—Is there any version of capitalism that can be aligned with the social vision of the Church?
—The one who best defined this question that you ask, the answer to this question, was from Saint John Paul II, “Social Market Economy”, he put the word “social”, social market economy into it. He agreed. Today things have gone further, and you can dialogue very well with the economy and achieve steps of understanding or formulas that work well. On the other hand, you cannot have a good dialogue with finances. Finance is gaseous, the economy is concrete. A very important economist in the world, who has a role in the economic world, once told me: “Look, I wanted to have an experience, to have a meeting between economics, humanism and spirituality.” We held a Congress with several sessions and things turned out well, we were able to talk and everything. Time passed, I wanted to repeat the same thing, but with finances, humanism and religiosity and it didn’t work out. The serious problem is when the economy is transformed into finance, which is already elusive. It is one thing to move in the world of economics and another thing to move in the world of finance, which has other rules, and you have to be cautious. An operation that takes place in San Francisco, for example, affects Hong Kong tomorrow.
—Is the financing of the world the cause of the worsening in the distribution of income that has been taking place in the last 30 years?
—I couldn’t say, I couldn’t say that it’s financing, but certainly something economic that excludes more and more. Exclusion, injustice, there are people who starve or are exploited, children are exploited, child labor is very serious.
—Gianni Vattimo, again I quote the Italian philosopher respected by you, wrote: “Paul Krugman criticized the economists’ belief in an absolute truth and held it responsible for the current crisis of capitalism, that is, the economists’ belief in an area in which everyone is rational and the markets work perfectly. Is there a kind of “faith” in science behind the capitalist logic?
-I think so. Now there is a whole current of new economists, they are two women, interesting.
—¿Mazzucato (Mariana), por ejemplo?
—She was here the other day and I congratulated her. There are other women, an Englishwoman too, who are renovating, reviewing the economy and I believe that the economy cannot become fossilized, as it progresses it develops better, the dialogues are also good, you always have to dialogue.
—Again, the mistake is that the water stagnates, in this case that economic thought believes that it has reached the level of irrefutable science?
“As is the case with all human things.” Once you don’t go ahead, “ah, but in religion it’s always the same!” No, religion must continually progress, it must grow in the explicitness of dogmas.
—Like the river of Heraclitus, the same being different?
—As is, different, but in a process, with the roots there, always there.
—One of the problems that Argentina suffers in the current situation is the debt with the International Monetary Fund, and there is a tendency that maintains that there is a difficulty of development of the countries, coincidentally that they resort to loans from the International Monetary Fund, where cause and consequence are confused, without knowing if the aid ends up being really part of the problem, what should be the role of these institutions that were created after the Second World War?
“They have to be independent to do well. Not depending on any line, on any party, on any country, they have to be purely independent and technical in their specialty. When they already depend on international policies, there they lose the wealth of aid and in that way, in forms of submission. One way to submit is debt. It is very curious. And then the ethics in loans. Leaders who ask for loans for their countries, or their institutions, it is valid for the institutions too, you have to see the type of honesty they have and how much goes to the flow for which they requested it, and how much remains parked in the pocket.
—Finance again, as in “The Merchant of Venice”, in the loan the debtor remains a slave to the creditor.
-As it is.
—There are voices within the Catholic flock that maintain that being a liberal and being a Catholic are not compatible. Given the growth of economic liberalism in Argentina in recent years and considering the number of Catholics in the country, could you express yourself on this issue? Specifically, can one be economically liberal and Catholic; Or is there, as some maintain, a basic contradiction?
—Being liberal is a word that has developed. The word liberal was one thing when it began to be used, and another thing today. Liberal is an adjective that is said of a person who is broad, today it is not a clear fixed term that determines you more, it is an attitude of openness. Today it is said to a liberal person different from what was said fifty years ago. The liberalism of fifty years ago has nothing to do with the liberal attitude of today. If we use liberal with an open and dialoguing person, it’s fine, if we use it in a pejorative sense…
—I mean the so-called libertarians, a drift even more orthodox than neoliberalism. Can you be a Catholic and a libertarian at the same time?
—In line with the social market economy, yes.
—That classical liberalism, yes, but what if it were a libertarian?
—Maybe, you have to see what is meant by libertarian, it’s an ambiguous word.
Are you worried about seeing the growth of the right not only in Argentina, but in much of the world?
—It worries me, the exaggerated right, uprooted, is very dangerous.
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