Like many others, Pope Francis fails to see the good of profit, says Dylan Pahman in this week’s Acton Commentary.
There is a false dichotomy here between profits and poverty. Stock markets measure company value, which is related to profit but not the same, and people can idolize that. But what Francis doesn’t see is that without profit companies go out of business, all of the people who work for them lose their jobs, and poverty grows. As Adam Smith put it, “it is only for the sake of profit that any man employs a capital in the support of industry” in the first place. Without profit there is no industry, and without industry there are no jobs. Profits do not require our ignoring the poor. And the poor will continue to be poor without profits. Rightly understood, concern for the stock market may in fact be concern for the poor on a massive scale.