27 November 2014, The Tablet

Economist questions Francis’ ideas on helping the poor

A top Indian-born economist questioned the coherence of Pope Francis’ views on global economics, asking whether he has enough policies to bring about change in the lives of the poor.

Jesuit-educated Jagdish Bhagwati, 80, professor of economics and law at Columbia University, was speaking at the London School of Economics on “Poverty and the Pope”.

While he praised Francis for focusing attention on the poor, he said the Argentine viewed poverty through the lens of 1970s Peronism.

“A great deal has happened since then – I wonder if he’s even aware of that. He’s speaking as if he’s the first to arrive at the scene.”

“We need for the Pope to listen to how to address poverty with the appropriate policies,” he said.

Asked about Francis’ criticism of the “trickle-down theory” – that the riches of the wealthiest trickle down to benefit all layers of society – he said he preferred the term “growth”.

Key to helping the poor was economic growth and education rather than reducing inequality, which he said could be responsible for undermining growth.

  Loading ...
Get Instant Access
Subscribe to The Tablet for just £7.99

Subscribe today to take advantage of our introductory offers and enjoy 30 days' access for just £7.99