Neither Truth Nor Charity: The Destructive Influence of a Papal Encyclical

by Mario Rizzo  

Recently Pope Benedict XVI issued a papal letter (“encyclical”) called “Caritas in Veritate” [CV] or “Charity in Truth” which is largely about economic issues relating to globalization. While there have been some commentaries on it, two prominent ones (here and here) in the Wall Street Journal do not reveal how truly bad it is. It may be that the pressures of journalism are such that people read such documents too quickly. I am being charitable.   Continue reading

The Flawed Logic of Bailouts

by Gene Callahan

I am periodically re-astonished at the brilliance of Frédéric Bastiat. His satire “The Candlemaker’s Petition” is perhaps the most brilliant send-up of protectionism ever penned. And, listening to the news on the radio today, I again was made aware of how important but, apparently, difficult to grasp, is Bastiat’s point about “what is seen and what is unseen.”

What brought that point of Bastiat’s to my mind is the recent media focus on the proposed bailout of the US automakers. It is certainly the case that, if the government provides the US automakers with oodles of greenbacks they would not otherwise have had, then the automakers are more likely to make it through this recession. That, in Bastiat’s formulation, is “what is seen.” However, “what is not seen” is all of the other businesses that will fail as a result of that bailout. Continue reading