Marx, the Bishop, lambastes "capitalist greed"

German Bishop Reinhard Marx has lashed out at executive salary hikes of up to 30 per cent while US bishops have called upon global food giant McDonald's to push for higher wages for low paid farmworkers labouring for its suppliers.

Ecumenical News International reports that Bishop Marx who chairs the German Bishops Commission for Societal and Social Matters described such salary increases as "audacious" while companies are plunged into bankruptcy and jobs are cut.

"We are more and more moving away from a social market economy to capitalism, where only the yields count and where those people who have only capital yields in mind are rewarded," the bishop told the newspaper after returning from the general assembly of the German Bishops' Conference in Fulda.

"The other goals of companies, like for example generating jobs, are not kept in mind anymore. That's a mistake," Bishop Marx said.

"Pure capitalism without social responsibility: the other Marx from Trier, could even still be proven right. And that I would find awful," he added, referring to socialist philosopher and economist Karl Marx (pictured), who was born in Trier in 1818.

Meanwhile, echoing similar concerns, the US Catholic Bishops Conference has joined a growing number of religious groups calling on McDonald's Corporation to push for higher wages for workers who pick tomatoes for the fast-food giant, according to an International Herald Tribune report.

The bishops urged McDonald's to work with the Florida agricultural industry and the farmworker advocacy group, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, to reach an agreement similar to one reached last year with Louisville-based Yum! Brands, the parent of Pizza Hut and KFC, after a four-year boycott.

In a letter to McDonald's CEO, James Skinner, New York Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio acknowledged that McDonald's and other fast-food companies do not directly control farmworker wages.

However, he said that "with your substantial purchasing power, you can insist that your produce suppliers meet high ethical standards in how they treat their workers."

German Bishop Marx criticises 'capitalist greed' of top managers (Ecumenical News International, 2/10/06)
Catholic bishops ask McDonald's to push for higher farmworker wages (International Herald Tribune, 3/10/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Bishop Reinhard Marx (Catholic-Hierarchy
Trier diocese
Karl Marx (Wikipedia)
US Conference of Catholic Bishops
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio (Catholic-Hierarchy)
McDonald's Corporation

'Have it workers' way' - U.S. bishops to McDonald's: Insist on better wages, working conditions (Catholic Online, 2/10/06)

4 Oct 2006