Tuesday, June 10, 2014

“Allowed Expedients”, Part V: The Principles of Economic Justice


In a (very) large number of previous postings on this blog, we’ve covered the basic mechanics of how ordinary people without savings can become capital owners without having to cut consumption (which they can’t do), or take what already belongs to others (thereby destroying the whole concept of private property).

How?  Monetize the present value of future increases in production instead of using past decreases in consumption.  This is what commercial banking and central banking were designed to do.  Kelso’s genius was realizing that such “pure credit” (i.e., credit that does not depend on existing accumulations of savings) could be used to finance widespread capital ownership, instead of being restricted to making the rich richer.  Only people who do not understand the fundamental meum and tuum of private property (i.e., the distinction between individual and collective ownership) and the nature of contract have trouble with the distinction between past and future savings.

We’ve said that, and explained that, and now it’s time to get on with the principles of economic justice, and take the means of implementing them as a given, at least for the purposes of this posting.  We want to discuss the “why” today, not the “how.”

Members of the CESJ “core group” recently had a meeting with the newly appointed president of a small Catholic college in the Midwest.  The goal of the meeting was to discuss how religious leaders and groups could organize to address in a concrete way Pope Francis’s concern with today’s systemic inequality of economic opportunity and the tyranny of today’s money system, which have engendered global poverty and growing powerlessness among the majority of the world’s people.

Specifically, we discussed three potential areas of alignment and collaboration:

• To urge Pope Francis to issue an encyclical on Economic Justice, which, as defined by the late lawyer-economist Louis Kelso and Aristotelian-Thomist philosopher Mortimer Adler, is comprised of three systemic, interdependent principles that can operate fully only within the context of just and open markets, and universal access to private property in productive capital. These three natural law principles, which aim to protect and develop the dignity and empowerment of each human person, are (i) the input principle of Participative Justice, (ii) the out-take principle of Distributive Justice, and (iii) the feedback and corrective principle of Social Justice.

Defined by Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno, social justice is the virtue that deals with how each child, woman and man relates to his or her institutions, and to the common good as a whole. As applied at the level of the economic system, Social Justice guides us in identifying and lifting all monetary, tax and financial barriers to Participative Justice (the right of equal opportunity and full access to the means to contribute to economic production as both a worker and an owner of wealth-producing assets), and Distributive Justice (the right to receive the full, market-determined value of his/her labor and capital contributions to economic production, without violating the private property rights of existing owners).

• To “teach the teachers” through meetings and collaborations with leaders in organized religion, academia, and the media on projects to promote understanding of the principles and applications of Economic and Social Justice.

• To surface individuals and organizations that will support, endorse or participate in CESJ’s “Justice University” initiative to reform academia (which has drifted away from an understanding of the natural law, as well as its expression within Catholic social teachings) and teach the system concepts of Economic and Social Justice.

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1 comment:

nail-in-the-wall said...

More on: Economic Justice and Economic Rights, Chapter 5 - The Capitalist Manifesto 1958.