Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More on the History of Money

Wow! What a start to the new semester. At this rate I'll never have time to post anymore, but fortunately I think things will ease up.

If you have been following the History of Money/Debt, part 2 from the Modern Money Primer at New Economic Perspectives has been posted. Check it out:



Tomorrow morning I will post my proposal for a job guarantee program that will immediately bring us to full employment and promote greater price stability than our current system. Darwin, a frequent reader and blogger, has agreed to debate with me over the proposal. So come back tomorrow, follow our debate, and pitch in with your own comments!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bernanke to Congress: Help me out!

I think Bernanke gets it.

From the Associated Press:

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has a message for Congress: Do more to stimulate hiring and growth -- or risk delaying the economy's return to full health.

Bernanke held out the prospect Friday that the Fed may take further steps later to help the economy. But he offered no new plans for now.

At a time when Congress has focused on shrinking budget deficits, Bernanke agreed that doing so is important for the long term. But he warned lawmakers not to "disregard the fragility of the current economic recovery."

"He appears to be saying that the Fed has largely played its part and that the politicians need to step up their game," said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.

The economy is still hobbled by a depressed housing market, high oil prices and fears that the European debt crisis will deteriorate into a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis. The Dow has lost about 11 percent of its value since late July on fears that the economy might slip back into recession.

On Friday, Bernanke blamed this summer's political squabbling over raising the federal debt limit for undermining consumer and business confidence. And he warned that further gridlock in Washington would "pose ongoing risks to growth."

The Fed chief noted that the depressed housing sector has delayed a full recovery in the broader economy. He said the home market should gradually return to health -- a process he said the government should support.

He said that with oil and other commodity prices easing, he expects long-term inflation to remain low well into 2012.

Others have questioned whether any further lowering of long-term rates is needed. Investors seeking the safety of U.S. debt have forced down the yield on the 10-year Treasury note to 2.19 percent -- a full point lower than it was when the Fed completed its Treasury purchases about two months ago. Yet the economy is still sputtering.

Many economists note, however, that the economy's main problem is not that interest rates are too high. They say the main problem is that consumer spending remains too weak. So businesses feel little incentive to hire, expand and invest.

Until demand for goods and services steps up, the Fed has limited ability to strengthen the economy.

Joshua Shapiro, an economist at MFR Inc., said Bernanke was conceding that the Fed has "basically exhausted its tools."

And, the completely wrong way of thinking about this:

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, co-chair of a committee charged with proposing further deficit cuts, responded to Bernanke's hint that Congress should do more to stimulate growth by saying in a statement:

"The only way to put an end to this spending-driven debt crisis is for Washington to stop spending money we don't have. The committee was created to produce real deficit reduction, and accomplishing that task will help bring confidence back to job creators and grow the economy."

And that argument is coming from both political parties.

All gov't spending (not just spending that is over tax revenue) is 'money it doesn't have'. It's quite literally created out of nowhere. Remember taxes paid in are 'destroyed' not stored until spent by the government.

Reducing deficits won't bring confidence back to job creators, increasing sales will. Reducing deficits will instead decrease sales.

Oh, and don't mistake the title for a quote.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

History of Debt

Another Video! Hopefully this is a little more interesting and understandable than my usual posts.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

History of Money: Debts, Coins, and Religion

Over at the Modern Money Primer, Randall Wray briefly walks us through the history (up til Rome) of money, debts, and coins and their significance to religion, including Christianity.


A must read if you want to understand the answer to the question 'What is money?'.

Republicans Want Tax Increase

Really don't understand Republicans on this one...

Why would you fight so virulently against closing tax loopholes for the wealthy to reduce the deficit (which is a dumb idea to begin with...reducing the deficit that is) but be okay with what is essentially a tax hike for very much less wealthy employees by ending the payroll tax break?

Their reasoning?:
Republicans say their stand is consistent with their goal of long-term tax policies that will spur employment and lend greater certainty to the economy.

"It's always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn," says Rep. Jeb Hensarling, "but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again." The Texas lawmaker is on the House GOP leadership team.

Many Republicans are adamant about not raising taxes but largely silent on what it would mean to let the payroll tax break expire.

Republicans cite key differences between the two "temporary" taxes, starting with the fact that the Bush measure had a 10-year life from the start. To stimulate job growth, these lawmakers say, it's better to reduce income tax rates for people and for companies than to extend the payroll tax break.

"We don't need short-term gestures. We need long-term fundamental changes in our tax structure and our regulatory structure that people who create jobs can rely on," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., when asked about the payroll tax matter.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., "has never believed that this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy," said spokesman Brad Dayspring.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did not flatly rule out an extra year for the payroll tax cut, but he "would prefer to see the payroll tax cut on the employer side" to spur job growth, his campaign said.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said Republicans will fall under increasing pressure to extend the payroll tax cut. If they refuse, he said in a recent speech, "we're going to end up in a position where we're going to raise taxes on the lowest-income Americans the day they go to work."
It seems pretty simple to me: businesses won't expand until sales increase. Sales won't increase until people have more money. Why would taking money away from people who buy things help sales? Why would giving more money to businessmen help them expand their business if they won't be able to sell their added production?

They have the line of causation backwards. Money won't 'trickle down' to employees until it 'trickles up' to employers. Even then I'm not sure it will get to the employees...record profits are still being made despite historically low wages and very high unemployment.

I say a complete payroll tax holiday for both employees and employers would be good, but deficit hawks would cry 'foul' (pun intended) because they think deficits are the reason for our bad economy. If you are in this camp I recommend checking out my 'Modern Money Factsheet'.

As for it being too 'temporary', are they worried it won't be spent? If so, say you'll suspend the tax UNTIL we reach full employment. The Central Bank said it would keep rates where they are until the economy is growing again and unemployment goes down. Let's do the same for the payroll tax cut.

But again, this is more about 'people who create jobs'. Those 'people who create jobs' rely on 'people who buy their product'. Just ask small business owners, they'll say that they are in tough positions right now because sales are low not because their taxes are too high or that their regulations are too tough. It doesn't matter how high taxes are or tight regulations are if nobody buys your product. If you want them to increase jobs increase their sales.

This seems to be a major stand in favor of the wealthy. If it isn't can someone please elucidate?

Full story here.

Taxes and Welfare are not Charity

Taxation and welfare can never be substitutes for charity.

Taxation is a destruction of money (or reserves). Government spending is a creation of money (or reserves). Government welfare programs such as TANF, Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. reallocate or redistribute resources by destroying financial assets of the taxed and creating financial assets of the receivers of welfare.

This is the nature of government taxation and spending. Your taxes are not someone else's welfare and therefore are not a gift of charity. This 'redistribution' can achieve socially desirable goals, but cannot replace a true act of charity which requires a person or persons giving and a person or persons receiving:
Charity is love received and given. It is “grace” (ch├íris). Its source is the wellspring of the Father's love for the Son, in the Holy Spirit. Love comes down to us from the Son. -- Caritas in Veritate pp. 5
What persons need above all is love or charity, not material goods. Giving of material goods is an act of charity, but the charity is needed more than the material goods.

The government is not capable of charity because it is not a person capable of love. There is no relationship established, it is not a true gift and it isn't a true sacrifice.

So you can't rely on the government to be charitable for you. This does not mean that welfare programs should not exist, but it does mean that they don't replace man's inherent need for charity. You cannot defer your responsibility to both give and receive charity to the government.

Nor can you give out of charity if justice is not met:
Charity goes beyond justice, because to love is to give, to offer what is “mine” to the other; but it never lacks justice, which prompts us to give the other what is “his”, what is due to him by reason of his being or his acting. I cannot “give” what is mine to the other, without first giving him what pertains to him in justice.

If we love others with charity, then first of all we are just towards them. Not only is justice not extraneous to charity, not only is it not an alternative or parallel path to charity: justice is inseparable from charity, and intrinsic to it. Justice is the primary way of charity or, in Paul VI's words, “the minimum measure” of it, an integral part of the love “in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18), to which Saint John exhorts us.

On the one hand, charity demands justice: recognition and respect for the legitimate rights of individuals and peoples. It strives to build the earthly city according to law and justice. On the other hand, charity transcends justice and completes it in the logic of giving and forgiving. The earthly city is promoted not merely by relationships of rights and duties, but to an even greater and more fundamental extent by relationships of gratuitousness, mercy and communion. Charity always manifests God's love in human relationships as well, it gives theological and salvific value to all commitment for justice in the world. -- Caritas in Veritate pp. 6

In summary, the government cannot replace charity and therefore cannot solve all of society's problems which are rooted in an absence of charity and justice nor can we give out of charity if justice is not first met. To rely on the government to solve all our problems for us or to say that 'government is taxing me and giving it to the poor so I don't need to give' is to misunderstand true charity and a person's need for love.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Krugman on MMT

Krugman first bashes MMT, then somehow makes an MMT argument presumedly without realizing it...

Franc thoughts on long-run fiscal issues
Anti-'MMT-types' migrate to stage II
MMT, Again
Printing Press Mystery

His acknowledgement:
Countries without a printing press are subject to self-fulfilling crises in a way that nations that still have a currency of their own are not. The point is that fears of default, by driving up interest costs, can themselves trigger default — and that because there’s a crossing-the-Rubicon aspect to default, once a country crosses that line it will probably impose fairly severe losses on creditors. A country with its own currency isn’t in the same position: even if it is pushed into some inflation, there’s no red line that need be crossed.

That’s why America isn’t Greece; and why the UK is being foolish in imposing eurozone-type austerity on itself.

Clarifying Points

I just wanted to clarify a few things in case there is some confusion or misunderstanding floating out there:

1) I love learning and I love sharing what I learn. The purpose of this blog was to share what I learn and have learned about two of my greatest passions: Catholic Social Teaching and economics. You may have a different understanding of how best to live out the teachings of the Church and that is fine, but all of my posts are underscored by a desire to live and spread the teaching of the Church. If I err in this, please call me out on it because I may not be aware of my misunderstanding.

2) Politically, I am neither conservative nor liberal, Republican nor Democrat. I, personally, do not think that either party fully represents the teachings of the Church. That is my opinion, you're free to have your own. I do not intend to promote either party on this blog, but I often do intend to call out bad policies that are either against the Church's teaching or based on bad economics or both.

3) Modern Money Theory is a description of what money is and how it works in the general economy. It is less theory and more description. It is not politically charged one way or the other. When I say we need more deficits right now to stimulate the economy, that doesn't mean that I want or that it has to be in the form of more spending. It can also come in the form of reduced taxes and less government.

4) This blog is for both your and my benefit. I learn from you as much or more as you learn from me. I can't express to you enough how much I want to know what you think. What your questions are, what comments you have, what you would like to know more about, etc. I think we learn best by engaging in dialogue with each other. I have benefited greatly from this blog and hope you have too, but I would love to get more input from you, the reader!

Thank you again for reading!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thank You Note

Thank you all for reading my blog! I hope it has informed you on the trivial world of economics and more importantly inspired you to live out the teachings of the Church.

Blogging may be sparse here the next week or two as I concentrate on other things and prepare for a new semester.

If you want to keep up with the world of economics or know more about CST I recommend the links on the right side of the page. I hope you are all doing well and that God showers many blessings upon you.

I cannot thank you all enough for your support!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Inflation, not Insolvency

Sorry for the large amount of reposting lately, but it's all I've had time for. This is again via Warren Mosler, but is important to read:
From comments by Warren Buffet to Alan Greenspan,

And from all the responses to the S&P downgrade by economists and financial professionals from the four corners of the world,


The US government is the issuer of the US dollar.

So no matter how large the federal deficit might be:

The US government can always make any payments in US dollars that it wants to.
There is no such thing as the US govt running out of US dollars.
The US government always has the ‘ability to pay’ any amount of US dollars at any time.


The US is not dependent on tax revenue or foreign borrowing to be able to spend.

whereas Greece is not the issuer of the euro,
much like the US states are not the issuer of the US dollar,


There is no such thing as the US getting cut off from spending by the financial markets and forced to go begging to the IMF to get US dollars to spend.

Nor is the US government subject to market forces driving up interest rates on US Treasury bills.


Why, because, any nation that issues its own currency also sets it’s own interest rates.
So in the US, the Federal Reserve Bank votes on the interest rate



Suddenly, it’s NOT solvency.
The US is suddenly NOT going broke.
Social Security is suddenly NOT broken.
There is suddenly NO risk the US will not be able to make all payments as promised.

So now,

or shut up!

they must FLIP FLOP
or shut up!

Yes, there is a new reason they can flip flop to.


They can start claiming the current path of deficit spending will lead to inflation.


Bring it on!

First, they need to do the research, as they haven’t even thought about this yet.

Then they have to convince Congress to cut social security and medicare
Not because we might become the next Greece
Not because the US government checks might bounce someday
Not because the deficit will burden our grand children

But ONLY because some day,
if we don’t do something when the time comes
and even though we don’t have an inflation problem now,
and haven’t had one in a very long time,
SOME DAY far in the future,
inflation might go from x% to y%.


Do you think Congress would take draconian steps now,
during this horrendous recession,
to make things worse
by cutting Social Security?
and by cutting funding or public infrastructure?
and by raising taxes?

How about we get the word out and find out, thanks!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Paul McCulley on Bloomberg

Paul McCulley (formerly of PIMCO) is one smart dude:

Understanding Credit Ratings

Again from Mosler:

“The downgrade reflects our opinion that the fiscal consolidation plan that Congress and the Administration recently agreed to falls short of what, in our view, would be necessary to stabilize the government’s medium-term debt dynamics,” S&P said in a statement late yesterday after markets closed.

Credit ratings are based on ability to pay and willingness to pay.

David Beers of S&P knows this and has discussed this in the past.

Including direct discussion with me where he acknowledged a nation like the US always has the ability to make US dollar payments.

Therefore any downgrade would necessarily be based on willingness to pay.

In fact, I downgraded the US on willingness to pay several months ago on this website. And the debt ceiling debate more than demonstrated a willingness to default by far too many members of Congress for even consideration of a AAA rating.

So why then did David T. Beers decide to downgrade the US on ability to pay, and not explicitly on willingness to pay?

Sure looks like a case of intellectual dishonesty.
And I have no idea why.
So much for his legacy.

And, as previously discussed, markets probably won’t care, much like when Japan was even more severely downgraded.

A credit rating simply needn’t be applicable for the issuer of its own currency, as David should well know.

Warren Buffett gets it!

From FOX Business:
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett told the FOX Business Network that S&P’s downgrade of the United States’ triple-A credit rating “doesn’t make sense.”

“Think about it. The U.S., to my knowledge owes no money in currency other than the U.S. dollar, which it can print at will. Now if you’re talking about inflation, that’s a different question.”

So let's talk about inflation! NOT about whether we have the ability to pay off our debt!

What was that?!

I don't understand financial markets that well...I'm an economist, not a banker!

But if you wondered like I did why the markets freaked out, here is an analysis from financial expert Warren Mosler:
From Goldman:
"Following Friday’s downward revisions, we now expect real GDP to increase just 2%-2½% (annualized) through the end of 2012 and the unemployment rate to rise slightly to 9¼% during this period."

This is still higher than the first half, so presumably corporations will have a better second half as well, and they did just fine in the first half.

And with lower gasoline prices, consumers get a nice break there which should firm their spending on other things as well.

The tighter fiscal won’t matter for this year, and markets won’t discount what may happen in November until it’s closer to actually happening.

So still looks to me like the recent sell off in stocks was mainly technical, as the initial knee jerk sell off from the debt ceiling and downgrade uncertainties triggered further selling by those with short options positions, much like the crash of 1987.

And, like then, and unlike early 2008, the current federal deficit seems more than large to me to keep things chugging along at muddle through levels of modest growth, continued too high unemployment, and decent corporate profits and investment.

Yes, risks remain. Europe is a continuous risk, but the ECB, once again, stepped in and wrote the check. China looks to be slipping but the lower commodity prices will help US consumers maybe about as much as they hurt the earnings of some corps.

So for now, with the options related stock selling over, it looks like we’re back to calmer waters for a while.

And Congress goes back to trying to cut the deficit to put people back to work.

Someone needs to tell them they haven’t run out of dollars, they aren’t dependent on China, and they can’t become the next Greece, and so yes, the deficit is too small given the current output gap.

But until then, we keep working to become the next Japan.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Conservative Magic

Apparently Michele Bachmann thinks that once she becomes president the economy won't take that long to improve:
Earlier in the day in Newton, Bachmann told reporters the economy would start to improve almost immediately after she becomes president because she would implement conservative economic policies to slash the nation's debt, stop tax increases and cut regulations.

"It won't take that long if we send signals to the marketplace," she said, standing by an earlier comment that the improvement would begin within the first quarter
I'm not sure what signals she thinks she will be sending to the marketplace, but there really is only one that the marketplace cares about: sales!

Many large and small businesses are sitting on large piles of cash and reserves and all businesses can borrow more at extremely low rates, yet they don't because sales are low. NOT because of increasing taxes (who has increased taxes?) or because of tighter regulations.

If her plan is to "slash the nation's debt" by reducing deficits then I think she will be sorely disappointed in the results.

Conservative policy CAN help our recovery, however. If we just cut taxes without cutting spending then I think we would see things turn around, but all we hear from both sides is cutting deficits and paying down debt.

Why is it assumed that the government must cut its deficits? The disagreement has been over HOW to reduce the deficits, not WHY we need to reduce them.

They all just assume that if we don't, turmoil will ensue just like it would for you or me if we ran up a bunch of debt. I say: based on what? When I describe how a government's finances work then everyone cries "inflation!" Yet we are having trouble staving off deflation right now.

So if you don't believe me or my reasoning that inflation won't ensue until we get near full employment, then why not at least see if I'm wrong? Why not try some increased deficits? If it leads to high inflation, you can say "I told you so" and then we can reduce our deficits. But why worry about potential high inflation when we are experiencing high unemployment right now?

If you want less government demand a tax cut right now from your congressmen! If you want more government tell them to spend more and what you want them to spend it on!

Me? I'm in favor of a job guarantee program and a complete payroll tax holiday for both employers and employees until the economy gets back to full employment.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Understanding Modern Money

If you want a quick review of the background and history of Modern Money Theory, as well as a quick synopsis of its key elements there is none better than this post from Johnsville via Mosler:

Modern Money in a Nutshell


A rampaging mutant macroeconomic theory called Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT for short, is kicking keisters and smacking down conventional wisdom in economic circles these days. This is because an energized group of MMT economists, bloggers, and their loyal foot soldiers, lead by economists Warren Mosler, Bill Michell, and L. Randall Wray are swarming on the internet. New MMT disciples are hatching out everywhere. They are like a school of fresh-faced paramedics surrounding a gasping heart attack victim. They seek to present their economic worldview as the definitive first aid for understanding and dealing with the critical issues of growth, unemployment, inflation, budget deficits, and national debt.

MMT is a reformulated blend of some older macroeconomic theories called Chartalism and Functional finance. But, it also adds a fresh dose of monetary accounting for intellectual muscle mass. Chartalism is a school of economic thought that was developed between 1901 and 1905 by German economist Georg F. Knapp with important contributions (1913-1914) from Alfred Mitchell-Innes. Functional finance is an extension of Chartalism, which was developed by economist Abba Lerner in the 1940’s.

MMT is a broad combination of fiscal, monetary and accounting principles that describe an economy with a floating rate fiat currency administered by a sovereign government. The foundation of MMT is its recognition of the importance of the government’s power to tax, thereby creating a demand for its money, and its monopoly power to print money.

There is really not that much “theory” in Modern Monetary Theory. MMT is more concerned with explaining the operational realities of modern fiat money. It is the financial X’s and O’s, the ledger or playbook, of how a sovereign government’s fiscal policies and financial relationships drive an economy. It clarifies the options and outcomes that policy makers face when they are running a tax-driven money monopoly. Proponents of MMT say that its greatest strength is that it is apolitical.

The lifeblood of MMT doctrine is a government’s fiscal policy (taxing and spending). Taxes are only needed to regulate consumer demand and control inflation, not for revenue. A sovereign government that issues its own floating rate fiat currency is not revenue constrained. In other words, taxes are not needed to fund the government.

MMT also asserts that the federal government should net spend, again usually in deficit, to the point where it meets the aggregate savings desire of its population. This is because government budget deficits add to savings.

In the U.S., MMTers see the contentious issue of a mounting national debt and continuing budget deficits as a pseudo-problem, or an “accounting mirage.” The quaint notion of the need for a balanced budget is another ancient relic from the old gold standard days, when the supply of money was actually limited. In fact, under MMT, running a federal budget surplus is usually a bad thing and will often lead to a recession.

MMT is not easy for many people, including trained economists, to understand. This is probably because of its heavy reliance on accounting principles (debts and credits). Some critics consider MMT nothing more than a twisted Ponzi scheme that is simply “printing prosperity.” Calling MMT a “printing prosperity” scheme, by the way, is the quickest way to send MMTers into spasms of outrage. MMT does not “print prosperty” according to its proponents. The MMT counter argument is: it [is] a perverse injustice that, in online discussions, MMT sympathizers are frequently reproached for imagining that “we can print prosperity” when in fact it is us who constantly stress as a fundamental point that the only true constraints are resource based, not financial or monetary in nature. We are the ones insisting that if we have the resources, we can put them to use. It is the neoclassical orthodoxy and others who try to make out that we can’t use resources, even if they are available, because of some magical, mysterious monetary or financial constraint. Just who is it that believes in magic here?

A heavyweight Keynesian economist, like Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, has felt the sting of MMT. But the quantity and quality of his criticism of MMT, so far, has been featherweight. He could not land a solid glove on the contender, Kid MMT. Krugman only proved that he does not understand MMT, so his criticism was weak (see MMT comments) and his follow-up even weaker. MMT economist James Galbraith did a succinct breakdown of Krugman’s major errors.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Keeping Faith & Hope

Despite a deal being reached to raise the debt ceiling, market reaction was less than positive. (At least gas prices are falling!). However, in times like these it's important to remember to keep faith and hope for better times.

It's true that I think we are suffering needlessly because of a grave misunderstanding of our financial system (of what money is, of how government finances work, of what causes inflation, etc.). But it's also true that suffering is not necessarily a bad thing.

We can always unite our suffering to Christ's and "offer it up" as they say in some schools and monasteries.

We must also remember that we are not made to live in this world forever. The things and experiences we enjoy here are not lasting and may even distract us from our true destination. In this way, suffering can be a good thing, it can help us turn away from material detachment to things that really matter: serving others, maintaining and creating loving relationships, striving to be the best we can be.

I think Pope Leo XIII said it best:
From contemplation of this divine Model, it is more easy to understand that the true worth and nobility of man lie in his moral qualities, that is, in virtue; that virtue is, moreover, the common inheritance of men, equally within the reach of high and low, rich and poor; and that virtue, and virtue alone, wherever found, will be followed by the rewards of everlasting happiness. Nay, God Himself seems to incline rather to those who suffer misfortune; for Jesus Christ calls the poor "blessed"; He lovingly invites those in labor and grief to come to Him for solace; and He displays the tenderest charity toward the lowly and the oppressed. These reflections cannot fail to keep down the pride of the well-to-do, and to give heart to the unfortunate; to move the former to be generous and the latter to be moderate in their desires. Thus, the separation which pride would set up tends to disappear, nor will it be difficult to make rich and poor join hands in friendly concord.

But, if Christian precepts prevail, the respective classes will not only be united in the bonds of friendship, but also in those of brotherly love. For they will understand and feel that all men are children of the same common Father, who is God; that all have alike the same last end, which is God Himself, who alone can make either men or angels absolutely and perfectly happy; that each and all are redeemed and made sons of God, by Jesus Christ, "the first-born among many brethren"; that the blessings of nature and the gifts of grace belong to the whole human race in common, and that from none except the unworthy is withheld the inheritance of the kingdom of Heaven.

I do think that our government could make things better for not only our nation, but for other nations if they properly understood how their finances worked. We could have a more equitable distribution of wealth by making sure the poor obtained that which is necessary for maintaining their dignity. But I also think that even if the government (that is, their policies) were able to provide us with the material goods necessary to maintain our dignity, it would not be enough to make us happy or to earn the rewards of everlasting life. For that, we need virtue, brotherly love, faith in God and in each other, and hope for better times.
Would it not seem that, were society penetrated with ideas like these, strife must quickly cease?