Caritatis in Veritate Post 4 – Profit and the Common Good

Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty. [Caritatis in Veritate §21]

It seems to me that Pope Benedict is understating things or perhaps being charitable in his expression: by definition when profit becomes the exclusive goal, it has become the ultimate end already, and consequently cannot have the common good in view at all, except perhaps as a “nice to have” as long as it doesn’t get in the way of real business. At that point any interest in advancing the common good in any serious sense has been dashed to bits, and Belloc’s servile state has arrived; Walmart (to choose an obvious whipping boy, though they are absolutely not unique in this respect) has no compelling interest in advancing its employees’ economic status at all.

As far as I can tell we are way past the hypothetical scenario suggested by Benedict’s language; we are living in an era now where profit is the exclusive goal, where the only wealth that matters is the wealth of those who already have it, and where it’s perfectly fine (according to the system) for the rest of us to “just get by.”

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Posted in Benedict XVI, Magisterium, Rerum Novarum

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