THE Global Justice Movement Website

THE Global Justice Movement Website
This is the "Global Justice Movement" (dot org) we refer to in the title of this blog.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Ireland: Business Requires Sacrifice, Part I of III

We interrupt our series on thoughts on money to bring you another important news bulletin. It's not too great a stretch, for if businessmen, economists, and politicians understood money, credit, and banking, the world wouldn't be in the mess it's in. Yesterday's Wall Street Journal carried an article, "Businesses Ask Ireland to Quit Blocking EU Treaty" (09/08/09, A12). The gist of the article seemed to be that the Irish government is going to have to face economic reality and accept the Lisbon treaty and its ultra-Keynesian framework, along with its pro-abortion provisions and other measures unacceptable to the majority of the Irish people, if Ireland wants to prosper materially.

The bottom line is, does "business" have the right to dictate matters not just of national political policy, but of individual and social morality for the sake of economic expedience? Or does business, in common with every other person, natural or artificial, have the obligation to conform itself to essential principles of the natural law within the framework of the common good of all humanity? Is it even possible to be moral within the Keynesian economic paradigm that seems to demand great sacrifices in order to obtain benefits that never seem to materialize?

Even Keynesians are beginning to admit that the "New Deal" that allegedly brought the United States out of the Great Depression didn't really "kick in" until 1939 (Robert Skidelsky, John Maynard Keynes: 1883-1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman. London: Penguin, 2005, 494-500, 504, 509-510). Keynes himself admitted that something was wrong in the "mini-depression" of 1937-38, but blamed everything on Roosevelt's failure to go the whole way and let Keynes govern the United States, at least economically (William E. Leuchtenburg, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1932-1940. New York: Harper Perennial, 2009, 242-243). What pro-New Dealers fail to realize even to this day, however, is that the New Deal didn't bring the prosperity of 1939, it was something called World War Two. It was in all the papers, but economists seem to have missed it.

The question becomes, "Is there another way?" Does a people have to accept the imposition of laws alien to their customs, traditions, and beliefs to achieve prosperity? Or can a modern economy be fitted into traditional morality and ethics without violating the essentials of the natural law? Does Ireland have to accept human sacrifice in the form of abortion and all the other currently-popular (and disproved) measures to spur economic development in order to grow economically?

Not according to such diverse thinkers as Jane Jacobs and R. Buckminster Fuller. As Dr. Jacobs pointed out in her book, The Economy of Cities,

It is becoming conventional (especially among the very well-off) to assume that poor and unproductive people cause their own poverty by multiplying — that is, by their very numbers. But if it is true that poverty is indeed caused by overpopulation, then it follows that poor people ought to prosper wherever populations decline appreciably. Things do not work out that way in the real world. (Jane Jacobs, The Economy of Cities. New York: Vintage Books, 1970, 118-119.)

How do things "work out" in the real world? Fuller pointed out some rather obvious facts in his book, Utopia or Oblivion:

While all the metabolic gains are taking place [i.e., as economic and social development takes place], favorable changes in population trends will be realized. Biological population is apparently operative on a quantum basis. Nature increases the seed and fertilization starts in inverse proportion to the probability of successful growth and survival of each of the ecologically complementary species — of all of life on earth. As the chances for maple trees to survive decrease, nature starts more maple-tree seeds whirling off in their rotorships to find plantable sites. . . .

In the same way, the human population's starts, gains, and recessions are geared directly to changing survival and birthrate probabilities. The first 17th-century European colonists in America had an average of 13 children per family. As the first waterworks and sewer systems came into use, improving the sanitary conditions and survival probability, the numbers of children per family swiftly decreased (only reversing momentarily in meager degree to rectify the abnormal deathrates of warfaring) until with full industrialization attained in America, the birthrate is now 1.9 children per family. (R. Buckminster Fuller, Utopia or Oblivion: The Prospects for Humanity. New York: Bantam Books, 1969, 200-201.)

In other words, the more advanced a society becomes, the lower its reproductive rate; lowering the rate of reproduction does not advance a society: "population has a natural tendency to keep within the powers of the soil to afford it subsistence in every gradation through which society passes." (John Weyland, The Principles of Population and Production as They are Affected by the Progress of Society; with a View to Moral and Political Consequences. London: Baldwin, Cradoc, and Joy, 1816, 107.)