Distributism:A Catholic System of Economics
#41
Quote: That's why it's inconsistent when traditionalists are capitalists; because while Catholic teaching on other matters is so vehemently (and rightly) adhered to, to be a capitalist the teaching on social and economic matters must be ignored.
Lack of specifics again.  Ok, what teaching on economic and social matters must I ignore in order to be a capitalist?  If possible, please site Church documents.
Reply
#42
(08-28-2009, 01:06 PM)dgoodmaniii Wrote: +AMDG

(08-28-2009, 12:22 PM)epalinurus Wrote: What can you tell me about this Basque company?  I seem to remember someone posting on them around here before and it turned out they were engaging in anti-competitive behavior related to who they gave discounts to that would violate US anti-trust laws.  There was also some question about whether they were getting tax breaks unavailable to others, and also whether they were really "self managed" or actually managed through a huge board of directors. 

Are you aware of these questsions? 

Google is your friend.  So is scribd, which will give you a detailed document regarding Mondragon's organization and operation.

Still, it's quite possible that Mondragon's business model violates US anti-trust laws; but it's not bound by US anti-trust laws, which are almost entirely useless anyway.  (Can anyone name a significant large business prevented from exercising oligopolistic power by our antitrust laws since they broke up AT&T?)  However, they are certainly worker-managed, as some of the links available will show clearly.  As to whether they get tax breaks, I'd say that they ought to, as they're helping workers become proprietors rather than propertyless wage-slaves or dependent upon government largesse without doing anything productive.  I personally would be more concerned if they *weren't* getting tax breaks than if they were.

Praise be to Christ the King!

Well, first, my point isn't that they are bound by US anti trust laws.  My point is that they WOULD be if such a company was set up here.  This practice would surely be prevented if they set it up accordingly in the U.S.  Since it is a key element of its operation (provides a competitive advantage for them), without such an advantage they couldn't compete, and thus it wouldn't work here.  Other than major league baseball, do you know anyone specifically exempted from the antitrust laws? 

Second, the company is run by a 650 member "governing council" acc to Wiki.  They don't call it a board, but it operates as one.  How is that "worker managed"?

Finally, providing a tax break for a specific company is a big problem in my book.  It means they cannot compete except as a subsidized organization.  And not "subsidized" in your "Walmart, everybody gets to use the roads but Walmart uses them more way, so it's a "subsidy"" way, but as in "they cannot compete so we will central plan it and give them a big advantage" parasitical way.  Such a company is not a viable company in any economic sense, even before you factor in their need for an anti trust exemption.  Multiply that over dozens of various businesses and you have a centrally planned system that will fail. 

And we haven't even gotten to how the long arm of the law will work to dispossess those who have "too much" or who acquire "too much." 

Frankly, with all respect, you have to do better than that if you want to convince people that this will ever work. 
Reply
#43
I see James was here while I was writing my response.  He can argue this far better than me.  But I remain totally unconvinced.
Reply
#44
+AMDG

(08-28-2009, 01:20 PM)James02 Wrote: My big question was why don't we just promote worker ownership in companies instead of pusing for all this government control?  What is the difference between a worker owned company in a capitalist system (I gave the example of PCS in Canada) and Mondragon?  Actually we know, Mondragon needs government tax breaks and a monopoly in order to survive.

If you read the documents I cited, you'll see that these criticisms are unfounded.  I don't see much profit in duplicating everything said in them all here.
Reply
#45
+AMDG

(08-28-2009, 01:22 PM)James02 Wrote:
Quote: That's why it's inconsistent when traditionalists are capitalists; because while Catholic teaching on other matters is so vehemently (and rightly) adhered to, to be a capitalist the teaching on social and economic matters must be ignored.
Lack of specifics again.  Ok, what teaching on economic and social matters must I ignore in order to be a capitalist?  If possible, please site Church documents.

I've cited several foundational principles of capitalism---free competition, how just wages should be determined, absolute control of private property, state ownership of industry---that have been specifically condemned, with chapter and verse to Church documents.  Let me quote:
"Myself" Wrote:How do you figure?  How can a capitalist society implement, say, that the just wage *cannot* be set by the market?  (RN 63; QA, p. 36; CA 15).  Or that some industries not only might, but *ought* to be owned by the state?  (QA, p. 55)  Or that, while ownership of private property is a right, the use of that property is subject to state control?  (RN 25; QA, p. 24-25; CA 30)  Or that free competition is not a just way to run the economic affairs of a nation?  (QA, p. 44)  Just for starters.
So far, not one single capitalist has answered this *anywhere*; in this discussion, nobody's even acknowledged the citations, except to ask what the abbreviations mean.  (Once I told him, he then began steadfastly ignoring them again.)  If no one will even engage the ideas, it's hard to carry on a discussion.

Praise be to Christ the King!
Reply
#46
+AMDG

Quote:And we haven't even gotten to how the long arm of the law will work to dispossess those who have "too much" or who acquire "too much." 

Actually, we have.  It's been ignored.

Even a brief perusal of distributist literature would show that it's not about anyone having too much.  It's about ensuring that most people are the owners of productive property, and preventing those who have *more* from abusing those who have *less*.  Distributism recognizes, and indeed supports, the existence of class and wealth distinctions; it just doesn't want the upper classes to have all the benefits and the lower ones all the price.

Praise be to Christ the King!
Reply
#47
(08-28-2009, 12:53 PM)dgoodmaniii Wrote: I apologize if you felt insulted; I had no intention of personally attacking you.  I was just trying to show that what you said led to conclusions that I didn't think you'd agree with.  Namely, you clearly wouldn't be okay with a socialist government even if it let you do what was necessary for your salvation; I know this, because you are clearly a faithful Catholic.  Therefore, you shouldn't just accept any government if it lets you do what was necessary for your salvation.
Well, socialism is condemned by the Church for being against the natural law. It doesn't work as a comparison because by its nature it is restricting.

However, in any other used economic system so far, it doesn't matter as I can be a Catholic without hindrance in any of them. Distributism is the same as capitalism as far as I'm concerned, except that capitalism gives more freedom.

Quote:Also, you're wrong; capitalism has also been condemned, because its foundational principles have been condemned.  I've cited to several of those condemnations already; you've ignored them, instead insisting that "imposing" distributism would be the same as imposing communism.  In so doing, you've also ignored what I said about implementing a distributist economy within current government structures.
Capitalism hasn't been condemned. As always, there is room for people to do wrong, but by its nature, it isn't. It all depends on the individuals.

What would happen to all those companies which defy distributism? I stand by my statement. To impose distributism on people who are not distributists would not work. How would distributism be enforced?

Quote:Do you have anything at all to say regarding the Church's condemnation of capitalism's principles, or about the innumerable ways of implementing distributism without the violent revolution of communism?
Yes, it is a stinking economic system and the Church is above that. It doesn't matter what system is used as long as it does not violate moral or natural law, and the people living under have the freedom to do what is right. Other than that, distributism will remain a system in books, and on forum rants.

I really don't care about government or economics as long as it doesn't interefere with my ability to live as a Catholic (although, politically, I mostly identify as a philosophical anarchist).

I'm sure people in a distributism would find ways to abuse it. It isn't a magic system, and human failings will always be a factor. Since it seems to have more government involvement in business, I'd bet there'd be more abuse than in a purely capitalistic society. Greed and thirst for power won't disappear in a different economic system, it is just a different set of rules to bend.
Reply
#48
(08-28-2009, 02:46 PM)dgoodmaniii Wrote: +AMDG

Quote:And we haven't even gotten to how the long arm of the law will work to dispossess those who have "too much" or who acquire "too much." 

Actually, we have.  It's been ignored.

Even a brief perusal of distributist literature would show that it's not about anyone having too much.  It's about ensuring that most people are the owners of productive property, and preventing those who have *more* from abusing those who have *less*.  Distributism recognizes, and indeed supports, the existence of class and wealth distinctions; it just doesn't want the upper classes to have all the benefits and the lower ones all the price.

Praise be to Christ the King!

Again, your response is found wanting.  And I've looked at the site you've forwarded as well.  It hardly contains all the answers.  Discussion like this is more fruitful when people acknowledge the flaws in their system and discuss ways to deal with them.  That site is pretty much a one-sided cheerleading site.     

You cannot explain how the businesses you cite as models can be expected to replace what we have today when they cannot even operate without both special exemptions from the laws and massive government handouts.  Even your above answer is misleading:  by giving these non-competitive businesses enormous government-sponsored advantages, you make it difficult for the private companies to compete.  This reduces their wealth.  Kind of how government health care would work vs the private plans, except in your scenario, the beneficiary is the private entities who can't compete, and not the government.
Reply
#49
I didn't see your previous post.  Let's look at a few of them:
Quote: How do you figure?  How can a capitalist society implement, say, that the just wage *cannot* be set by the market?  (RN 63; QA, p. 36; CA 15). 
I am a capitalist and a Catholic.  I pay my employees much more than a Living Wage.  I am in compliance with Church teaching on the subject.  By the way, p. 36 of QA really doesn't set any doctrine, now does it?
Quote: Or that some industries not only might, but *ought* to be owned by the state?  (QA, p. 55)
We have that in the USA.  The State usually owns the water works, the sewer plants, and roads.  It is just common sense.  There is no way to have, say 3 competing roads, or 4 water plants for you to pick from.  It is a shame that it is not free competition, but it mostly all runs well.  Again, a capitalist country will have some government control and ownership.  My p. 55 of QA condemns socialism.  Check you citation.  But nonetheless, it is certainly more efficient to have the government own the road and use say gasoline tax to pay for it.  I'm not opposed to that.
Quote: Or that, while ownership of private property is a right, the use of that property is subject to state control?  (RN 25; QA, p. 24-25; CA 30)
  A good example is pollution laws, water rights, and safety laws.  Again, nothing incompatible with that and a capitalist society.
Quote:  Or that free competition is not a just way to run the economic affairs of a nation?  (QA, p. 44) 
  What?  We must have different numbering.  I can't find that at all.  I use the EWTN doc library for my resources.  But I did find this in P. 47:  The right of property is distinct from its use.[30] That justice called commutative commands sacred respect for the division of possessions and forbids invasion of others' rights through the exceeding of the limits of one's own property; but the duty of owners to use their property only in a right way does not come under this type of justice, but under other virtues, obligations of which "cannot be enforced by legal action."  Love it.  The Church's social teachings are pure gold for the capitalist.

If you reply, please site something along with the numbering, because I am not finding anything you site.  I just checked QA.  Maybe the numbering is off?

Now, in fairness to you, we might just have a problem of terminology.  I use the term "anarcho-capitalist" to define the system where there is no government, except some call for a limited government for national defense and to run civil courts.  If that is what you oppose, we are on the same side, since anarcho-capitalism suffers from the same flaw as socialism, it denies Original Sin.

Now if you propose that the Catholic Church is opposed to what we normally associate with as capitalism, then you will have to do a lot better in siting Church teaching. 

It is funny that in QA the Pope mentions that people were complaining about RN because they said it supported capitalists. 
Quote: Yet since there are some who calumniate the Supreme Pontiff, and the Church herself, as if she had taken and were still taking the part of the rich against the non-owning workers
Gotta love it.
Reply
#50
Quote: I see James was here while I was writing my response.  He can argue this far better than me.  But I remain totally unconvinced. 
No, you're doing as good a job as I do.  You missed one thing though:

Quote:The annual general assembly elects a governing council which has day-to-day management responsibility and appoints senior staff.

So the 650 member general assembly (proxies in capitalist terms) elects a governing council, which is the same as a board of directors.  This board of directors then appoints "senior staff" which is the same as a board of directors appointing the executives of a company.

The point, as you know, is that the people who love to talk about Mondragon, always conjure this "work place democracy" crap, which is not true.  They just change the names of corporate government organs.  So what is the difference between "senior staff" appointed by a "governing council" elected by a "general assembly" and "executives" appointed by a "board of directors" that were elected by "proxies"?  Nothing.

Now I have no problem with worker owned companies.  Again, I strongly suggest the Distributists investigate how PCS is doing it in a capitalist society, without tax breaks or monopoly protection.  I think it is far more reasonable to promote that, as well as promote usury restrictions and the Living Wage doctrine, than trying to destroy everything and start over.

However, I am not 100% convinced that worker ownership is the way to go.  I imagine a lot of former Enron employees can tell you about the dangers of  investing in the company you work for.  As a cavaet, if we had gold backed money, 100% reserves, and no usury, I think that corporate "blow ups" would cease, so using the Enron example may not be applicable, though it needs to be thought through.
Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)