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The Pitfalls of Modern Capitalism
Catholic Analysis ^ | 24 July 2014 | James Kohn

Posted on 07/24/2014 3:25:34 AM PDT by matthewrobertolson

When Adam Smith put to paper the principles of market systems that Marx would later dismiss as capitalism, people were still dedicated to their religious faiths. Smith -- who was not in Washington at the time (ba-dum-tssshhh) -- knew this, and, even prior to releasing this monumental work, he laid the foundation of what his market system would be based on: “moral sentiments”. Smith was not a relativist, but he believed that morals were commonly held -- after all, Christendom was still holding on, albeit just barely and for dear life.

True, enlightened capitalism, while inferior to distributism, is at least superior to what we have now. Dave Brat, a Catholic and a now-famous Tea Party politician in Virginia, has even written about this. What we have now is a disgrace: capitalism cannot work under America’s current value system.

G. K. Chesterton wrote, “It cannot be too often repeated that what destroyed the Family in the modern world was Capitalism. No doubt it might have been Communism, if Communism had ever had a chance, outside that semi-Mongolian wilderness where it actually flourishes. But, so far as we are concerned, what has broken up households and encouraged divorces, and treated the old domestic virtues with more and more open contempt, is the epoch and power of Capitalism” (Three Foes of the Family).

He’s right. It’s been impure. It's been bad since at least 1929, when Wall Street made clear that it would rather have us suffer the Great Depression than have itself suffer easily-regained stock losses. That's a problem.

Others, including Rick Santorum, are beginning to advocate a more person-centered system, but within the capitalist vein. And this is great. Ven. Fulton J. Sheen wrote, “The third Declaration of Independence remains to be written; namely, the economics in which spiritual men will stand on their own because they can call something their own” (Freedom Under God). Widespread property ownership is good, and we have true capitalism to thank for its relative prevalence today.

But there is little appreciation for this now. Children and their parents only accept what we now call “capitalism” grudgingly, because we are fed it from the trough at a young age. Again, this “capitalism” is not pure, but is merely cronyism with the façade of a free market to keep the children believing they are in control. This desire for control is also prevalent in the theological underpinnings of today’s Christian movements, especially within Pentecostalism -- surely, that’s no coincidence. This is all doomed to fail, obviously, and its political epitome, China the over-builder, is near collapse. Humans must stop micro-managing, attempting to evolve themselves into demi-gods.

Some “conservatives”, unfortunately, argue for this situation’s worsening with cries for libertarianism. What is the root of this? Relativism: just an easy way of saying that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, and however you want. Aleister Crowley’s “do what thou wilt” and Thomas Jefferson’s gleeful “if it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg” are held up as the new mantras. These, of course, are not Christian principles, for Jefferson was a deist and Crowley was an avowed occultist. The truth is that, even if we in our modern, tolerant, happy-clappy mindset don’t find a particular thing to be immoral or downright evil, there is still an objective Judge of all actions: God, Who is all Goodness, Truth and Justice. His views, being immutable by nature, never change. So, what then must He think of modern society’s tendency to drift to thoughtless novelties and the perpetuated anything-goes attitude?

Just look at the results. This godlessness has not worked. It's no surprise, really, that an economy falters when even the family is neglected. The Greek root for "economy" -- oikos -- means "home". So, for example, when artificial contraception was encouraged in the 1960s, what was the result in the 1970s (and onward)? The crooked got rich and an influx of new slaves, while real wages for ordinary folks spiraled downward. Surprise, surprise.

We need God’s grace to structure ourselves. “Christ alone can free man from what enslaves him to evil and selfishness: from the frantic search for material possessions, from the thirst for power and control over others and over things, from the illusion of easy success, from the frenzy of consumerism and hedonism which ultimately destroy the human being,” Pope St. John Paul II said.

People are, thankfully, starting to pay attention. We have had our fill of the antics and the petty partisans. And many have finally woken up to the fact that these have contributed to the culture of death. This is all materialism, we know! Enough of it!

As the economist E. F. Schumacher said, “An attitude to life which seeks fulfillment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth -- in short, materialism -- does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.”

 

I will be releasing several posts on the principles that govern society and economics. This series of posts will likely also, by necessity, plumb the depths of today’s anything-goes Protestant roller coaster, but will stick mostly in the Catholic realm. Christianity, like capitalism, has been trampled by deviant fellows with iron hearts. It is my hope to provide the groundwork necessary to shock modernity into a new Vendean insurgency to reconstitute Christendom and cast the ancient serpent once again into his pit of despair.

Follow James and Catholic Analysis on Twitter, Like Catholic Analysis and Answering Protestants on Facebook, Add Catholic Analysis and Answering Protestants to your Circles on Google+, and Subscribe to James and Catholic Analysis on YouTube.

Wall-Street


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: capitalism; culture; economics; economy; idiocy

1 posted on 07/24/2014 3:25:34 AM PDT by matthewrobertolson
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To: matthewrobertolson
"He’s right. It’s been impure. It's been bad since at least 1929, when Wall Street made clear that it would rather have us suffer the Great Depression than have itself suffer easily-regained stock losses. That's a problem."

Nonsense like this puts in question everything else he has to say. Hoover and FDR act gave us the Great Depression; not Wall Street. Most Wall Street analysts knew the market would recover. Washington had a regulatory solution in search of a problem and found it in the crash.

2 posted on 07/24/2014 3:34:52 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: matthewrobertolson

A bit hard to follow due to its poor construct and contradictions.

Moral vice is not a capitalist trait, it is a human trait.


3 posted on 07/24/2014 3:35:34 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: matthewrobertolson

What a major piece of Catholic propagandist jit


4 posted on 07/24/2014 3:46:24 AM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: matthewrobertolson

If you don’t believe in capitalism, you don’t believe in freedom.

If you don’t believe in freedom, you believe in slavery.

If you believe in slavery, you lose all moral claim to being one of the good guys.

End of story.


5 posted on 07/24/2014 4:03:07 AM PDT by Maceman
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To: matthewrobertolson
Widespread property ownership is good ...

I'd be curious to know the moral or philosophical basis for this statement. I'm wondering if this attitude is part of the problem we're dealing with.

6 posted on 07/24/2014 4:04:25 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("What in the wide, wide world of sports is goin' on here?")
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To: matthewrobertolson
What people denounce as Capitalism is merely the ability of people to make their own economic decisions and profit from their own intelligence, skill and willingness to work.

Free markets have produced wealth beyond the wildest dreams of people like Marx and Engels.

The only societies in which individual freedom is protected are societies with free markets.

As many people have observed, the only way you can have a socialist economy is with a police state enforcement to prevent people from making their own decisions. Farmers had to be literally forced at gun point into the collective farms of the Soviet Union. Armed guards would always be seen standing in front of stores in socialist countries where people waited in line for food and basic necessities.

In every socialist country human suffering and human misery is the result.

I find it disgusting that people who benefit from the wealth, ease and personal freedom of America criticize those who make this country work and praise corrupt politicians and brutal totalitarians.

7 posted on 07/24/2014 4:08:37 AM PDT by detective
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To: Alberta's Child
See Distributism.
8 posted on 07/24/2014 4:13:33 AM PDT by matthewrobertolson
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To: Maceman
If you don’t believe in capitalism, you don’t believe in freedom.

If you don’t believe in freedom, you believe in slavery.

If you believe in slavery, you lose all moral claim to being one of the good guys.

End of story.

I was trying to think of an appropriate response to this piece and then I read your comment and the only thing I could think is: that's absolutely correct.

You are absolutely correct. You said it all in a few short words.

I don't care if someone is a Communist, a Catholic, a Muslim, a professional global warming hoax artist, an overpaid government bureaucrat or an inmate of an insane asylum, if they preach anti-capitalism, they preach slavery.

End of story.

9 posted on 07/24/2014 4:15:43 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: matthewrobertolson
Actually, that makes sense. That principle is much more narrowly focused than a general statement about "property ownership." That Catholic principle is exactly what I had in mind, since it is based on "property" as defined as a means of production. There's a huge difference between "property" as a suburban home with a large mortgage and "property" as an ownership stake in a business, farm, etc.
10 posted on 07/24/2014 4:17:50 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("What in the wide, wide world of sports is goin' on here?")
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To: knarf

Indeed. From the folks who conflated capitalism with the sale of salvation.


11 posted on 07/24/2014 4:18:06 AM PDT by abb ("News reporting is too important to be left to the journalists." Walter Abbott (1950 -))
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To: matthewrobertolson

He seems to be a meddlesome sort of fellow


12 posted on 07/24/2014 4:22:51 AM PDT by bert ((K.E.; N.P.; GOPc.;+12 ..... Obama is public enemy #1)
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To: matthewrobertolson

I am dumber for having attempted to read this article…..


13 posted on 07/24/2014 4:30:58 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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It does seem that most worship the almighty dollar. With enough dollars, you can achieve heaven on earth.


14 posted on 07/24/2014 4:41:02 AM PDT by Ben Ficklin
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To: Alberta's Child; matthewrobertolson
Alberta's Child: "There's a huge difference between "property" as a suburban home with a large mortgage and "property" as an ownership stake in a business, farm, etc."

Pure rubbish.
FRiend, your mind is corrupted by something, and I'd be curious to learn just what that is?

15 posted on 07/24/2014 4:53:49 AM PDT by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective...)
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To: BroJoeK

The thing about the Huge Difference between different types of property is that it is a sliding scale that can be adjusted downward by the government agents who apply it so that eventually, as in Communism, your own life isn’t even on the right side of the Huge Difference between property dividing like.

Bottom line: when someone talks about a Huge Difference between good and bad property, they are supporting the government’s unfettered claims on all property.


16 posted on 07/24/2014 5:03:54 AM PDT by samtheman
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To: matthewrobertolson

Good Grief!

This is all communist prattle.


17 posted on 07/24/2014 5:06:42 AM PDT by Cold Heat (Have you reached your breaking point yet? If not now....then when?)
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To: BroJoeK
A home is not a "means of production," is it?

I've said for a long time that an economic system built around people living in their "own" homes -- usually with large mortgages -- and then traveling somewhere else miles away to work for someone else is an economic system built on sand. So many principles of sound economics are put at risk in this type of scenario.

In a system built on sound economic principles, the only real property ownership involves property that is used as a means of production. The modern idea of "property ownership" that we've come to accept as normal is really a construct of the post-WW2 era.

18 posted on 07/24/2014 5:08:08 AM PDT by Alberta's Child ("What in the wide, wide world of sports is goin' on here?")
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19 posted on 07/24/2014 5:32:21 AM PDT by DJ MacWoW (The Fed Gov is not one ring to rule them all)
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To: matthewrobertolson

Distributism seems to be a wildly optimistic assumption that everybody will be equally competent at managing their share of “the means of production.”
Somehow I doubt it. As my dad used to put it, if everybody started with the same amount of wealth today, in a few years it would be concentrated again in about the same fashion it is now.


20 posted on 07/24/2014 5:46:26 AM PDT by Little Ray (How did I end up in this hand-basket, and why is it getting so hot?)
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To: Alberta's Child
Alberta's Child: "A home is not a "means of production," is it?"

Of course it is, and has always been -- why would you fanaticize or theorize otherwise?
Homes have always been a place of work -- for economic, social & family 'production'.

FRiend, I'm hoping to figure out where you're coming from, and trying not to jump on you too hard, too fast.
So what exactly is this nonsense about making distinctions between various "categories" of property?
How can some property be "good" and others "bad"?
Who, exactly, is going to decide which is which?
Will these Masters-of-Morality be elected, appointed or self-appointed?

Alberta's Child: "an economic system built around people living in their "own" homes -- usually with large mortgages -- and then traveling somewhere else miles away to work for someone else is an economic system built on sand.
So many principles of sound economics are put at risk in this type of scenario."

FRiend, you seem wholly confused.
Do you not "get" that every human being on the face of the planet works "for someone else".
Everyone has a boss, or customers, clients, renters, shareholders, or law enforcement they must satisfy.
Even retirees must submit the proper forms after serving the time required by their contracts.

Indeed, most people have many bosses to satisfy, including their families and communities.
So what exactly is your problem with this?

Alberta's Child: "In a system built on sound economic principles, the only real property ownership involves property that is used as a means of production."

First of all, all property, without exception produces something.
So your notion of somehow distinguishing one type of property from another is an exercise in ridiculousness.
Why do you do it?

Alberta's Child: "The modern idea of 'property ownership' that we've come to accept as normal is really a construct of the post-WW2 era."

More rubbish!
The only thing that's seriously changed is technology.
Basic laws of property ownership are essentially the same today as they've been for 150 years.

So why do you invent such nonsense?

21 posted on 07/24/2014 5:47:51 AM PDT by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective...)
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To: matthewrobertolson

Nobody ever said that Capitalism was perfect or had no flaws.

It is merely the best out of all the other systems in an imperfect world.


22 posted on 07/24/2014 5:55:18 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: matthewrobertolson
True, enlightened capitalism, while inferior to distributism,

Stopped reading right there. Distributism is just Communism with a Catholic face.

Distributism's stated goal, that of as wide a distributed base of property and the means of production, is ONLY achievable in a free market Capitalist system where no artificial monopoly power is granted to anyone.

23 posted on 07/24/2014 6:02:42 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (Tri nornar eg bir. Binde til rota...)
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To: matthewrobertolson

Property ownership?

No one in the United States is allowed to own property. You will never be allowed to do so and to profess it is a downright lie.

The GOVERNMENT owns 100% of all land and property in America. You simply LEASE it on a yearly basis. If you don’t pay your lease (taxes) they will take the property back and you will be without nothing.

Do you have freedom to work and spend the money you make the way you like? No! The government simply LEASES you the right to use the American fiat script (dollars) to purchase. If you don’t pay the lease (income taxes) they will come and take both the script and property from you.

There is no financial freedom in America. It is all controlled by the government on all levels and crony capitalism is rampant while sucking at the teat of the government hog.

IT’S ALL A RIGGED GAME FOR YOU DON’T ACTUALLY OWN ANYTHING!


24 posted on 07/24/2014 7:02:08 AM PDT by DH (Once the tainted finger of government touches anything the rot begins)
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To: matthewrobertolson

Oingo Boingo - Capitalism

There’s nothing wrong with capitalism
There’s nothing wrong with free enterprise
Don’t try to make me feel guilty
I’m so tired of hearing you cry

There’s nothing wrong with making some profit
If you ask, I’ll say it’s just fine
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to live nice
So tired of hearing you whine

About the revolution, bringing down the rich
When was the last time you dug a ditch, baby

If it ain’t one thing, then it’s the other
Any cause that crosses your path
Your heart bleeds for anyone’s brother
I’ve got to tell you, you’re a pain in the ass

You criticize with plenty of vigor
You rationalize everything that you do
With catchy phrases and heavy quotations
And everybody is crazy but you

You’re just a middle class, socialist brat
From a suburban family and you never really had to work
And now you tell me that we’ve got to get back
To the struggling masses, whoever they are

You talk, talk, talk about suffering and pain
Your mouth is bigger than your entire brain
What the hell do you know about suffering and pain?

There’s nothing wrong with capitalism
There’s nothing wrong with free enterprise
Don’t try to make me feel guilty
I’m so tired of hearing you cry

There’s nothing wrong with making some profit
If you ask I’ll say it’s just fine
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to live nice
So tired of hearing you whine

You’re just a middle class, socialist brat
From a suburban family and you never really had to work
And now you tell me that we’ve got to get back
To the struggling masses, whoever they are

You talk, talk, talk about suffering and pain
Your mouth is bigger than your entire brain

There’s nothing wrong with capitalism
There’s nothing wrong with capitalism
There’s nothing wrong with capitalism
There’s nothing wrong with capitalism


25 posted on 07/24/2014 7:03:11 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: matthewrobertolson

On as scale of 1 to 10 where 1 is fascism and 10 is capitalism , where are we now?


26 posted on 07/24/2014 7:10:44 AM PDT by killermosquito (Buffalo, Detroit (and eventually France) is what you get when liberalism runs its course.)
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To: killermosquito

3 or 4.


27 posted on 07/24/2014 7:52:05 AM PDT by matthewrobertolson
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To: killermosquito

Ping


28 posted on 07/26/2014 6:43:10 PM PDT by killermosquito (Buffalo, Detroit (and eventually France) is what you get when liberalism runs its course.)
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