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Monday, November 28, 2011

Comments

LJ

The challenge for those seeking social justice is to create a society in which everyone is a “have” — everyone can from his labor or other sources of income generate sufficient wealth to meet his moral obligations to himself and others — while ensuring that those whose work is economically more valuable receive their due, in proportion to its greater economic value.

The challenge as well, then, is to quantify that before you even talk about a system or a modification of an existing system to meet that standard. Moreover, the standard cannot be an absolute in monetary terms because of the sliding value of money itself. And, of course, the temptation is also to put the standard itself on a sliding scale of need and want, wherein "wants" become seen as needs particularly in a hyper-consumption society pumped up with advertising.

A tricky business indeed in a world with heavy doses of greed and envy.

Mark Brumley

Yes, but that's the world in which we live. I understand your concern. The distinction between real needs and only apparent needs or wants is crucial. Likewise, it is important that we foster an economy in which as much as possible people are enabled to care for their own needs--doing for themselves rather than having others "do for" them.

At the same time, I would rather risk going beyond needs to supply wants than to risk ignoring needs for fear of winding up addressing wants. I think it better to risk more "doing for" than is necessary than to risk doing less "doing for" than is necessary.

LJ

Point taken, Mark. But I have to step back, while sympathetic in one sense with the original theme of the Occupy movement, I first have serious disagreement with their whole characterization "1%" and "99%". If we are discussing America and the rest of the western democracies, those proportions have little to do with what they were talking about. Catchy symbols, no doubt, but when we listened to the far left side of the protest we quickly realized that we had to wedge every CEO of every corporate entity, every business owner, etc. into that narrow 1% and it became a joke, and simply an old style labor vs management argument.

This is where we have to take stock and look out at the big picture. What is considered poverty in America is wealth in many parts of the world. And yet when we look out on the entire world, we witness in stark relief the great ugly truth of the starvation of nations, and that is in most if not all cases, the absolute vicious "leadership" that sits on immediate wealth and wealth of resources, in a true equation of 1% vs. 99%, brutally enforced.

It causes us to realize as well that the source and root of these problems and any milder problems we may have in our western societies is fundamentally a moral one, not a systemic one per se.

We are discussing the issue, so the presumption is that there can be some "system" or some revamping of the current state of affairs to come closer to achieving what you have pointed out is the true meaning of "social justice." I would suggest that if we are talking about a "system" in any sort of model form the political component must necessarily factor that understanding of the nature of humanity.

I think one can be cynical, better yet a realist, without being a Calvinist. What does history teach us, going right back to Moses and the people of Israel? We can count on people to forget God and head off into every kind of immorality and vice over time. Well then, as the Church, we must then consider our mission and set up the model that would maximize our freedom and opportunity to carry out that mission. What is that? Maximize religious liberty, personal liberty and minimize government. What about economics? Whether you call it capitalism or free markets or nothing at all, economics is what happens between people. Rule of law protects people from robbery and fraud. Who deals with economic disparity? Why we do, the Church. That is part of our mission regardless of the government. In a truly free society we can do that without interference.

How do you tweak what we have now? Here's a thought. Perhaps the G20 could get together and muster the courage to change the economies of the west from debt based currency to reclaiming the authority to print money out of thin air from private banking interests to the governments of each nation. Then, the wealth of the nations would be with the people of the nations, which is only right because they are being held up as surety for the debts of the governments anyway. This would really address the underlying issue of the Occupy movement, diverting the proceeds of the work and business of the nation from the true 1%, the usurers, back into the nation, the people.

It is a scary proposition. American presidents have been assassinated for trying it but if the entire west did it at one time, there would be too many heads of state to take down. The usury that is crippling all of the economies would not control those economies and reap the cream from the top anymore. Perhaps it might put some of the money-changers out of work for awhile, but I think that if we wish to talk about the fundamental immorality of our economic systems that is where you start.

The real economy of a nation is the people and the natural resources that surround them, all God-given, not created by bankers. In a recession or depression those resources and the people remain the same as they did the day before, the year before. So what then causes a recession? A shortage of liquidity, that is all. Who controls that today? The true 1%, the usurers. Take it out of their hands and recessions are a thing of the past, as are booms, busts and bubbles.

The Occupy people had the right instinct at first, but they didn't know who to talk to and what to say.

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