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back to article The Pope predicted economic Armageddon back in 1985

Pope Benedict predicted the current economic apocolypse back in 1985, an Italian politician has declared, suggesting that the Vatican may be the one global institution likely to make a killing out of Mammon's downfall. The claim that His Holiness foresaw the sub-prime crisis, the collapse of the investment banks and the seizing …

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Alert

Oh not again!

Look people, are our memories really that bad now? Once and for all, we go through these financial "self-corrections" every decade or so. I'm not that old at 38, but even I remember mid 70's recession, the 80s, then the one in the 90s, then again early at the start of this century.

We have computers that store bucket loads of stats, yet every decade or so we get the press and so called "Profits of Doom" banging on about how this one couldn't have been foreseen, oh why didn't we see it!

We could have, but we just couldn't be arsed and plus you don't sell copy with good news!

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Coat

Damn this hangover

"multiheaded whores"

I thought that said "multithreaded" for a minute.

Mine's the one with a Cell programming manual in the pocket.

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Coat

Oh I see

"Today we need a maximum of specialized economic understanding, but also a maximum of ethos so that specialized economic understanding may enter the service of the right goals"

specialized economic understanding = Rich Men

maximum of ethos = Camels through Eye of Needle

the right goals = Kingdom of Heaven

Bless me father for I have bankrupted a country for a piece of silver in a hedge fund.

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Boffin

Zwanzig:Zwanzig vision

If anyone deserves credit (no pun intended) for predicting ethical problems in the market it is one A. Smith esq of Kirkcaldy, Fife, who had worked all this out when the US of A was only months old. I hope the erstwhile Cardinal Ratzinger put him on his bibliography list...

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Black Helicopters

Lessons from history

I expect the Vatican learned a thing or two about dodgy finance when they lost $274 million dollars in the 1970s and 1980s by handing over their money to a bunch of Masons and Mafia money launderers.

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Flame

in two minds about this

On the one hand, the dig at "Calvinism" is a cheap shot. Sounds like the sort of FUD that Microsoft levels against Open Source. I'm not a Protestant, but I understand that their "work ethic" is one thing that separates them from Catholics, so it seems like the pope is trying to demonise Protestants by portraying this self-same "work ethic" as the root of all evil. On the other hand, he did bring in a few extra deadly sins a couple years back. One of them was "being obscenely rich". The love of money being the root of all evil, and all that. On balance, though, I'm not exactly inclined to give the Good Father a free pass on this sort of pontificating. Too many gilded beams within his own eye-(shot). Not someone I'd feel comfortable with inviting around for tea.

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Thumb Up

Title

Oh knock it off, el Pope. Everyone knows that our current economic system has to self-correct every now and then. Even if one of these corrections causes a series of changes to prevent it happening again, something else will give next time.

Predicting an economic crash in 20 years-ish is like predicting that some talentless celebrity will flash some harbles and make the papers sometime in December.

It has naff all to do with ethics, it's about greed (a natural human instinct without which we'd have become extinct) and the fact that economists keep making the monumentally stupid assumption that there are infinite resources available

Now, stop trying to use it to recruit more minions and go back to failing miserably to share your wealth with the poor, covering up for your priests, and causing misery by badmouthing condoms. You're really not qualified for much else.

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Getting in early

I predict that the markets will eventually recover and enter a better period, after which they will collapse again.

Mark my words.

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Is the Pope a Christian

Or did he just forget to call for an end to usury (at any percentage)?

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Boffin

Capitalism not to blame

Capitalism has no blame here. Banks hire credit agencies so that they don't have to give loans to people with low credit ratings. The problem started when leading Democrat politicians, lawyers and "grassroots" organisations such as ACORN took banks to court to force them to lend money and give mortgages to people who couldn't afford them by arguing that the banks were "discriminating against the poor". Banks like Citibank lost in court and other banks were subject to intimidation tactics by ACORN members and related radical organisers. It's no surprise to find that Barack Obama was a lawyer in one of these cases and he still thinks lending money to the poor was a good idea at the time. He also took over $120,000 from Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Just go look at the huge amount of evidence proving that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's misfortunes were known about years ago and that leading Democrats covered up the problems and were offered high paid jobs for their "services".

The media won't mention any of this of course as they beatify Obama before he even lifts his hand to miraculously save the world from problems that people like him created.

Was Capitalism to blame? No. We have Radical Leftism and government intrustion to blame. The market was going along swimmingly well without both.

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Paris Hilton

Plaguarism?

I seem to recall some tale about building a house on sand. He's the rep on Earth but to nick the Boss's (or is that Bosses'......or Bos'ses' ?) idea smacks of copyright theft ......

@Anon Coward (earlier today) - Max Weber coined the term Protestant Work Ethic when considering the remarkable tendency of Southern European Catholics to adopt an ethic of hard work following migration to the USA, rather than the alleged laid-back indolence premised on finding a priest and receiving absolution just before popping-off thus by-passing any need to build up a stock of credit to ensure entry into Heaven. So it actually applies to a Catholic, sans eternal incentive, rather than a Prod-estant since the latter is not going to get into the 'proper' one anyway, just some disinfectant-smelling, magnolia-painted waiting room......good enough for the Calvanists, trying to build a Heaven on Earth....magnolia? MAGNOLIA! To damned good for 'em.

No, wait, something's (or is that some'things?) not right.......granting credit to souls that cannot (or is that can't ?) afford it.....no wonder the Pontif spake, bloody Calvanists, trying to hijack catholic strategies. Serious danger of confusing a throughly catholic ethical stance with the spirit of capitalism (or is that Calvanism? Or capital'ism?)........after all absolution is just a hand-wave away and even a Prod can recant. Phew, saved in the nick of time.

Paris - cos she's (or is that sh'e's, or she is?) obscenely rich.

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ethics

Isn't it amazing that we have a separate classification for 'business ethics', they even teach classes in it.

Something is either ethical or it isn't, making something ethical because 'it's the business doing it not me' is the sort of rank hypocrisy to cover outright greed that gets us into trouble everytime. Ranks along with only following orders as an excuse.

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Anonymous Coward

@Obama Smith

That's funny, because over here in the UK, it was a deregulated banking industry borrowing money it didn't have to lend to people who couldn't pay it back because of some crazy idea that the crippling interest rates and the option of repossessing all their homes would make the whole thing profitable and safe. Throw in a vast herd of people happy to borrow many times their salaries and piss away the money, and loony lefty interference isn't required as far as I can see.

It's all right though - the government are borrowing money they don't have to (allegedly) encourage those banks to lend some more to some really broke people struggling through a recession. How can you ask a near-bankrupt bank you've just propped up with borrowed money* to make some more inadvisable loans to consumers and small businesses that are even less wealthy than they were the last time that turned out to be a bad idea?

Obviously I'm not an economist. As far as I can see what we're doing is sucking wealth out of the future to create liquidity now. Trouble is, it seems to me the problem is that we've been doing that for a while and we're entering the period we sucked the value out of in the past few years, always somehow assuming that value would be created somehow. Well, nature abhors a vaccuum but it's not always pretty when it fills one.

* By the way, on an unrelated rant, I'm getting tired of people talking about the government bailing out banks with our money so that they can lend it back to us. It's worse than that - in what sense was the money in the bank ever anything other than ours? In fact we've had money extorted under penalty of loss of liberty in the name of the social good and pumped into the banking system because they pissed away all our money in an attempt to screw the vulnerable on a scale that was just a little too vast, to the point where it basically collapsed under its own weight. It's nothing new we're being screwed here ... it's just now the smaller, less powerful group of people who've been screwing us are getting screwed by the bankers too.

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Stop

Way to go Nostradamus

It is capitalism. Economic meltdowns are only a matter of when, NEVER IF. Just because the system is acting in a way you do not like does not mean the system is not working. I'm going to go ahead and say that there will be another economic meltdown in the future (if the powers that be don't force communism or socialism on us).

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J
Coat

@Oh not again!

"Profits of Doom"

That is one well placed misspell...

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Anonymous Coward

@Paul

What is really frightening is that there are a lot of people who are pretty senior in many financial companies who have never even heard of business ethics, let alone taken a lesson in. It's not the people you might imagine, it tends to be the whizz kids who rose through the ranks having taken a non-related degree, or just having come from being a teller or back office worker. This leaves you with the problem that many people are focused on profit as the bottom line and not thinking about the consequences of how they make the money and what it might do to the society around them.

Anon, as I may work for one of said institutions...

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Anonymous Coward

@Wade Burchette

> Just because the system is acting in a way you do not like does not mean the system is not working.

Mmm.... apply that thinking to the car industry. Manufacturers sell you a car with undamped suspension and when the car isn't lurching maniacally all over the road like a pogo-ing crack-fiend, your head is cannoning off the roof and the stars you see are a consequence of your brain being tenderised in your skull. You don't like it, but it doesn't mean the system isn't working. Hey, it was designed by fucking *professionals*.

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Anonymous Coward

Das Kapital-ism

"...go ahead and say that there will be another economic meltdown in the future (if the powers that be don't force communism or socialism on us)..."

And why should Communism or Socialism insulate us from economic disaster? The Soviet Union was, of course, recognised as a leader in the economic world before the untimely dismantling of its systems.

Don't mix politics up with economics: economics (aka the effects of human greed on the negotiated transfer of goods and services) is going to bite you in the bum whatever your politics.

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Tim
Black Helicopters

The best way to ensure a prediction happens...

...make it happen!

I wonder did he benefit from the recession...

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