Why I Am A Catholic, Not A Capitalist

(Simulposted at The New Crusade)

If Brewton ever heard about the Social Magisterium (if he is a Catholic,
he should have, but I wouldn't be surprised if he hasn't!) he'd go ballistic. Our Holy Fathers, from His Holiness, Pope Leo XIII to His Holiness, Pope John-Paul II have maintained that whilst a «living wage» may satisfy the demands of charity it does not satisfy the demands of justice. What justice demands is a «just wage», a wage sufficient not just for living, but sufficient that the breadwinner of the family may put aside something for retirement, buy a piece of land upon which to live (and produce food!) and/or buy the tools of a trade by which to become independent. This a capitalist's nightmare! People leaving the wage labour market! How can the capitalist system regulate wages as more and more people become independent? Of course, socialists oppose the idea too, because an independent citizenry with widely distributed property will neither vote socialist nor revolt!

The capitalist's opposition to the just wage is powered by the same motives that have underlain the poor law or welfare laws of the industrial countries since the protestant revolt against Christendom. The idea has always been to maintain a pool of potential low-wage workers. A few years ago, this became obvious when a single mother from New York, by dint of hard work and family support (both good «conservative» values, I should think!) managed to get a college degree and be accepted into graduate school in Iowa. That a person could escape the clutches of the system so enraged one New York legislator that he introduced a bill into the Assembly that would require her to repay all the welfare benefits she had received. Note well, that this woman would raise children unlikely to end up on the welfare rolls and that she, herself, was forever lost to the system! One, and possibly several, minimum wage workers lost to the system was more than this Legislator could stand! (The bill failed of passage.)

I suppose my point is twofold: 1)The Church in the industrialised world has done a poor job of presenting the Social Magisterium and b) To be an obedient Catholic, accepting the Magisterium, is to be anti-capitalist as well as anti-socialist. However, this will never stop capitalists (wrongly called «conservative»in the Anglosphere and accurately «liberal» in Europe!) from accusing Catholics of being socialists!

  • The Conservative Voice

    kkollwitz Wednesday, February 8, 2006 at 10:47:00 AM CST  

    Instead of getting involved with what a just wage should be (and wouldn't it be very different for a working single mom, a single person, a married couple, a rural person, a Manhattanite, a teenager living at home, etc.?), why not just leave the market alone and have the government make up the difference with the Earned Income Tax Credit?

    Anonymous,  Wednesday, April 19, 2006 at 10:24:00 AM CDT  

    Why so much confidence in "The Market"? Can you tell me where is it? I never saw it.

    Anonymous,  Friday, October 31, 2008 at 9:14:00 AM CDT  

    Are there any Catholic Colleges or Universities that teach either business or economics from a Distributist perspective?

    John Médaille Friday, October 31, 2008 at 9:43:00 AM CDT  

    Anon, not very many. I teach a course in the subject at the University of Dallas. St. John's University in New York has such a course. see http://www.stthomas.edu/CathStudies/cst/ for syllabi at various universities which are based on CST.

    Anonymous,  Sunday, June 21, 2009 at 8:18:00 AM CDT  

    Anoymous here again, Any schools teach economics from the Heinrich Pesch school of thought?

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