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BY Tom Hoopes

| Posted 10/11/08 at 7:00 AM

 

“Ironically, like ‘safe sex,’ safe speculation has proved to be an illusion.”

So concludes Angelo Matera of Godspy in his post “Thinking Catholic: European leaders blame crisis on ‘speculative capitalism.’”

He says Europeans were suckers for easy subprime mortgage profits, just like Americans, and with the same result. But he credits Europe’s “Catholic roots” with giving Europeans a better handle on the crisis.

For Matera, French President Nicolas Sarkozy summed up the different responses when he said: “We want a capitalism of entrepreneurs. We don’t want speculators.”

Matera hears an echo of Pope John Paul II in that statement, and quotes the 1991 encyclical Centesimus Annus at length to try to place it.

Writes the Godspy editor: “Like sex for pleasure alone, rather than within the generative context of marriage, making money through speculation — gambling on price increases caused by luck, mass psychology, or some other arbitrary reason — is a form of mutual exploitation, a zero-sum game where winners gain at the expense of losers. In real business, profit is the result of something else; of ‘creating a customer,’ in the words of the late, great management guru, Peter Drucker.”

— Tom Hoopes