we might care for it and use it, always gratefully and always respectfully, for the benefit of everyone". 
5. Human dignity must be re-instated. We cannot continue like this, idolizing money and profits all the time. We cannot stay indifferent always; and this  indifference has been globalized: “Why should I care what happens to others as long as I can defend what’s mine?” The Christian has the basic fundamental option for the poor. 
6. The Pope states: "We Christians have something very lovely, a guide to action, a programme we could call revolutionary. I earnestly recommend that you read it: the Beatitudes in Saint Matthew chapter 5 (cf. Mt 5:3) and in Saint Luke chapter 6 ("And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours' Lk 6/20); and the Last Judgment passage in Saint Matthew chapter 25".  

7. The Pope then suggests that we create "NEW FORMS OF PARTICIPATION" like popular movements marked by moral energy "that springs from including the excluded in the building of a common destiny". Here we see the Pope following the doctrine of option for the poor: make the poor part of our destiny. 

Work for Pope Francis

1. On May 1, 2013, Pope Francis had his "general audience". As we know, the first of May celebrates Work. It is worker's day. So on that May 1, Pope Francis mentioned his insights about work. It was a very short text but it gave a condense idea of the social doctrine of the Church. Let us note some parts of the Pope's text. 
2. First, he spoke about the book of Genesis. He said that God created the human to "subdue" the earth. It did not mean that the human was to exploit blindly the earth. Rather it meant nurturing and protecting earth, caring for it through WORK. The Pope then said: "Work is part of God’s loving plan, we are called to cultivate and care for all the goods of creation and in this way share in the work of creation!" 
3. Then the Pope spoke about the DIGNITY OF WORK. He was thinking especially of many people--young and old--who were unemployed because economics was centered too much on making profits. Work, said the Pope, "is fundamental to the dignity of a person". Work "anoints" the human and makes the human "similar to God, who has worked and still works, who always acts". Thanks to work, the human maintains himself/herself, maintains the family. Work helps contribute to the society. Unfortunately, today, said the Pope, this notion of work is not respected. 
4. If work makes us "similar to God", what do we say about the work conditions of so many laborers in sweat shops and in exploitative conditions? The Pope was seriously worried about “slave labour”. So many are victims of "slave labour". 
5. Pope Francis was optimist, however. He ended his talk by encouraging the youth. He called the youth to be committed to daily duties, to studies, to work. There is no work without effort and engagement of the person. The Pope encouraged the youth to be committed to relationships of friendship, to helping others. To the youth he said: "your future also depends on how you live these precious years of your life. Do not be afraid of commitment, of sacrifice and do not view the future with fear. Keep your hope alive: there is always a light on the horizon".  

What is State Ruled by Law?

1. We read the notion “The ‘State ruled by the Law’” in chapter 8 of the Compendium to the Church Social Doctrine: “In a State ruled by law the power to inflict punishment is correctly entrusted to the Courts” (Com.#402). Notice the importance given to the “courts”—or the judiciary branch of the government. The “state ruled by the law” has something to do with laws of the country. It implies the independence of the judiciary.

2. The document mentions the idea of democracy. The Compendium (#406) cites the encyclical of Pope John Paul II—the Centesimus annus. In the encyclical Pope John II says that the Church values democracy which "ensures the participation of citizens in making political choices". Social members participate by "electing and holding accountable those who govern them, and of replacing them through peaceful means when appropriate This discourages". This helps avoid the formation of small groups in society that will rule and take over power FOR THEIR OWN INTERESTS. Thus the interest of the people of the society are not given respect. True democracy rejects this rule of limited narrow groups. "Authentic democracy is possible only in a State ruled by law, and on the basis of a correct conception of the human person…..’” (#406).

3. Notice that for Pope John Paul II “state ruled by the law” is linked with a “correct conception of the human person”. The “correct conception of the human person” is opposite to the private interests of narrow groups. The “state ruled by law” is opposed to control of power by narrow groups. So “state ruled by law” means taking care of the interests of everyone. This is a safeguard for the fundamental option for the poor. If we have a society that is ruled by a small group that focuses on its own interests, the poor will really have a very precarious life. 

4. Again we see the term “state ruled by law” in another citation. It also mentions Centesimus annus: “The Magisterium recognizes the validity of the principle concerning the division of powers in a State". In the division of powers one power of the government is balanced by other powers. Why? "The law is sovereign, and not the arbitrary will of individuals” (Com.#408). If there are interests dominating society, other areas can come to correct that and "balance" the legal exercise. The division of powers (executive, legislative and judiciary). It is interesting to note that the document mentions also the “other spheres of responsibility”. In other words, there is not just the presence of the three branches, executive, legislative and judiciary. There is also the presence of many other areas—like opinions of jurists, teachings of moral authorities, voice of academicians, groups of farmers, groups of workers, groups of urban poor etc. The law, says the document, is sovereign. Narrow interests do not--should not--dominate society. Everyone should "toe the line" of the law. Again this assures that the voiceless, the marginalized, the poor are given their due places. 

5. Let us take one more part of the document mentioning “state ruled by law”. The document mentions the right to defend against terrorism. The struggle against terrorists includes "respect for human rights and for the principles of a State ruled by law (#514). Nobody in society is to be submitted to terror. Those in power should not just do what they want, they have to consider legal and moral laws.

6. A central idea is that there is a limit to power. Power does not just act arbitrarily. For example, in punishing criminals or in combating terrorists, consideration must be given to legal principles and human rights. In recognizing religion, there should be no favoritism. Power does not exercise all powers. A limit must be assigned to power. Power does not have in itself all the reasons of its actions. There is limit that must impose: the good of everyone and the right of each member. None in society must be submitted to the TYRANNY OF THE ARBITRARY.

7. Our countries have constitutions with the different branches of government, legal rules on crime and penalties, the independence of courts, the sovereignty of the law, international agreements, human rights, moral principles, etc. Constitutions tell us how powers are to be used. The three powers are defined—executive, legislative and judiciary. The executive decides while respecting the regulations issued by the legislative. The courts are given the independence to make decisions on litigations. None of the three is the absolute source of the law. All of them have to “toe the line” of the law. Certain rights of citizens must be respected by public servants. These rights are protected by the constitutions. Power must be guided and limited. Power is not absolute. This is how we can understand “state ruled by law”. 

Church stand

8. So the Social doctrine of the Church is really in line with the whole idea of “state ruled by law”. Yet, there is something “ecclesial” in the stand of the Church. It is not enough to say that people have rights and that they should be protected from the tyranny of the arbitrary. The Church also looks at “the Word”. This is clear. The Church has a particular stand on the relationship between power and rights of people. Let us see what this is.

9. Ok, so we say that the essence of governance is to place power under limits. There are rules and norms that tell power how far it should go. But the norms and rules are themselves derived from a certain power. Let us say that a group of persons write the constitutions and in the constitutions there are limits given to power. But what about the people who write the constitutions? What norms do they obey?

10. In a society there are powers that limit powers. There are powers that say how far rules will go. But these “higher” powers—from where do they get their own powers? If our constitutions tell us the limits of powers, from where do the constitutions get their power to say this?

11. Do we rely on “international laws”? But this begs the question too: from where will international laws get their power. What is the basis of all powers?

12. There is a deeper problem here. When we look at a law, it obeys a higher law. Laws of the country, for example, must refer themselves to the constitutions. If the city council says “put Mr. X to jail”, the constitutions will still have to say whether the decision is correct or not—and whether the rights of the accused are respected. The constitutions are higher than the other laws of the land. A rule justifies itself through a higher law. (If this looks abstract, just think of the computer. The software has “commands” inside. But the commands come from the authors of the software. So the commands of who made the programs for the software are “higher” than the commands in the software.)

13. In our countries, normally the courts are given the work of checking if the laws we make are “constitutional”. If the lawmakers, for example, prohibit certain cyber posting, the courts have the work of checking if the prohibition is constitutional or not. The constitutions are “higher”. If a country makes rules regarding trade and commerce in export-import, international laws have to be considered too. A country does not just make its own regulations on trade without verifying if the regulations conform to international agreements.

14. So what is the “highest” power to say that the laws we make are just or unjust? What is the highest power that can define the limits of all powers? Surely constitutions have to obey something higher. Surely international laws have to obey something higher.

15. Now, let us look at the word “vows”. People in consecrated life do “vows”. The religious brother or sister makes an “oath” witnessed by God. Well, even in secular life, we see people making “vows”. In court a witness is asked to make an oath. In fact, we do see our leaders—in all branches of the government—make oaths. It is through the “vows” and “oaths” that persons agree to respect the laws—especially the higher laws. When a person makes a vow or an oath, the person is obliged to be true to his/her word. The respect given to the vow or oath is crucial—respect for the constitutions, for example, depend on the respect in the oaths. This is important: being true to one’s word. Within each and every member of society is the “requirement” to respect the word. And this is not something that is derived from another law. There is not law telling us to be honest and faithful with our word.

16. In us—humans—is a norm or a rule or a law that serves as foundation for social order. This may not even be written and formulated officially. But it is here, present. The heart of the “state ruled by law” is actually here—it is in the CONSCIENCE of everyone.

17. Well, we can say this easily. But can we agree? In philosophy there are people called “positivists”. “Positivists” say that power is simply “formal”. So a “state ruled by law” is just a formal statement. Positivists would simply accept that a law or rule makes sense only in reference to a hierarchy of laws. Positivists prefer to say that laws simply have a hierarchy. For the positivist, there should be no “morality” or “ethics” that say what is ultimate power. In a state, laws just have to adjust in hierarchy—one law links to another law. This is enough. There is no need to look for the “highest”. So the positivist will say to stop worrying about “the highest”, just follow the existing laws of the country.

18. So, if we accept the positivist's stand, it is enough that a country has constitutions. Ok, but what if there are conflicts with other countries—one set of constitutions do not agree with another set. So the positivist will say: look at international law. In the summit is a kind of international agreement among all countries.

19. Yet, can we really be satisfied with this? Do we just seek for what is effectively global. There are philosophers—let us call them the “naturalists”—who say that the human has a RATIONAL nature which is ultimate. Power takes its ultimate right to exercise itself from the human capacity to reason. There is this idea of the “subject”. The human is a “subject”, source of thinking and deciding and acting. So each and every human is not “better” than others. Each one is “subject” and can think and decide for oneself. So a “state ruled by law” is a state that makes sure that everyone is respected as “subject” and that nobody is discriminated. This looks ok. The Church is more inclined to follow this. But the Church still has something more to say.

20. When power recognizes the equal liberty of each member of society, the Church agrees. Power is not meant to stay as power. Power is for the sake of people. Power should recognize that it has its limits—that it will have to stop somewhere. Power applied must always give in to power in law. In other words, if power is to be applied to people, it must always consider people as “subjects” (and not “objects”). The law demands respect of dignity. So applying power must stop if it is against the respect of people as “subjects”. So the philosophy of "naturalists" look ok. The Church is happy about it. 

21. But do not forget the “vow” or “oath”. There is always the risk of the tyranny of the arbitrary. At any given moment, leaders can go arbitrary and snap into doing what they want in any way they want. They will justify themselves and their regimes. They can always frame laws IN FAVOR OF A NARROW GROUP INTEREST. Also, if they rely on Reason and Rationality, the human is not absolute and cannot see all. Reason, no matter how lucid it tries, cannot be master. There is always the need for “vows” or “oaths”.

22. The Church is not satisfied with simply saying that the human is “subject” and can think and decide for oneself rationally. There is still the fact that the human is IMAGE OF GOD. A state can make its decisions and apply its laws—but never in contradiction with the human as image of God. If the leaders of a country reject this fact, the Church will have to denounce the injustice. In other words, the state has no right. It is not a “state ruled by laws” as envisioned by the Church. The State, if it is to be authentic in its call, must take the "vow" of working for the promotion of the human as sacred and as IMAGE OF GOD. The laws can make mistakes but they are submitted to the vows. Hence whenever the mistakes are recognized they need re-formulation to adjust to the fact of IMAGE OF GOD. 

23. Consider an example. Public politics rest on the famous "trickle down" which means that resources come from above and slowly trickle down--flow--into the bottom. First those on those below. Those on top get the priority of resources. They have better access to resources. The "least" are often ignored in employment, and access to basic needs for the "common good". A small number of persons, however, those on the top, have better chances for work and access to basic needs. This can be legal. So there is an urgent need to move in a different direction. This is what "option for the poor" invites us to do. But to move towards the option for the poor requires a "vow": that we really opt for the poor. It is not a legal vow. It is not a vow for the constitution. It is "higher". 

From Pope Francis

24. Look at what Pope Francis says. He says that the option for the poor is primarily a theological category. It is not just a legal, philosophical or political-economic category. The option for the poor is a DIVINE PREFERENCE. The option for the poor is a “special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity". God became poor to enrich us. (Evangelii gaudium #198). 

25. We can then agree that the state must be rulled by the law. But this rule must "take a vow": that all laws and rules and norms should promote human dignity and the fundamental option for the poor of the society. All laws must be guided by this vow. ""Our preferential option for the poor must mainly translate into a privileged and preferential religious care" (Evangelii gaudium #200). We care for the poor. 

26. Let us end with a citation from Pope Francis:

"....none of us can think we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice: “Spiritual conversion, the intensity of the love of God and neighbour, zeal for justice and peace, the Gospel meaning of the poor and of poverty, are required of everyone”. I fear that these words too may give rise to commentary or discussion with no real practical effect. That being said, I trust in the openness and readiness of all Christians, and I ask you to seek, as a community, creative ways of accepting this renewed call" (Evangelii gaudium #201).

What is "neoliberalism"? An overly simple presentation...but hopefully helpful

1. Neoliberalism is an economic theory that emphasizes that the market is in-charge of all our problems. The market can take care of us. To put it in ways we can understand, neoliberalism says that "business" is what can take care of all our needs and can answer all our problems. Businesses can do this IF NOBODY GETS IN THE WAY, businesses have to be free. Free from what? FREE FROM ANY STATE--OR GOVERNMENT--INTERVENTION. So there should be NO PUBLIC SECTOR, everything should be in the hands of the private sector. It is said that neoliberalism has stimulated what we now call as "globalisation".

2. Neoliberals do not like government intervention. Let businesses free to do what they want to do. Well, a minimum of government help can come is, like the police. Neoliberals want FREE EXCHANGE in businesses on an international level. Rich and poor countries alike can interact with each other freely.

3. Neoliberals do not want labor unions because, they say, labor unions only complicate situations. Businesses are not free if workers make demands. Neoloiberals do not like social protections--like the security social system, or hospital assurance, or calamity welfare. The government is giving these things and the government can serve the public BY TAXATION. Helping the public is too costly and the government should avoid it. Neoliberals want to be free from the burden of taxes. Businesses need to be free from this imposition. The less tax possible...the better. Taxes only put a brake on development. Let the business take care of development. If businesses are doing alright then there is real development.

4. Remember that business have to compete. This competition makes the situation look like a "war". Businesses strive very hard to "conquer" the market and hold a solid position in the market. The government becomes a system IN THE SERVICE OF THE WAR. 

5. The government need not be interested in the service of the public. its work should be to create favorable conditions for the competition of the businesses. Notice how many of our governments are so interested in giant businesses. Of course our governments say that by favoring giants the economy will grow and somewhere along the way the resources from the giants will "trickle down". But this means that our governments allow for businesses that contractualize labor and damage the ecology. Also we see, slowly, the disappearance of public services. In many countries the services that the governments do are taken over by the private businesses. So the poor can only have services if they pay.   

6. Business is focused on one objective alone: maximize profit. Let all businesses maximize their profits and society will benefit. Well, this is the idea. For neoliberals what is most important is to make profit...profit...profit. Maximize profit. Of course, there are "costs" in business. Salaries must be paid, for example. Education can be a cost because it will mean preparing minds AND SPENDING MONEY in preparation for the business world. So as much as possible COSTS MUST BE MINIMIZED. This explains what we see today as "contractualization". Workers are costs, they have to be paid. So neoliberals have thought of a system of reducing the burden of this cost by limiting labor to contracts. In contractualization, a business is liberated from the burden of caring further for workers. Use workers for, say, six months, and dispose of them afterwards. If they get sick or if mothers get pregnant, it is not the worry of the business, six months are finished, goodbye.  

7. Just think about it. First, there will be no more help to the public sector. Government services must be privitized. Impose little taxes. What happens? The private businesses make a lot of money--profits--and people who can pay enjy the services of the businesses. Meanwhile those who are poor have nowhere to go. They have no more government supporting them--all is privatized.

8. Second, businesses require efficiency. It is a competitive world. So all those involved with businesses must be performing efficiently. There is no room for "taking it easy", no room for inefficiency. The poor never have much opportunity to be trained and formed. They cannot even go to higher stages of education. So only the efficient people can participate in business. The poor are marginalized. 

9. Here is another aspect of neoliberalism. Up until the 1970's, much of economies were industrial. If someone wanted to invest money, the money would go to very identifiable enterprises: factories, machineries, and other very concrete services. Profits were re-invested in the same industries. But slowly the world changed and economics took a new turn.

10. Today many business transactions are done BEYOND JUST INVESTMENTS IN INDUSTRIES. Today, as neoliberalism wants it, EVERYTHING MUST BE PUT TO BUSINESS. Now, in this "everything" are things included like: water, food, health, even intellectual properties. So we do not just do business by starting a car making factory, we also do business by MAKING MONEY OUT OF WATER AND FOOD AND HEALTH, ETC. To put it in terms of the Social Doctrine of the Church, today WE CAN DO BUSINESS BY MAKING MONEY OUT OF THE COMMON GOOD. The things that allow people to "bloom" become sources of profit.

11.Remember what we say in the Social Doctrine. Water and food form our common good, they are basic for our "common home". The principle of the "universal destination of goods" tells us that water and food SHOULD BE ACCESSIBLE TO ALL BECAUSE THEY ARE GOD-GIVEN TO ALL. Well, imagine making business out of these! 

12. Neoliberals want that EVERYTHING SHOULD BE SOURCE OF PROFIT. Everything should be "privatized"...they are not "common". So businesses must have ACCESS TO THINGS THAT WILL BE PRIVATIZED, PROFITABLE AND CONSEQUENTLY SOLD AND BOUGHT. Access to water and food will now have to pass through businesses. 

13. We might ask: what about the future? Should we not worry about it? Neoloiberalism focuses on IMMEDIATE PROFIT. So the idea of future is not attractive for neoliberals. Make as much money now. This is why we also see consumerism very strong in our societies today. Maximize profit now, maximize production now, maximize the promotion of the product now, stimulate the consumption of people. 

14. Remember the problem we saw regading the link between economics and ecology. Ecology requies future thinking. Neoliberalism has no time for that. The economic system stands on continuous consumption, buy buy buy OUR PRODUCTS as we produce produce and produce. The planet is limited. Resources are limited. But this is not a concern of neoliberalism. 

15. We read from Pope Francis the invitation to go ecological in economics. This means solid planning. Our future will be the present of the coming generations. But this will mean knowing how to manage well the use of resources, imposing rules in their use...requiring government intervention. But remember neoliberalism does not want this. Neoliberalism states that ONLY THE INDIVIDUAL EXISTS. The social is to be avoided. The social is an obstacle to the development of the individual. (Of course this means "the individual business").

16. Now, businesses can really make a lot of money. To have lots of money is appetizing. Those who hold a lot of money would certainly like to let their fortunes grow and grow IN A CONTINUOUS AND REPEATED WAY. So it is important to look for ways that will make money grow. Here we see the emergence of the "financial system". This is a system in which money is made to grow INDEPENDENTLY OF CONCRETE BUSINESSES. In other words, WE CAN MAKE MONEY OUT OF MONEY. If we before we can make money out of making cars, now we can make money not just out of buying and selling the common good but also BUYING AND SELLING MONEY. Maybe today you have heard of "mutual funds" and "stock investments". Money then is not used for servicing people. Even government central banks enjoy the game of the "money market". What could really be used for public spending becomes an investment to make more money. 

17. What is the human being in neoliberalism? The human being is a "cost". The human being is an obstacle to making profit. Why? The human being asks for salaries. The human being asks for raising the family. The human being asks for health care. The less humans the better the profit. The less we take care of humans the better profits move. This is why neoliberalism wants to remove as much as possible all government services to people. The human must be TRANSFORMED from the living human to the CONSUMERIST. If we can consume, buy, if we make demands BUT WE PAY, then we can be "humans" in terms of "consumerists". 

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