During his pontificate Pope Francis has remarked on several economic issues in many proclamations and documents. Specifically, Pope Francis holds free market accountable for world’s poverty and inequality in distribution of income. The objectives of this article are the following: (1) To highlight the founding principles of free market, (2) to focus on Pope’s insistence to relate several economic problems in the world to free market, (3) to provide factual and empirical evidence that neutralizes Pope Francis’s account of dark side of the free market principles.
Data sources are World Bank, United Nations Development Program and Heritage Foundation. Correlation and scattered diagram techniques are used to measure the relationship between different variables.
Empirical results relating poverty, human development, innovative entrepreneurship and income inequality to free market show the following; (a) Global poverty rate measured in poverty gap and headcount (% of population) have declined since 1990 through 2019. (b) Human Development Index (HDI) estimated by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Economic Freedom Index (EFI) estimated by the Heritage Foundation are highly positively correlated. (c) Global Innovation Index (GII estimated by World Intellectual Property (WIPO) and Economic Freedom Index are highly positively related. (d) Gini Coefficient, a measure of the degree of income inequality estimated by the World Bank, and economic freedom index are insignificantly negatively correlated.