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Pope’s Climate Letter is a Radical Attack on the Logic of the Market


Pope’s Climate Letter is a Radical Attack on the Logic of the Market

Steffen Böhm

What makes Pope Francis and his 183-page encyclical so radical isn’t just his call to urgently tackle climate change. It’s the fact he openly and unashamedly goes against the grain of dominant social, economic and environment policies.


This is a non-event. The economy’s owners will make more money today than they did yesterday, and they’ll make more money still tomorrow. The pope did not call for a worldwide revolution. I don’t think this will ever happen, but he could’ve proposed the creation of global, supra-partisan anti-capitalist party that could take control of state structures and use them to dismantle the finance, resource extraction and war-making industries. His encyclical is not a holistic analysis of the interconnections between planet-destroying business sectors and capitalist-captured governments. Just like every other media spectacle this one will be forgotten within 72 hours. When our trajectory toward disaster has been discernible for decades it is not radical to say, “Golly, we should really do something about this!”

While he has obliquely challenged the deep-set dogma of private property, evoking the idea of the commons that was destroyed in the first flush of capitalist expansion, his critique is necessarily limited by the fact that the pope does not want a global political revolution. Because he doesn’t. He’s one of the most famous people on the planet and so to the self-abnegating, celebrity-worshipping masses, this sure is a big deal.

If I’m wrong, in the next months we’ll see Catholics worldwide - spurred by impassioned Sunday homilies - occupying and shutting down the operations of Exxon, Shell, Boeing, Lockheed, etc. In 2016, Church treasure will pour into elections worldwide to oust the candidates selected to uphold global capitalist rule. VATICAN vs. WALL STREET headlines will dominate in a science fiction future where the organization that ran the Inquisition now funds and organizes the alliance of all the diverse anti-corporatist activist groups. I can’t wait!


A truly free market would need to have some conditions to keep it free. Number one is a condition that prevents excessive personal wealth accumulation that leads to control of the market.


Dear Pope Francis - Please bring the predatory capital practice of PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE front and center.


My take was the Pope said the world and it’s resources do not belong to those who can buy it, but to all mankind present and future. Those that have the access and use of those resources have a moral responsibility to adequately compensate for the use of those resources to the commons or restore them for future generations. Pretty crazy a… radical.


As George Orwell remarked: “In an era of universal deceit, anybody telling the truth is labeled a radical”.

Lets thank Pope Francis for telling the truth.


I guess it wouldn’t dawn on you that his words–carrying spiritual conviction–might actually MOVE a sizable percentage of the world’s billion Catholics; nor will they be other than a blessing to all those natural Environmentalists, lovers of the natural world, who have fought on numerous fronts for generations… to protect Pacha Mama and the resources that belong not just to the present but also to future generations.


Thank you for this considerate response. Too many shoot down any good news when there’s so much lousy news going around! This Pope seems genuine in promoting ideals that cross religious lines and get to the heart of some of the issues that matter most. Let’s HOPE his words inspire change.


I have arrived at the same conclusion that the accumulation of wealth must be a subject of discussion. The Zsupreme Court has ruled that one way to do that is through the tax rates the congress has passed. We are a long way from making progress. It might be a good discussion to see if we can agree on what is “excessive income”?
One option is to have high income tax rates on high income. What if income more than 200 times the minimum wage were taxed at 90%. In 1960 the minimum wage was $1.00/hr., and income above $200,000 per year was taxed at a rate of 91% ( that is 100 times the minimum wage). Any thoughts readers?


If this Pope gathers followers and a movement towards equality and keeping the planet viable for life, the jeckls will come out!!!11


In America 96% of all americans make less than $200,000 /yr yet the rules , laws, and justice are NOT proportional.
The 4% currently runs our government and manages the power of the united state.

We have way too many RACE stories, we need more CLASS stories. As a colored or white person making less than $200,000/yr I have a brother on the east cost that also makes less than $200k. We are bonded brothers due to our similar wages…


The Pope’s Encyclical stresses our connected relationship with creation and how we can bring our lives into greater harmony with it. Those that are reaping vast profits off exploitation of our resources will continue to deny the devastation they are culpable of. This letter is a vital reminder to the rest of us that our indifference and apathy has to end and we MUST make our collected voice heard before it is too late.


The emperor has no clothing! Exposing an economic system that is rigged by the 1% and will result in the EXTINCTION of live on earth.

The Pope speaks Truth. So why does it take a voice from a developing country to state the obvious? European popes were too wrapped up in wealth accumiliaion


Ron Paul is arguing for a flat tax. The idea bears considering along with a cap on personal wealth that perhaps distributes the excess wealth equally to all citizens. Like Paul, I object that all tax revenue goes to corrupt politicians who decide what to do with it–More war, more pork, more crony capitalism, bailouts, etc. and the public be damned.

I first heard the flat tax idea from Jerry Brown, a liberal, then from Steve Forbes, a capitalist pig. It has been criticized, but how well it works is like all other laws, dependent on how and who makes the law. If laws are made by oligarchy politicians we can certainly guess the outcome. If made direct democratically, we the people will be the ones that benefit.

More information on direct democracy here:


“Spurred by impassioned Sunday homilies” - aye, there’s the rub - The conservative element of the Church is still deeply entrenched in many local/diocesan, and even higher levels - I don’t expect to hear any “impassioned Sunday homily” coming from the lectern in my church; I expect it will be spun, if mentioned more than briefly, the same way it is more publicly by conservative prelates. Such a “lefty” document as this, and it is one, take it from someone who is a practicing Catholic, though not on board with all the “dogma” (I am pro-choice, e.g.) and who has been paying attention - will get the same response from the media and many lecterns as the “liberation theology” wing of the Church has gotten for decades. LT has been squashed by the Church in the same way lefty politics has been squashed in this country for a long time. The fact that this Pope is making a lot of right wing Catholic politicians “uncomfortable”, to say the least, speaks volumes as to its evolutionary, if not “revolutionary”, character. It doesn’t require that all the actions you mention be taken “in the next months” to be proven so ,

I suspect that you may be one of those who has no use for religion and in other contexts would be taking pot-shots at it. If I am wrong …


Wow! Something nice coming from you about a “patriarchal” religious leader - now THAT’S revolutionary …


How much less than $200K? Shucks, if I ever made close to that I would consider myself rich …
The problem with “class” analysis" is everyone seems to have a different idea as to who falls in what “class” …


A flat tax is regressive - we need to return to more progressive taxation, as we had in the 50’s. I certainly wouldn’t vote for the former …

If how all tax revenue is decided by “corrupt politicians” , how does a “flat tax” remedy that? The answer is to put non-corrupt politicians in office …


The Pope - an antidote to EB? At least with regard to the subject of this encyclical …


I don’t understand why a flat tax is regressive. Please explain.

Progressive taxation has never worked well because corrupt politicians make the tax laws to favor their paymasters of the 1%.

“The answer is to put non-corrupt politicians in office…”
To do that, we would need to have better than a 36% voter turnout.