Tag Archive for ‘Economics’
Xenophon’s Oeconomicus offers a pragmatic alternative way of looking at questions of wealth, property, and human happiness. He is neither an economist nor a philosopher, only a man who, though he valued courage and honor above wealth, understand the true significance of property as the foundation of prosperity and happiness. In these dark times, his common-sense pagan wisdom has much to teach us.
I am not an economist. I do not want to be an economist, because I do not believe there is a science of economics, and from all I can gather there is no kind of economics being practiced today, at least in high official circles, except “voodoo economics.” If I were wrong, then there would have been a consensus of economic experts on what would happen if, say, Congress deregulated the mortgage industry and encouraged lenders to issue mortgages for hundreds of thousands of dollars to people who might not be able to buy a cheap used car from Sleazeball Joe’s No-Money-Down used car lot.
Yesterday, we posted a magnificent article by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, an assistant professor of philosophy at a papal institute, the International Theological Institute in Gaming, Austria. Dr. Kwasniewski has been following the debate over Thomas Woods’ “The Trouble With Catholic Social Teaching” and has weighed in with his own critique. Last night, Tom Woods replied on the LewRockwell.com Blog.
Our old friend Tom Woods has painted himself into a corner. Portraying himself as an uncompromising ultratraditionalist who will have no truck either with the Novus Ordo or with anyone who does not condemn the Orthodox to Hell, he nonetheless takes it upon himself to contradict the Church’s fundamental teachings on morality and society.
This, in the end, is what it all comes down to: What is the purpose of the market and of economic freedom? For that matter, what is the purpose of government? The Church has, for 2,000 years, offered a very specific answer to both questions. Here’s a hint: It’s not providing the maximum number of goods at the lowest cost to the greatest number of “consumers.”
My earlier posts (Part I, Part II) on Tom Woods’ article “The Trouble With Catholic Social Teaching” have generated much discussion, on this site and elsewhere—a healthy sign, it seems to me, that many conservative and traditionalist Catholics are trying to grapple with the Church’s consistent social teaching rather than simply bracketing it and substituting some form of conservative economics.
A friend e-mailed yesterday to say that he didn’t understand the crux of my disagreement with Tom Woods. As he sees it, Tom is simply concerned with government intervention into the economy, confiscatory taxation, coercive laws and regulations, and the welfare state, all of which (he quite rightly points out, as Chronicles has for over 25 years) have been largely destructive. But these destructive things, my friend goes on to claim, have been central to Catholic social teaching.
In “The Trouble With Catholic Social Teaching,” a posting on LewRockwell.com today, my friend Tom Woods writes that he has completed a full-length book on what he calls the “unresolved tension between Catholic social teaching and economic law.” I look forward to reading it. Tom and I, of course, have very different views on this matter, though we share an aversion to national economic policies that limit economic freedom.