A New York Times piece has an interesting quote:
[Pope] Francis has such a strong sense of urgency “because he has been on the front lines with real people, not just numbers and abstract ideas,” Mr. Schneck said. “That real-life experience of working with the most marginalized in Argentina has been the source of his inspiration as pontiff.”Is it simply that Francis prefers an anecdotal approach than one involving measuring? Is it simply that he hasn't met anybody whose life was improved by capitalism? (I doubt he's buddy-buddy with any Chinese entrepreneurs or Indian middle class workers. Meanwhile, even rock star like Bono, hardly conservative, defends capitalism.)
I'm not sure why "numbers" are counterpoised with "real people" as if numbers of real people lifted from poverty is abstract because it involves a number. Maybe unless you can put a name and face with a number... I guess it's the same impetus of a pro-life group posting pictures of aborted babies on billboards -- i.e. that unless you see it, you don't believe it.