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Two Different Views on the Curative Powers of the Free Market and of Distributive Justice
by Dr. Emanuel Paparella
2013-12-03 10:22:04
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An intriguing article titled “Haiyan. Holidays. Home” appeared in Ovi magazine on Sunday December 1st. It was co-authored by Professor Michael Czinkota of Georgetown University and a graduate student from the same university Irene Leoncio, a self-described “advocate for Professor Czinkota’s ‘Curative International Marketing’” whose theoretical economic stance at the end of the article is thus described: “Ireene Leoncio is a Georgetown Master international alumna from Manila, Philippines. She is an advocate of Professor Michael Czinkota’s “Curative International Marketing” thought of restoring and developing international economic health may be the next marketing direction. ‘Restoring’ indicates something lost which once was there. ‘Developing’ refers to new issues to be addressed with new tools and frames of reference. ‘Health’ in turn positions the issue as important to overall welfare, which marketing needs to address, resolve and improve. Marketers must deliver joy, pleasure, fulfillment, safety, personal growth, and achieve advancement towards a better society, and do so across borders.” [underlining mine]

The above view immediately brought me back to another rather different view on economic and social justice, the one advanced by Pope Francis only four days before (November 26, 2013) in his Apostolic Exhortation directed to all Catholics and men of good will. Here are two excerpts from it:

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting....

204. We can no longer trust in the unseen forces and the invisible hand of the market. [underlining mine] Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programmes, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded” (Pope Francis)

Obviously, those are two radically different views on how to deliver “joy, pleasure and fulfillment” to the poor and disadvantaged. As the Pope quips “the excluded are still waiting.” For that quip he has already been branded a socialist and it will not take long before he is also branded a communist in some quarters here in the US, even within Catholic circles of the Paul Ryan variety.

I will refrain from a lengthy commentary except to say that the critique of the Pope  misses his main point which is not so much that of the economic argument that “trickle down” will never bring prosperity but rather the severe criticism of the notion that prosperity automatically brings justice and the free markets so called will deliver it.

I have already written plenty on the issue of distributive justice in Ovi magazine and I will probably have more to say in the future since the magazine as a whole is vitally concerned with it and that was indeed one of the reasons I joined it. For the moment I simply wish to place on the Ovi table those two radically different views and let the readers ruminate on it for a while.


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