To Joe Carter and his blogpost lamenting the fact that our society’s system is turning out more and more of what he calls Bolsheviks. The appeared on the Acton blog.
There are a few errors here. As much as Carter did well to mention the Bolsheviks, it still seems that, to him, all Socialists are Bolsheviks. Here, Carter would do well to take out a student loan to study history. For the Bolsheviks were not the only Socialists in Russia. There were the Mensheviks as well. One of the major differences between the two groups is that the Bolsheviks insisted on immediate revolution while the Mensheviks were stagists. They wanted Socialism to become the system over a period of time because they felt that the people were not ready at the time. And mentioning the Mensheviks does not include the criticisms Lenin faced from fellow Socialists outside of Russia.,
Second, trying prove that a system works for a group by citing a single example is no proof at all. We could just as well cite an example of another individual and, by the same logic Carter uses, prove that the Carter's free market for education is a house of horrors for all who enter.
Third, there is Carter's belief in the free market because it empowers individuals. Yes, the free market does empower individuals. But we should note that not all individuals are empowered the same. And many of those who are empowered discover that money is the source of even more power. Anyone who has studied business knows that power and money are not the same. When Martin Luther King Jr. was alive, he was a very powerful, influential, man; but he had no government authority. As for today, there are sources that tell us that we live in an oligarchy, not a Democracy. Now it isn't that all oligarchs have governmental positions, But because their wealth buys influence, these Oligarchs are powerful because they can use their wealth to control the decisions made by our elected officials
Fourth, if we have a right to life, as stipulated in the Declaration Of Independence, then the free market does owe us some things that are necessary to survival if we are choosing to employ it as our economic system. What is the value in saying we have a right to life if our economic system denies us the means to make a living? And why are we denied opportunities to make a living? It is because the free market saw that offshoring jobs was more financially rewarding to a given company than paying workers here livable wages. And the same principle applies when we see the results of technological unemployment on the opportunities people had to make a living. For while technology has increased output, it has hurt the workers who are being replaced with machines. Soon a glut of people seeking certain kinds of jobs forms and there are not enough available jobs that pay liveable wages. And that leaves us with being guaranteed the right to life while not having sufficient opportunities at making a living.
Finally, Carter's free markets might appear preferable to control of the markets by those running the Soviet Union. But being told that those are our only two choices is a false dichotomy.What free markets also impose are laws and regulations that emanate from any working, democratic representative government. Such governments actually succeed at representing the people. With such governments and Carter's free markets is a contest between the Free Markets vs the Rest Of The People. And Free Markets make the voice of the people mute.
Again, Carter does need to further his education before writing what he does about free markets and socialism.
To Joesph Pearce and his blogpost that tries to explain why progressives “hate” the West. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative Blog
If we are going to include the conquests of Spain, then the West represents a multitude of global empires. Of course, by empires what should be included is the conquests of different lands and the subjugation of people of different races who were not deemed worthy to rule themselves. With at least one of those empires was the ethnic cleansing of the land of its indigenous population. And with many of those empires came the enslaving of people based on racial or even ethnic lines.
While Pearce wants to focus on cultural values, political and economic structures and wants to represent those structures as the hope and aspirations of humankind, we should note that the Western empires worked against those political and economic structures existing in foreign lands and forced its cultural values on people as if they had nothing to teach.
Even today, the West forces its economic structures on other nations, and instead of conquering other nations by invasion, it uses proxy leaders who deny people their rights. One only needs to consider the US interventions after WW II. Iran in 1953, Guatemala in 1954, Brazil in the 1960s, Vietnam and prohibiting the implementation of the Geneva Accords from the 1950s to the 1970s, Chilé in 1973, Latin America in the 1980s and the resulting creation of MS-13, Haiti in the 1990s, and I could go on. And that doesn't include support for Israel's Occupation against the Palestinians. And, of course, that doesn't include the enslavement of Blacks and the following Jim Crow era in America itself. And again, we could go on. The current refugee crisis that is faced by Western nations started with the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.
If one wants an adequate picture of the West and of Capitalism, then one needs to focus on the Capitol from the Hunger Games movie series. Sure, the Capitol looked great from the inside, but its image becomes tarnished once one visits the districts. And that is the case the West and its capitalism.
We shouldn't be surprised at Pearce's perception of the West. it often mimics people's perception of their own nation. For the people of many nations have perceived themselves with their culture and so forth as being superior to all others. And with that perception of superiority comes the entitlement to rule over others for their sake. To Pearce and his love for his West, one should only say that believing that one is special is normal. And that the ability to step outside of one's own group to view one's own group is very difficult to obtain.
And of course, none of the above includes the fact that progressives have been very busy in participating in the crimes of the West. One only needs to look at the wars and interventions pursued by "progressive Presidents" of the United States.
To Joe Carter and the claim in his blogpost that it was government regulations, not the lack thereof, that caused the economic collapse of 2008. This appeared in the Acton blog.
In his enthusiasm to defend free markets, Carter misses some important points about the economic collapse of 2008. For example, if there were no bailouts from the government, then economic recovery would next to impossible. But suppose those who acted so recklessly did so knowing that there would be bailouts. What do we get?
First, the financial institutions that suffered the largest losses were those that were over-leveraged the most, not those institutions that actually lent the money out. And why were those institutions over-leveraged? It was because either the lack of enforcement of then current regulations or the financial sectors fight to prevent certain financial products from being regulated. One such product allowed for multiple parties to buy loan insurance on loans they did not take. This would be like the neighborhood buying fire insurance on the same house in the neighborhood. What could go wrong there?
But even before that, the idea of bundling loans and then selling them as financial products that get the institution that makes the original loan not have to worry about being paid back. Thus, it wasn't just the needy who could apply for a risky loan, but unsuspecting entrepreneurs as well. Again, what could go wrong there?
And then there was no effective government oversight of the ratings agencies so that they could profit by giving artificially high ratings to financial products that carried risky loans. Here we have to ask: What did go wrong here?
And last for this list but not least, you had the repeal of the Glass-Steagall act. That act created two kinds of banking: commercial and investment. Glass-Steagall was enacted in 1933 and was repealed in 1999. And between those dates, we didn't have a financial collapse.
In his zeal to defend Free Markets, Carter not only is selective in the details about the government interventions he lists, some of his statements gloss over important details about how government intervenes in the economy. And he does so not to try to factually prove his point, but in order to be persuasive. In addition, Carter expresses no criticisms of the some of the faulty financial products being sold that contributed greatly to the economic collapse. At this point, it is difficult to say whether Carter's view of free markets has more influence on how he reads the Bible than vice-versa. For instead of saying that government should have pursued a more wise and intelligent approach to regulating the markets, he opts for saying that there should be little to no government oversight or intervention. If he is not careful to reign in and modify his approach, Carter will be a representative of a part of the Christian Church that is to the support of those with wealth and power here, what the dominant branches of the Church were in supporting wealth and power prior to the French, Russian, and Spanish Revolutions.
To Rev Ben Johnson and his blogpost that free trade is good stewardship of the earth. This appeared in the Acton blog.
This article doesn't make sense. When talking about the environment, he tries to dispel the notion that neoliberalism hurts the environment by an article written by a professor of finance about some EU farming and fishing rules that hurt the environment and how Brexit eliminated those problems. He makes the claim that neoliberal economics has produced the greatest wealth the world has known. But he neglects to mention the growing wealth disparity both within nations and between nations which has come with neoliberalism. In addition, he doesn't try to compare neoliberal economic performance with that of the Bretton-Woods system. In fact, he might not even be aware of the existence of the latter let alone the comparison. In addition, we should note that the startup of neoliberal economic systems have often occurred during trying times or dictatorships. Chilé and Argentina in the 70s, Poland after their solidarity movement succeeded, and Russia during Yeltsin's presidency part of which occurred when he ordered the military to fire on the Parliament serve as examples. We should note that introducing neoliberalism to Russia required Gorbachev to step down otherwise loans needed by Russia could not be made. Gorbachev had wanted to model the Russian economic system after what was being practiced in Scandinavia.
Rev. Johnson does not mention the compromise of national sovereignty that takes place with free trade. The WTO, which is a free trade organization, threatened the US with billions of dollars approved retaliatory tariffs if the US did not repeal its newly passed law that required the origin of the meat sold here be printed on the package for consumers to know. That decision was made by the WTO and no regard for any Constitutional issues were shown. Please understand that one of the measurements for our laws to meet are constitutionally defined and a foreign organization ruled against the US without regard for The Constitution. Likewise, if the TPP had passed, then corporations could sue the US for laws passed that were perceived as having hurt the profits of these corporations. And those lawsuits would be held in a TPP tribunal, not an American court of law.
Nor does Rev. Johnson mention that much of the wealth built up in America is due to the past when free trade was not practiced. America has relied on protectionist policies for much of its history. That protectionism allowed America to build up certain industries that free trade has been destroying. Yes, we have the strongest economy in the world, but today more and more of America's economic strength is located in the financial sector while manufacturing has been shipped elsewhere to maximize profits for shareholders. Insisting that less developed nations must rely on free trade and prohibiting them from using protectionism to build their own economies is called 'kicking away the ladder.' In addition, neoliberalism has produced quite a few instances of workers having to work for poverty wages and corporations relying on government subsidizing their payrolls as low-paid employees must rely on government assistance programs.
Of course, Rev. Johnson did set out to show that free trade helps the environment. However, neoliberalism, of which free trade is a part, is occurring when the environment is being pushed to the breaking point in terms of it being able to sustain the kind of life we know now in the future. That pushing of the environment is not just seen in the transportation of goods, but in the manufacturing and and consumption of goods as well. And the more neoliberalism, the less environmental regulations that mus be met.
Yes, neoliberalism has produced a lot of wealth. But it has also produced one of the greatest consolidations of wealth in history and that consolidation of wealth leads to a consolidation of political power in the private sector. In fact, that consolidation of political power in the private sector has contributed to America transitioning from a democracy to an oligarchy (see http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746 ). But at least our loss of democracy has been more gradual and soft than what has occurred elsewhere for the sake of neoliberalism.
|This Month's Scripture Verse:|
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5