6 Comments

  1. jackquirk
    November 24, 2015

    I didn’t deal with subsidiarity at all because I didn’t see it as part of the discussion. You could have the Socialism that is prohibited by the Magisterium along with all the Subsidiarity your heart desires. What if society was organized into a large number of municipalities all owning the means of production? There would be plenty of Subsidiarity there, but still the abolition of private property that Catholic Social Teaching condemns.

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    1. Gabriel Sanchez
      November 24, 2015

      I would contend that it is very important to the discussion. Subsidiarity is not just a question of how small you break down municipalities, but the proper role for all levels of society. I don’t think there is any form of socialism that is fully compatible with the principle of subsidiarity because it will always involve usurping rights and authority from one level or another.

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      1. jackquirk
        November 24, 2015

        I wasn’t arguing with you when I wrote my article, but with individuals who use the word “socialism” without any qualification, and then try to say it’s consistent with Catholic Social Teaching. So I wrote a survey of papal teaching about socialism, which, in that body of literature, is never contradistinguished with subsidiarity. Whether socialism will always involve the usurpation you say it will depends on what you mean by “socialism.” And, it turns out, people can just about mean anything when they say it.

        Classic socialism, where the state takes ownership of the means of production, might violate subsidiarity, but would you say the same thing of guild socialism? I don’t know the answer to that specifically, but if any form of “socialism” at all violated subsidiarity then Pope John Paul II would not have qualified the Church’s condemnation of it.

        My point, bottom line, is that some folks are starting to call worker ownership of the means of production socialism. But I maintain it is the direct opposite of socialism, classically understood. One expands ownership of the means of production, while the other completely eliminates ownership. They couldn’t be more different. But worker owned enterprises don’t violate subsidiarity, and calling them creatures of socialism (which I don’t approve of) doesn’t change that. Thus, the question of subsidiarity doesn’t really impact the conversation.

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  2. […] Gabriel Sanchez has an interesting comment at Opus Publicum, which begins, […]

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  3. Stephen
    November 28, 2015

    Don’t ignore, as so many do, the degree a tax and interest rate regime contribute to the concentration of power and property in the hands of the state and those who control it and the exemptions that can be granted to maintain control.

    For example, it is no coincidence that an artificially low interstate rate regime serves to concentrate power and capital in the hands of the few, and depress entrepreneurs and undermine subsidiarity. One need only look at the evolution of Taiwan (free market for the exchange of money) with its bevy of smaller and unconentrared businesses not having to endure the higher highs and lower lows of say a South Korea, whose government controlled artificially lower rates creates the large corporations dominating the country in symphony with large government. The US until recently could more be compared to Taiwan with Europe as South Korea, but that had changed as the US has moved towards more of the centralized model brought on on no small measure by the Fed keeping rates low.

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  4. […] In closing, let me stress that I agree with Estrada that the Church’s social magisterium is not “pro-capitalist” and that the free-market policies championed by the American Enterprise Institute and the Acton Institute are contrary to Catholic social principles. However, Estrada’s sloppy approach to the issue is incredibly unhelpful. All it does is feed into the predominant liberal narrative that Catholic critics of capitalism lack credibility, are selective in their approach to the Church’s social magisterium, and do not have a firm grasp of economics or economic history. While I believe all three of those charges are ultimately false, you wouldn’t know it from reading or Estrada or the careless rhetoric of other Catholics who have fallen pretty to what I have referred to as the “socialist seduction.” […]

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