Warren Buffett wearing a suit and tie: Warren Buffett. Getty Images / Drew Angerer


© Getty Images / Drew Angerer
Warren Buffett. Getty Images / Drew Angerer

  • Pope Francis followed Warren Buffett in arguing that free markets can’t address growing inequality.
  • The pontiff said in a letter to the Catholic Church’s bishops over the weekend that “magic theories” such as trickle-down economics wouldn’t solve all society’s problems.
  • Buffett argued earlier this year that markets rewarded some skills but not others, exacerbating inequality in the absence of government intervention.
  • “It isn’t some diabolical plot or anything,” the billionaire investor told Yahoo Finance, adding, “It’s because of the market system.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Pope Francis echoed Warren Buffett in blaming unfettered capitalism for rising inequality in a letter to the Catholic Church’s bishops titled “Fratelli Tutti” over the weekend.

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“The marketplace, by itself, cannot resolve every problem, however much we are asked to believe this dogma of neoliberal faith,” the

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Liberals love to blame Milton Friedman for the misbehavior of American corporations.

Friedman, a free-market ideologue, published an essay 50 years ago this week in The Times Magazine in which he argued that corporations should not go beyond the letter of the law to combat discrimination or reduce pollution or maintain community institutions. Corporations, he said, have no social responsibilities except the sacred responsibility to make money.

The essay was a big hit with the executive class. Rich people were only too delighted to see selfishness portrayed as a principled stand. Friedman’s creed became the standard justification for corporate callousness. The Business Roundtable, a leading lobby for large companies, declared in 1997 that maximizing profit was the purpose of a corporation.

Critics have been fighting ever since to get corporations to acknowledge broader responsibilities.

It’s the wrong battle. Instead of redefining the role of the corporation, we need to redefine

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