Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Sane Economy

I've been looking forward to delving into this subject because it's a favorite of mine.
I did touch on it a little bit in the  "Civilization Death Spiral, AAAAAAAACK!!!" post but that was mostly a focus on the insanity of our economy and the language the Druids of Econ use to cloak that insanity. I closed that post out with a proposal that people like Dave Ramsey are on to something with his emphasis on actual home ownership and debt free living. I also think he doesn't go deep enough and that he has some errors in his general faith in the "market" but he at least provides a really good start for millions of Americans who are living on the edge. Debt is slavery.

However, I've realized I'm not going to be able to knock this one out in one post or even a few posts so I'm just going to make some bullet points as mental markers that I'm working to develop. Here goes...

What is a sane economy?

  • Economics as if PEOPLE MATTER
  • Makes distinctions between natural economies and unnatural economies. 
  • Rejects the idea of moral neutrality whether in economic policy, individual business or home finance. 
  • Refamiliarizes ourselves with Teleology - it's a big word, but it essentially just means things have an orientation, a cause and a purpose.
  • Is not limited to the scope of Capitalism vs. Socialism but realizes that these are merely two halves of a very bad argument about man, society and really the entire cosmos. Our answer does not lie here in the realm of Capitalism or Socialism.
  • Distributism is our best vision for a sane economy. Not only is it a very tangible idea but we experience it quite often, (we just don't call it distributism). It is not tradition but it speaks from a living tradition so it does have the flexibility of developing with society.
  • "Distribute" might be a word that we should consider dropping as there are some cultural associations related to "redistributing the wealth", (thanks Mr. President), that give too many people the socialist heebie-jeebies. An alternative title would need to be something that is quickly tied to responsible ownership but I'm not sure how to get that into a succinct effective word.
We also need to understand the distinct differences in the Classical and post-Enlightenment traditions. I'm not issuing a call to reject one or the other flat out but golly, we're only looking at less than half the picture here folks. Somehow the West is under the impression that we can only build on the thoughts of people who were born after 1500.

I attended a terrific New Year's Eve Party this year. It was a few of my nerd friends and their cool wives. The men talked about the glaring social unsustainability of our day. Every sees it, no one seems to know what to do.  If not our present course though, then what? Of course debt and economic policy and social justice were discussed and we had a rousing discussion on Distributism.
Yes, we'd had a few drinks.
Yes, our wives were in the other room rolling their eyes at us, (if they were even paying that much attention).
We also agreed that everyone in our society knows the real problem is soul-rot. Our problems aren't merely external. As Mark Shea often writes, we are a Paris Hilton people in an Apocolyptic World.

However, the next day one of us got inspired and has started us on a reading and discussion of Papal Encyclicals. We're starting off on JPII's Centesimus Annus. This was written as Communism was falling and presented as the "what now?" answer for the west after 100 years of capitalist/socialist turmoil.

Historically, the Church has always had the ripest harvests when culture gets to this level of insanity. We are equipped to provide authentic answers for what ails man and can bring healing in this world and best prepare us for the next. It is no coincidence that the Bishops have spent the past months renewing the call to engage in a New Evangelism and the Pope has assigned this as the "Year of Faith."


No comments:

Post a Comment