Letter: Pope's wrong to blame capitalism

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Basilica of

Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady Aparecida in Aparecida, Brazil. The shrine attracts millions each year and honors the dark-skinned Virgin of Aparecida, who is considered the patron saint of Brazil. (July 24, 2013) (Credit: Getty Images)

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Pope Francis is clearly out of his area of expertise when he advises attacking capitalism to fight poverty and inequality ["War on poverty," News, Nov. 27].

Free market capitalism has historically been the surest path to prosperity and a strong middle class. In economies that lack strong property rights, the rule of law and free markets, poverty has been a natural outcome.

For example, the former Soviet Union, India and China were impoverished and lacked a middle class until their evolution toward free market capitalism. Most of Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South America are fascist-style command economies with expansive poverty and enormous inequality in wealth.

The United States, which produced enormous wealth under free market capitalism during its first two centuries, has more recently experienced greater inequality and poverty due to its movement away from free markets. The best example is the Federal Reserve and its artificial control over the supply of money and interest rates. Artificially taking interest rates to near zero harms the middle class and prudent savers, only to reward the elite upper class that makes money from financial assets.

The pope should more wisely direct God's wrath on fascism, fiat currency and the Federal Reserve.

Clifford Sondock, Jericho

Editor's note: The writer is the president of the Land Use Institute, a free-market policy organization.

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