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  1. postfuturum
    March 28, 2015

    What are the pitfalls of socialism? I mean unless you are referring to large-scale enormous big gov marxism-leninism I don’t really see what’s wrong with just plain old social ownership of the means of production – which is essentially the basis/core of all socialist thought.

    Reply
    1. Gabriel Sanchez
      March 28, 2015

      The problem is that the mechanism of redistribution presupposes a centralized authority which would, on the basis if criteria which have not been clarified, change the ownership structure of society. So that’s one problem.

      A second problem is that the model you seem to favor rules out the possibility of individuals holding large, or even total, ownership stakes in businesses they may start; it seems like they would have to surrender ownership once their firm hit a certain scope or scale benchmark. So, again, you are re-centralizing authority, this time to remove property and redistribute it, presumably without just compensation.

      And finally, who gains ownership of what? Can a law firm with three successful attorneys invest in and start, say, a liquor store on the side? Or must they remain vested in their firm alone? This would seem to confine ownership and capital to particular enterprises with no possibility for cross-investment.

      Reply
      1. postfuturum
        March 28, 2015

        If you start a firm, you would own it according to how much you have contributed to the company itself, but every person in the company would have some ownership in the means of production, thus, they would be able to make decisions democratically or by some other form of decision-making. How would you bring this society about? The workers would over take the means of production and socialize it. I don’t see how this would need a central authority. It would be enforced by the workers themselves. The goal is small-scale, local, and democratic(thought this could be up to the individuals living in their respective areas/municipalities)
        I don’t see what’s wrong with this.

        “And finally, who gains ownership of what? Can a law firm with three successful attorneys invest in and start, say, a liquor store on the side? Or must they remain vested in their firm alone?”
        This would be decided by the community. The goal is to be flexible.

        Reply
  2. postfuturum
    March 28, 2015

    I also don’t see how egalitarianism is entirely unbiblical or uncatholic. I feel like an aristocracy fosters division.

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    1. Gabriel Sanchez
      March 28, 2015

      Because no two people are born perfectly equal. All of us have been given different talents.

      Reply
      1. postfuturum
        March 28, 2015

        Ah, so you are attacking a strawman of egalitarianism. Egalitarianism does not assume that each person is born equally in the sense of them being equal in talents. Egalitarianism is just the belief that people are ontologically equal in the sense of them having a common father(God). It also believes that it is far better that each person has some say in political processes.

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        1. Gabriel Sanchez
          March 28, 2015

          That’s a fairly weak form of egalitarianism then because even a liberal order treats all citizens as having equal standing in the eyes of the law. Also, you haven’t made the case that it is “far better that each person has some say in the political process.” In fact, that is directly at odds with what St. Thomas Aquinas and many other thinkers in the Church have argued on the basis of sound philosophy.

          Reply
          1. postfuturum
            March 28, 2015

            Great. Aquinas isn’t infallible. Literally not everything has to stem from Aquinas. There is nothing wrong with being inspired by him, but it is possible that he can be wrong.

            Also, what’s wrong with that type of view? Each person is political – it is intrinsic to his nature. Governmental institutions are a natural extension of human society, therefore, to deprive the individual of his natural inclination for politics is unjust. It dehumanizes him and alienates him.

          2. Hieronymus Blackstone
            March 29, 2015

            Maybe you’re not taking your cues from Aristotle and Thomas when you say there is something inherently political about human nature, but I don’t think that they mean by “political” what you appear to mean by that word. You seem to take that word to mean something like the capacity for and tendency to self-govern, a capacity and tendency that would be quashed by less participatory regimes than the one you favor.

            But even if “political” meant something as limited as that, that political capacity could be an intrinsic part of our nature without all persons being able to, needing to, or wanting to participate in it equally. Accordingly, less participatory regimes do not necessarily do violence to the human person, “dehumaniz[ing] him and alienat[ing] him.”

          3. Gabriel Sanchez
            March 29, 2015

            Aquinas doesn’t just hold it. So, too, do numerous other important theologians in the Catholic tradition, to say nothing of numerous popes. To offer but one example, Pope Pius VI, in Quare Lacrymae, refers specifically to the “more excellent monarchical regime” — more excellent than the democracy which replaced it during the French Revolution, that is.

            http://thejosias.com/2015/01/29/pius-vi-quare-lacrymae/

            He cites Bossuet, Politique tirée des propres paroles de l’Ecriture sainte, Book II, article 1 to support the point, and Bossuet wasn’t saying anything new.

            The “Aquinas isn’t infallible…” defense is cheap. No, he isn’t infallible; but you haven’t shown that he is wrong, either. This is a constant theme with your responses. You know you are operating off the magisterial reservation and yet you have offered no defense. Your position, like your friend on Twitter’s, has no more magisterial support than the sort of liberalism advocated by the Acton Institute, John Zmirak, Tom Woods, etc. All of you are dissenters in the end.

  3. postfuturum
    March 28, 2015

    Also, you still haven’t really given a good argument as to how Corporatism is a “third way” between liberal capitalism and egalitarian socialism. Corporatism keeps two of the main attributes of capitalism, thus, it can not be anti-capitalist truly.

    Reply
    1. Gabriel Sanchez
      March 28, 2015

      I don’t know if I need to make that argument. The second you see property, ownership, or capital involved, you scream, “Capitalism!” And yet all of these elements of a just economic order are contemplated by the social magisterium.

      Reply
      1. postfuturum
        March 28, 2015

        How is it not capitalism? Please make an argument. I’m not trying to be annoying. I just do not see how something that retains the *fundamental* aspects of capitalism can somehow *not* be capitalism due to the fact that it was ordained by the social magisterium. Look, I don’t like disagreeing with CST, I just can’t see how what they are providing is a viable & moral alternative to capitalism. Sorry if I’ve been rude.

        Reply
        1. Gabriel Sanchez
          March 28, 2015

          To you, anything other than a quasi-communistic order where ownership is forcibly dispersed across the populace is “capitalism.” If that is so, than corporatism is capitalism, but only because you are stretching the term beyond its originally intended meaning.

          Also, you have never once attempted to show that what you are advocating can find any home within the the magisterium. I think it’s because you realize that it cannot.

          Reply
          1. postfuturum
            March 28, 2015

            How do you define capitalism? Capitalism has always been defined as private ownership of the means of production + markets. I’m not advocating for forcing it upon the populace. You could still own your farm fully. As long as you don’t use it to exploit someone. It’s a form of social private property, in a way.

          2. Gabriel Sanchez
            March 28, 2015

            “Exploitation” here is an empty category. So long as the farmer is paying his farmhands a just wage, then there is no exploitation under CST. A just wage, however, will vary across time, geographic locales, industry, etc. Corporatism contemplates the existence of just wages.

          3. postfuturum
            March 28, 2015

            Exploitation is taking the fruits of the workers labor and selling them and receiving a profit more than the labourer himself. Exploitation is intrinsic to capitalism.

            Corporatism keeps the institution of wage labor, private property (capitalism) intact – just under a different name.

          4. Gabriel Sanchez
            March 28, 2015

            Replace “corporatism” with “CST” and you are also perfectly correct. Your category of “exploitation” is a foreign import and has no basis here.

          5. postfuturum
            March 28, 2015

            >Foreign import
            How so? It’s usually used in that way.

          6. Gabriel Sanchez
            March 28, 2015

            I mean it is a foreign import into CST. CST speaks against exploitation, but it doesn’t mean what you take it to mean. Defrauding a laborer his just wages is exploitation. Simply employing him is not.

          7. postfuturum
            March 28, 2015

            It’s not the employing part that’s wrong. It’s the gaining on labour which you yourself have not actually done.

  4. Owen White
    March 28, 2015

    Neither Marx, nor any foundational socialist thinker, considered law firms or liquor stores as having anything to do with the means of production. Neither produce anything.

    Reply
    1. Gabriel Sanchez
      March 28, 2015

      Then what accounts for services, because both a liquor store and a lawyer is providing a service; it may not be a material thing, but neither can be produced without inputs like labor and capital.

      Reply
      1. Owen White
        March 29, 2015

        Yes and various 19th century socialists have differing views with regard to the “ownership” of services, and some ignore the question completely. I was simply responding to the assertion above that “every person in the company would have some ownership in the means of production.” Marx gave very particular reasons for why the proletariat would come from industry and not from more traditional forms of servile/service labor. Agriculture was closer to industry in certain respects, but yet distinct in other respects. In Marx, and in most 19th century socialism, the key to understanding early and mid modern economies was the relationship between finance, commodities, and labor. The Labor Theory of Value in Marx is very much tied to Marx’s understanding of commodities and commodity markets. This is where labor theory and class consciousness is most distinct, which is one key reason why Marx and many other socialists believed the proletariat was uniquely tied to industrial trades and economies. Things, by Marx’s own admission, get less clear with service sorts of jobs. And it is debated to what extent these forms of labor were on his radar. Many feminists and feminist influenced Marxists have pointed out that it never seems to have occurred to Marx that he exploited his brilliant daughter Eleanor Marx who served as his unpaid secretary for decades.

        In any event, its not a simple thing to take an idea/thesis that was intended for industrial trades and economies, and apply it to every instance of human labor.

        Reply
        1. Atychi
          March 29, 2015

          To follow where Owen is going:

          True, there is very little in Marx (or 19th-century socialists) that has much to say regarding service-oriented jobs. We are consumerist economy here in America 2015. So what does one say with regards to the Wal-Mart worker or the Arby’s employee in Marxist terms? Well, most who wish to be pro-worker but who bluch at Marx argue that an element of Marxism has to be “translated” into a global economy. But I’ve never found their reading too convincing. For example, from their gloss, the very economic premise of an Arby’s is that you can feed a family for pretty cheap. So the laborer (full-time, mind you; part-time labor is another argument completely) can, in fact, taste the fruits of his labor (sure, he may get fat and be mal-nutritioned . . .). See also Wal Mart in this regard. It’s barely true (again, especially when considering shady part-time status), but Marx has little to say. However, pulling our heads out of our collective American asses when it comes to all things global (and this is the real stage for Marxist critique–the global economy), then things become much trickier. Sure a Wal Mart employee can afford the sweet LED “45 TV, but will the child/female laborer in the East be able to do so? No. So our service/consumerist model is actually already problematic in this case. I think CST, because it is grounded in Christ, spells out an answe5r pretty clearly–which is that we really ought to stop exploiting our brothers and sisters in the East to fill our desires.

          So when we look at liquor stores, the answer is far more complicated because of global glass plants, the corn which is harvested not in the US, the sand which is melted, etc, etc. A law firm is a different matter, I think. One would hope that a lawyer who owns the law firm would make sure all of his employees would be represented pro bono (to taste the fruit of one’s labors). If he doesn’t, well, then, see the Pater Noster.

          TL; DNR. Owen is right above. But let’s not problematize to let the owners of capital off the hook. The reach of capital is legion and so should be duly tracked to figure out an ethical reading of CST for Americans. I am Orthodox and find great value in and follow CST, as long as it’s understood outside of our current satanic Tea-party Catholic understanding: i.e., I would hope that we could all agree to defend unions, protect workers, not fetishize 401ks, etc., etc.

          Reply
          1. Ted
            March 29, 2015

            I think CST, because it is grounded in Christ, spells out an answe5r pretty clearly–which is that we really ought to stop exploiting our brothers and sisters in the East to fill our desires.

            You have a multi-edged problem here, beginning with anything that is extra-CSE (Catholic Social-Economic, that is, anything that CST can practically control or influence) and finding its full flower in global capitalism or at least globalist trade.

            Beginning last, it is precisely our exploiting our brothers and sisters in the East which has driven the recent explosive growth of the Chinese and other Eastern middle classes. Debate among yourselves what financial condition is most appropriate for them, beginning with peasant squalor and increasing their wealth from there.

            Perhaps, though, we should actively arrange our wage structure so that it is measurably to markedly higher than lower wage competitors such as our Eastern brethren. In a free market globalist economy, though, their lower cost products and services, if anywhere approaching the quality of ours, then siphons off market share from (American) workers temporarily being paid better, leaving them ultimately not paid at all. A cursory glance shows this condition obtains widely at the current time.

            Well, then, we restrict trade so that there can be no siphoning off of market share by exploitative Eastern or other labor, even quasi-slave labor. In that case, the home markets are protected, (American) workers are paid better (more justly), but the same loss of market share then obtains abroad. Certainly, the Eastern/lower paids have other markets than America, but America is arguably the largest, and removing it then removes all wages from a certain percentage of the remote Easterns/lower paids. Perhaps they are not Catholic and, because of that, it doesn’t matter. Perhaps not.

            I’m not sure how, if CST is ostensibly to apply globally, one can effectively apply it globally prior to a global condition of CSE, which ist to say, political-economics dominated on the ground by Catholic control. The balloon keeps stubbornly squirting out in all sorts of different places, the water stubbornly seeks its own level.

            Perhaps simply winning hearts and minds is a more effective first step than trying to tinker with a global ecology – yes, that’s what a global economy is, an organic global ecology – directly.

          2. Atychi
            March 29, 2015

            “I’m not sure how, if CST is ostensibly to apply globally, one can effectively apply it globally prior to a global condition of CSE, which ist to say, political-economics dominated on the ground by Catholic control.”
            ***I think we’re in agreement for the most part. If one is a multi-national corporation, if one is a senator/congressman/President, then, in a representative government with Catholics voters galore, one ought to have to respond. Because Christ is universal, our concerns are always local and universal. So we say ‘No’ to China’s one-child policy and forced abortions (oh, wait . . .), to their forced child labor (oh, wait . . .). I could keep going, as you know. Where are the Christians in this voting republic? Again, I’m not Catholic but find Infinite wisdom in CST and the Popes who comment on it (none of which seems to imply Tea-Party Catholicism). So, because the Pope is the Vicar of Christ, and because the Church is led by the Holy Spirit and is the Body of Christ, I’m not sure this is a “jurisdictional thing.” The suffering of Asian brothers and sisters are our crimes if we attempt to do nothing. No amount of casuistry will alleviate this basic ethical, eschatological fact.

          3. Ted
            March 29, 2015

            The short answer here is that CST tacitly contemplates a prior finite Catholic Christendom within the borders of which its influence holds sway border to border. CSE can only effectively obtain within that previously defined territory, so that territory must obviously be expanded (or renewed) first.

  5. Ted
    March 28, 2015

    In these discussions of exploitation are we referring to conscripted or slave labor? If not, I’ve missed the argument where some are unilaterally required to nurture the fruits of others’ wombs on the latter’s terms as a fundamental economic principle; perhaps that tacit assumption needs to be yanked out into the sunlight.

    Labor is employed when it becomes feasible to an end chosen by the employer, not the laborer, otherwise we are talking about self-employment. Labor may not like the terms, but, unless that labor has been involuntarily conscripted, those terms are what labor has chosen for itself over alternatives.

    By all means, if labor wishes to possess the means of production, let it do so: create them. Taking what someone else has created, though, is simply that – taking – theft.

    If you wish to argue that the unfortunate should receive welfare of some sort to ameliorate their condition, argue that instead, directly. If instead you argue that theft should be rationalized, you will most certainly get what you wish for, but the unfortunate are unlikely to be the benefactors.

    Reply
    1. postfuturum
      March 29, 2015

      The thing is, labor is entitled to the means of production by the fact that it produces on it. The boss who takes the fruits of their labor and receives profit from them is actually the one stealing. The very source of the institution that legitimizes him owning the means of production is theft.

      Reply
      1. Gabriel Sanchez
        March 29, 2015

        On what basis? Where are you getting this moral conclusion from? Ok, I know where you are, but I want you to be explicit here so nobody comes along this combox and assumes, even for a second, that you are speaking in line with the Catholic tradition. You are not. And so that opens up the question whether you are speaking on any firm moral, rather than rickety ideological, ground.

        Reply
        1. postfuturum
          March 30, 2015

          Look, I want to agree with you, I just can’t see how Corporatism is a viable alternative.
          I’m sorry if I’ve annoyed you.

          Reply
          1. postfuturum
            March 30, 2015

            I just can’t see how the state in your vision of corporatism would be unbiased with it’s arbitrating.

      2. Ted
        March 29, 2015

        Very well, you are in fact then speaking of cases of involuntarily enslaved labor such as was common in the 19th Century Civil War South, as opposed to the situation where an employer offers employment in exchange for a wage or salary, both parties clearly understand that is the entirety of the contract, and the employee voluntarily accepts those terms, those terms being explicitly that the employer is paying the employee in full for the fruits of his labor with the employee’s full, voluntary consent and agreement.

        I think no one would agree that slavery is acceptable under any conditions any more.

        Let us assume that you are old enough to have had a job or have one now. If my description of how you and everyone else you know became and continues to be employed is in factual error, please correct it.

        As I mentioned, both the employer and employee might have different feelings or desires with respect to the agreement they both nonetheless voluntarily entered into. I myself might have feelings toward your car, your television, your girlfriend, and what not, and if we came to a mutual, voluntary agreement over any of them a morally just and transaction, financial or merely social (you two broke up, I can now date her), might be arrived at. Anything other than that, though, particularly me or my agent acting unilaterally on my unilateral feelings, stealing you car or television, kidnapping your girlfriend to my lair of evil in the mountains, is clearly an ethos of appropriation, a morality of thieves.

        Reply
        1. Ted
          March 29, 2015

          In addition to apologizing for my typos, let me add that there are abundant examples of workers owning the means of production within the schema I just described. They are referred to as self-employed.

          Reply
          1. Atychi
            March 29, 2015

            Can’t reply above, so . . .
            “The short answer here is that CST tacitly contemplates a prior finite Catholic Christendom within the borders of which its influence holds sway border to border. CSE can only effectively obtain within that previously defined territory, so that territory must obviously be expanded (or renewed) first.”
            ***You’d have to show me by citing relevant texts. I don’t think this is true, knowing the Catholic (universal) mindset of the Church. Where do the borders of the Church find their limits? I’d be really curious on this one? Where there is no Bishop? Where there is no Gospel?

          2. Ted
            March 29, 2015

            No, I won’t. Where people pay no attention to CST, there is no CST, it’s as simple as that. There is only Catholic Social Hoping to Teach.

          3. Atychi
            March 29, 2015

            “No, I won’t. Where people pay no attention to CST, there is no CST, it’s as simple as that. There is only Catholic Social Hoping to Teach.”
            ***Just begs the question: so America? And since we’re the number #1-3 (depending on numbers) consumers of slave/child labor across the globe, then . . .

            But, again, no doubt we agree: “There is only Catholic Social Hoping to Teach.”
            ***Some of us just wish the Church with its Magisterium would show its teeth. But the same lot of us also know that the Church has been infected by modernity and its various forms of neo-liberalism. Orthodoxy depends on the Catholic Church in this area. Help us, Obe-wan Kenobi.

          4. Ted
            March 29, 2015

            And since we’re the number #1-3 (depending on numbers) consumers of slave/child labor across the globe, then . . .

            You seem to have missed the point. What were the alternative possibilities for the slave/child labor across the globe if unconsumed? They do not wait with a nice family in the country with plenty of room to run and play until finally called, at slave or, hopefully higher, wages. They just die. As surplus human produce.

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