There are really only two paths in economics: Moral and Amoral. That’s it. Either economies are governed by a system of morals, or they’re not. That’s all there is to it.
Basically, economics is just morality (or lack thereof) by another name. There’s really nothing all that complicated about it. Either we have a moral economic system, or we don’t. This is what the Catholic Church tells us about economics, especially as given to us through the social encyclicals of the popes going back about 130 years, starting with Rerum Novarum by Pope Leo XIII in 1891.
Contrary, to popular belief, the Catholic Church does not (and never has) prescribed a particular economic system, but rather sits in judgement of them all based on the moral teachings of the gospel an natural law. The Church has deemed all forms of Marxism (communism, socialism, fascism and democratic-socialism) to be morally defective, and cannot be condoned under Christian teaching. While the Church has simultaneously deemed capitalism to be morally deficient in that while it is permissible for Christians to condone and participate in capitalist systems, they should seek morally superior ways of participating in the economy whenever available. So in other words, capitalism is deficient, meaning lacking or incomplete, while all forms of Marxism are defective, meaning broken from the start. You can tweak capitalism to make it more moral. You can add to it, subtract from it, encourage certain behaviors, etc., if you have a moral will to do so. But no amount of tweaking will ever fix Marxism (of any kind) because it’s structurally flawed from the start. It needs to be abandoned.
The basic principle of a moral economy, according to Catholic teaching and natural law, is ownership. People, meaning individuals and families, need to have some kind of ownership of the economy. More specifically, they need to have some kind of ownership of the work they do. Put another way, people need to own their jobs! Whether they own them totally as in a small business, or partially as in a worker-owned cooperative, is not nearly as important as having some kind of ownership.
Today, I want to challenge my readers to do something a little different. I’m going to ask you to do a little self-education, or distance learning. You see, the problem too many Catholics have, which is a problem systemic in Christian culture in general, is a total lack of understanding about economics. Most Christians aren’t afraid to tell you they know nothing about economics, and while their honesty is admirable, their admitted ignorance is a tragedy. Muslims tend to know more about economics than Christians do, and this is a weak point not in Christianity itself, but in Christian culture. It’s a cultural problem, and sadly, it’s allowed many unchristian actors (of various types) to take advantage of us and our societies.
I’m going to challenge you here to change all that. The problem is not religious, for Christian religion has much to say about economics. The Catholic Church has 130 years of social encyclicals on the topic. The problem is Christians themselves. We’re culturally deprived of this important knowledge about our own faith. We can debate the reasons for this from now until kingdom-come, but it’s irrelevant at this point. What is far more relevant is fixing the problem, and that begins with you.
I’m challenging you to take a short course in the morality of economics. It consists of a series of about 14 short videos. I want you to bookmark this page, and come back to it frequently. The videos must be watched sequentially, so I’ve provided the link below. You might need to watch some, stop and then come back to them later, but be sure you do come back to finish them. You may want to re-watch certain ones. I promise you, none of these videos are boring or complicated. They’re actually quite simple and easy to understand. Everything is done in common layman’s terms.
What’s beautiful about these videos is the realization that in most Western countries, the United States in particular, the principles of these videos can be enacted without any legislative changes by government. That’s because their success is entirely dependent upon us — you and me — not the government. These principles have been enacted fully, with great success, in European nations far more regulated than our own here in the US. If they can do it, we can do it better. We already have everything we need. The only thing lacking is a change in thinking, and a will to do it.
That’s the hard part. Most of us already have the will, in some way or another. It’s the thinking that stops us. We’re so brainwashed by the current economic paradigm, that we find it difficult to imagine any other way. That has to change, and Christians can change it, because everything you’re about to watch in this video series comes straight out of the gospel and natural law. It’s as Christian as anything can be…
Once you have watched this video series, I’m going to ask you to do one more thing. What you do with this knowledge is up to you, and that’s really none of my business. Instead, what I’m going to ask you to do now is share this information with others. Please share this whole blog entry. I’m going to turn the comment box off, so you don’t have to worry about people interjecting things you don’t want your friends to see or be bothered with. What they will see will be exactly what you saw, and nothing more. Below are some share icons you can use for social media. There is also an email icon to use for those who like to share by email. Please, do whatever you can to get this valuable information out there, and let the world know we don’t need to be subject to the wild speculations of the stock market, or the crushing economic consequences of recessions. There is another way, and it is a way of freedom, that doesn’t involve the government, but does involve us. May God bless us and save us. Amen.
Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books and an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism. His articles have been featured on LifeSiteNews, ChurchMilitant, The Remnant Newspaper, Forward in Christ, and Catholic Online. You can read Shane’s books at ShaneSchaetzel.Com