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FUMARE

Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Oh, not again!






Yes, Fumare Readers. It is yet another installment of "Why Capitalism is incompatible with Catholicism." (Law Dog, this is your cue to start barking).


A couple of books have recently been published on this important topic.


One is Alan Carlson's book Third Ways. An excellent read, especially for those who say Distributivism is a nice idea but has no practical answers. This book will set the record straight. It is part of ISI's new Culture of Enterprise initiative which looks at what is necessary for a competitive AND humane economy. Very good stuff here.


And most recently published, is Beyond Capitialism and Socialism. This is another sign that Catholic orthodox thought is taking on the big elephant in the room: Capitalism. My hunch is that Benedict XVI is going to take up this issue in greater detail in his next encyclical - yet another sign . . .







Writing from the perspective of Catholic Social Doctrine, the twelve Catholics who take their stand for an ideal Beyond Capitalism and Socialism are offering an escape to modern man from the horns of the dliemma upon which he is hanging - and upon which he was hung by the makers of the modern world from centuries ago. Rejecting both the collectivist and statist approach to worker security and welfare caretaking, and the even more oppressive laissez-faire conception of modern capitalism in which what's good for business is good for the world, the authors introduce Distributism, Solidarism, and Corporatism as three schools of effectively the same Social Catholic approach to socio-economic life and organization. Offering historical background, principled and theoretical arguments, and some initial ventures into practical suggestions for implementation of this "third way" beyond capitalism and socialism, the essays contained in this volume will engage, inspire, and perhaps even provoke and aggravate as they flesh out a picture of independent owners and yeoman farmers, small business associations, and economic life subortinated to the genuine good of man rather than vice versa. What they wil not do is fail to shatter the left vs. right paradigm into which all modern thinking about economics and society has been forced.





Finally, who can name the author of the following quote:


"From an economic point of view alone, the Church is just as much opposed to capitalism as it is to communism."


UPDATE: Advocatus Militaris (on the right) makes a subtle but powerful case for recognizing the merits of distributivism to the avowed capitalist, Law Dog (on the left).

Far from being strictly about one's livelihood, Distributism is about freedom. It rests on the fact of the family and seeks human flourishing as the common good has always been understood by the Church. To this end, it ultimately seeks freedom--both from overbearing big government and overbearing big business. As much as possible, people should be free to do and live as they wish without being beholden to someone else. In our modern world it has become extremely difficult, but there are basic principles that Chesterton and Belloc lay out that one may apply to current day situations. My wish is to shorten rather than prolong this comment, so suffice it to say, Distributist ideas first must be read and second must be examined and applied. In other words, a healthy debate on the issues should be had rather than it being dismissed as a "quaint relic" of the past.

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