Thursday, February 17, 2011

Free Markets

A recent post from the blog "The American Catholic" entitled Government and Economic Health inspired me to put together a post on capitalism and socialism. I went back and reread some passages from the encyclicals to support my comments in defense of my argument that free markets aren't necessarily the best answer. A few individuals, including the author, challenged me on this topic with Christian charity (something I appreciate very much given the heated-nature of the topic).

So ahead of my post I am putting together on Socialism and Capitalism, I wanted to give you the chance to follow our arguments (you can follow our dialogue in the comments section of the post). I would like to reiterate my stance and what I believe the stance of Catholic Social Teaching to be:
We need both moral politicians and players in the market. (We need moral people!). Government policy doesn’t make people more moral, but outlining rules and guidelines can help them stay the course. Transferring wealth that wealthy people won’t through personal charity is also beneficial to the society and the common good if done for the right reasons. It is ideal of me to think this is possible. I hope for such a world and hope I am doing my part to evangelize and make disciples of all nations. I think part of that is educating others that free markets make some rich who don’t always use it for the common good, and by its nature encourages selfishness. I think part of that is educating others that government distorts the beneficial processes of the free market and is often controlled by “economic dictators” (as we read from CST) who use it to maintain their wealth and status.

I don’t think that free markets are the answer and I don’t think that the answer lies in more government control or spending. I think the Popes have taught the same thing. I think it’s clear that at the bottom of it all is that all of us need to act in solidarity for each other and the common good.

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