Monday, March 19, 2012

Global Economics, Fundamental Rights: 'It's Complicated'

More posts about "Caritas in Veritate" (Charity in Truth)
"Caritas in Veritate"

Benedict XVI's document shifts gears now, reviewing the economic and political situation folks are dealing with today:
"From the social point of view, systems of protection and welfare, already present in many countries in Paul VI's day, are finding it hard and could find it even harder in the future to pursue their goals of true social justice in today's profoundly changed environment...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 25)
The next 535 words in "Caritas in Veritate" cover a lot of ground. I recommend following that link and reading the original.

Americans, Zambians, and Everybody Else

If you read "Caritas in Veritate," though, I suggest remembering that the Catholic Church isn't an American institution. We're not 'anti-American:' but our values aren't whatever the dominant culture of America believes at the the moment.

The Vatican isn't picking on American values. Catholics aren't told to hold fast to whatever's now and wow in Bhutan, Comoros, Denmark, or Zambia, either.

For two millennia, the Church has been passing on what we got from my Lord:

The Church's Social Doctrine

My guess is that quite a few Americans today are convinced that the Catholic Church is terribly, irredeemably, viciously, conservative. It's easy to get that impression, because every Catholic bishop in America says that Catholics aren't allowed to kill innocent people. It has to do with the establishment's notions about health care, and that's almost another topic.

Some of what the Catholic Church has been saying as centuries roll by is fairly close to what some conservative Americans say today. On the other hand, the Catholic Church is also very concerned about trade unions. Not the way you might think, though:
"...The repeated calls issued within the Church's social doctrine, beginning with Rerum Novarum[60], for the promotion of workers' associations that can defend their rights must therefore be honoured today even more than in the past, as a prompt and far-sighted response to the urgent need for new forms of cooperation at the international level, as well as the local level...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 25)
"Rerum Novarum" was published in 1891, by the way. And Catholic bishops in America have been pushing for universal health care since 1919.

It all has to do with that "love God, love your neighbor" thing: and believing that human beings are people. All human beings.

'It's Simple'

The excerpt mentioning "Rerum Novarum" may sound like the rantings of a bleeding-heart liberal. Then there's this:
"...Mobility of labour, associated with a climate of deregulation, is an important phenomenon with certain positive aspects, because it can stimulate wealth production and cultural exchange...."
("Caritas in Veritate," 25)
"Rerum Novarum" isn't a liberal document, "Caritas in Veritate" isn't a conservative document. They're both Catholic documents: trying to explain to conservatives, liberals, management, labor, and anybody else who will listen, that we should all start treating human beings as if they're people.

'Love God, love your neighbor.' 'Everybody's your neighbor.' It's really not all that complicated.

'It's Complicated'

On the other hand, anything that deals with human beings tends to get complicated, fast. I've quoted this before:
"For mischief comes not out of the earth, nor does trouble spring out of the ground; 2But man himself begets mischief, as sparks fly upward."
(Job 5:6,7)
And that was written before there were around 7,000,000,000 of us, living in a strongly interconnected global economy.

'Love God, love your neighbor' is simple: applying that principle to just about anything can get complicated. Very complicated.

There's a Lot Going on Here

Feel free to skip down to the next heading.

This isn't a summary, more like a list of what the Pope discusses in "Caritas in Veritate," 25. The point is that today's global economy is not even close to being simple, at the 'nuts and bolts' level:
  • Global market
  • Rich countries outsourcing production
    • Reducing the prices of many goods
    • Increasing purchasing power
      • Thus accelerating the rate of development
        • In terms of greater availability of consumer goods for the domestic market
  • New forms of competition between nations
    • Attracting foreign businesses
    • Setting up production centers
    • Deregulation of the labor market
  • Downsizing of social security systems
    • To get greater competitive advantage in the global market
    • Which isn't necessarily good for the
      • Rights of workers
      • Fundamental human rights
  • Systems of social security
    • Can lose the capacity to carry out their task in
      • Emerging countries
      • Those that were among the earliest to develop
      • Poor countries
    • Cuts in social spending
  • Trade unions are less effective
    • Social and economic change
    • Governments limiting their freedom to negotiate
  • Mobility of labor
  • Deregulation
  • Wealth production
  • Cultural exchange
  • Uncertainty over working conditions
  • New forms of psychological instability
    • Difficulty in forging coherent life-plans
      • Including marriage
    • Human decline
    • Waste of social resources
  • Unemployment
    • New forms of economic marginalization undermine
      • The freedom and creativity of the person
      • Family and social relationships
    • Great psychological and spiritual suffering

People: "the Primary Capital"

I can get as interested as the next fellow in economic theories or utopian visions. But what counts are people.

At least, that's pretty much what Benedict XVI says:
"...I would like to remind everyone, especially governments engaged in boosting the world's economic and social assets, that the primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity: 'Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life'[61]...."
(Job 5:6,7)

Conservative? Liberal? Democratic? Republican?

I've made this point before:
"...Caritas in Veritate is not an American document, written by an American, for an American audience, detailing how to do things in an American way.

"Don't get me wrong: there's nothing wrong with being an American, and I think this is a pretty good country to live in.

"But the Catholic Church isn't American. It has branches in America, but it's literally the Catholic Church: the Universal Church. Its documents are written for everybody: for all cultures which exist today; and those which don't exist yet...."
(July 18, 2009)

"...'Caritas in Veritate' (Love in Truth) is not an expression of liberal thought, it is not an expression of conservative thought, and it isn't an expression of moderate thought. It's part of the teaching of the Catholic Church: an institution which was around when the Roman Empire ceased to exist, and which may very well be around when today's 'conservative' and 'liberal' labels are as well-known as 'populares' and 'optimates' are today. ..."
(July 7, 2009)

Changing the World

I'm wary of using words like "obviously," but I think this is - obvious: Things won't get better, unless things change.

The Catholic Church won't stop saying that we should love God and love our neighbor. As for changing the world: that's what we've been working at for two millennia. And that's another topic.

Related posts:

No comments:

Like it? Pin it, Plus it, - - -

Pinterest: My Stuff, and More


Unique, innovative candles

Visit us online:
Spiral Light CandleFind a Retailer
Spiral Light Candle Store

Popular Posts

Label Cloud

1277 abortion ADD ADHD-Inattentive Adoration Chapel Advent Afghanistan Africa America Amoris Laetitia angels animals annulment Annunciation anti-catholicism Antichrist apocalyptic ideas apparitions archaeology architecture Arianism art Asperger syndrome assumptions asteroid astronomy Australia authority balance and moderation baptism being Catholic beliefs bias Bible Bible and Catechism bioethics biology blogs brain Brazil business Canada capital punishment Caritas in Veritate Catechism Catholic Church Catholic counter-culture Catholicism change happens charisms charity Chile China Christianity Christmas citizenship climate change climatology cloning comets common good common sense Communion community compassion confirmation conscience conversion Corpus Christi cosmology creation credibility crime crucifix Crucifixion Cuba culture dance dark night of the soul death depression designer babies despair detachment devotion discipline disease diversity divination Divine Mercy divorce Docetism domestic church dualism duty Easter economics education elections emotions England entertainment environmental issues Epiphany Establishment Clause ethics ethnicity Eucharist eugenics Europe evangelizing evolution exobiology exoplanets exorcism extremophiles faith faith and works family Father's Day Faust Faustus fear of the Lord fiction Final Judgment First Amendment forgiveness Fortnight For Freedom free will freedom fun genetics genocide geoengineering geology getting a grip global Gnosticism God God's will good judgment government gratitude great commission guest post guilt Haiti Halloween happiness hate health Heaven Hell HHS hierarchy history holidays Holy Family Holy See Holy Spirit holy water home schooling hope humility humor hypocrisy idolatry image of God images Immaculate Conception immigrants in the news Incarnation Independence Day India information technology Internet Iraq Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jesus John Paul II joy just war justice Kansas Kenya Knights of Columbus knowledge Korea language Last Judgment last things law learning Lent Lenten Chaplet life issues love magi magic Magisterium Manichaeism marriage martyrs Mary Mass materialism media medicine meditation Memorial Day mercy meteor meteorology Mexico Minnesota miracles Missouri moderation modesty Monophysitism Mother Teresa of Calcutta Mother's Day movies music Muslims myth natural law neighbor Nestorianism New Year's Eve New Zealand news Nietzsche obedience Oceania organization original sin paleontology parish Parousia penance penitence Pentecost Philippines physical disability physics pilgrimage politics Pope Pope in Germany 2011 population growth positive law poverty prayer predestination presumption pride priests prophets prostitution Providence Purgatory purpose quantum entanglement quotes reason redemption reflections relics religion religious freedom repentance Resurrection robots Roman Missal Third Edition rosaries rules sacramentals Sacraments Saints salvation schools science secondary causes SETI sex shrines sin slavery social justice solar planets soul South Sudan space aliens space exploration Spain spirituality stem cell research stereotypes stewardship stories storm Sudan suicide Sunday obligation superstition symbols technology temptation terraforming the establishment the human condition tolerance Tradition traffic Transfiguration Transubstantiation travel Trinity trust truth uncertainty United Kingdom universal destination of goods vacation Vatican Vatican II veneration vengeance Veterans Day videos virtue vlog vocations voting war warp drive theory wealth weather wisdom within reason work worship writing

Marian Apparition: Champion, Wisconsin

Background:Posts in this blog: In the news:

What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.