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Pope Criticizes Unregulated Financial Capitalism

Pope Criticizes Unregulated Financial Capitalism

 

Pope criticizes unregulated financial capitalism

Pope criticizes unregulated financial capitalism

Pope on New Year’s Day: find inner peace in God

Although the world is sadly marked by “hotbeds of tension and conflict caused by growing instances of inequality between rich and poor, by the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated financial capitalism,” as well as by various forms of terrorism and crime, I am convinced that “the many different efforts at peacemaking which abound in our world testify to mankind’s innate vocation to peace. In every person the desire for peace is an essential aspiration which coincides in a certain way with the desire for a full, happy and successful human life. In other words, the desire for peace corresponds to a fundamental moral principle, namely, the duty and right to an integral social and communitarian development, which is part of God’s plan for mankind. Man is made for the peace which is God’s gift.

Pope on New Year’s Day: find inner peace in God

I was reading the online news when I ran across this headline from Huff Post Religion: (Above is the exact quote from the Pope’s short statement.)

Pope Slams Capitalism, Inequality Between Rich And Poor In New Years Message

I do not believe that the headline is an accurate description of the Pope’s brief statement. The Pope says “unregulated financial capitalism.” It would appear to me we are talking about unregulated financial markets and there is probably a veiled reference to the banking scandals of 2012.

I have read a good deal about Catholic Social Doctrine but had never considered it anti-capitalistic. I had certainly noted it as being extremely hostile to free market fundamentalism but I don’t mistake that belief system for capitalism.

Maybe the headline was just meant to attract readers to click in on it, but I think what the Pope says about our current financial system is worth reflecting on.

James Pilant

From around the web –

From the web site, Front Porch Republic:

“The answer is obviously complex. If by “capitalism” is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative, even though it would perhaps be more appropriate to speak of a “business economy,” “market economy” or simply “free economy.” But if by “capitalism” is meant a system in which freedom in the economic sector is not circumscribed within a strong juridical framework which places it at the service of human freedom in its totality and sees it as a particular aspect of that freedom, the core of which is ethical and religious, then the reply is certainly negative. …

From the web site, Political Snapshots:

What grasped my total interest and attention was his just attack on unrestrained capitalism without any ethics. He wrote, “Once profit becomes the exclusive goal, if it is produced by improper means and without the common good as its ultimate end, it risks destroying wealth and creating poverty. “ As someone who has been concerned with anarcho-capitalism (an economic system that destroys government regulation of the economy, and creates anarchy within the global economic system) I think the Pope’s comments on capitalism is timely.

 

The conscious deregulation of the economy that started during the Reagan administration in the U.S. reached its climax during President George W. Bush’s tenure and has brought the global economic chaos the world is in at the moment. Their bankrupt economic theory of the  market policing itself, has proven to be as hollow as their dreams of making trillions of dollars without manufacturing anything.

And finally from the web site, Here and Now 2012 Indy Info:

The pope said economic models that seek maximum profit and consumption and encourage competition at all costs had failed to look after the basic needs of manyThousands of peace marchers carrying rainbow banners released balloons in cold St Peter’s Square as the pope spoke.

A longer version of the Pope’s annual message was sent to heads of state, government and non-governmental organizations on December 14th.

Reuters reports that in that message “the Pope called for a new economic model and ethical regulations for markets, saying the global financial crisis was proof that capitalism does not protect the weakest members of society.”

The pope said economic models that seek maximum profit and consumption and encourage competition at all costs had failed to look after the basic needs of many and could sow social unrest.

 

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Regulate Guns to Make Them Safer?

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Regulate Guns to Make Them Safer?

The following quote is from an article in the online magazine, Slate:  We Have the Technology To Make Safer Guns, Too bad gunmakers don’t care., By

Why aren’t gunmakers making safer guns? Because guns are exempt from most of the consumer safety laws that improved the rest of American life. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, which was established in 1972, is charged with looking over thousands of different kinds of products. If you search its database for “guns,” you’ll find lots of recalls of defective air pistols and lead-covered toy guns but nothing about real firearms. That’s because the CPSC is explicitly prohibited from regulating firearms. If you’re injured by a gun, you can’t even go to court. In 2005, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which immunizes gun makers against lawsuits resulting from “misuse” of the products. If they can’t be sued and can’t be regulated, gunmakers have no incentive to make smarter guns. It’s the Pinto story in reverse.

This is certainly a business ethics question. Whatever a person believes about having firearms, there is a separate question of whether or not the manufacturers should be held to the standards we hold other products to. Millions of guns are purchased each year and are an inherently dangerous product. So, why don’t we regulate guns as intensively as toys? What is it about this industry that makes it worthy to be immune to lawsuits while other products are not similarly placed?

I would suggest that gun control, is such a hot topic that rational conversation is difficult and rational action even more difficult. If this is the case, why not shift the discussion to a different plane, product safety?

What if our most recent mass killer had got up that morning,went to the weapon he intended to use (in this case, his mother’s) and found it wouldn’t work? That might have changed everything. And why wouldn’t it work? It would have had a feature on that recognized its owner and no other as being able to fire it, a smart gun. Smart gun technology would not eliminate mass shootings, but since a good number are committed with stolen or borrowed weapons, it would certainly curb them. The smart gun technology is just one of the things that could be done in a regulatory environment in which protecting consumers becomes the focus of the law instead of protecting gunmakers.

James Pilant

 

 

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Re-Occupy Wall Street?

The Radical Rich: Moving From Romney to Re-Occupy | OurFuture.org

David Frum, a conservative and former George W. Bush speechwriter, gets it. Frum writes that “what makes it all both so heart-rending and so outrageous is that all this is occurring at a time when economically disadvantaged Americans have never been so demoralized and passive, never exerted less political clout. No Coxey’s army is marching on Washington, no sit-down strikes are paralyzing factories, no squatters are moving onto farmer’s fields.”

Beautifully said. Frum’s batting average dips slightly as he continues: “Occupy Wall Street immediately fizzled, there is no protest party of the political left.”

Occupy didn’t “fizzle.” It attracted massive support almost overnight. Within weeks it had dramatically transformed the national conversation. Democrats from the president on down were forced to address issues of economic injustice, at least rhetorically, instead of negotiating destructive (and pro-wealthy) austerity deals with the Republican counterparts.

But the powers arrayed against Occupy – in the media, in politics, and elsewhere – combined with the winter winds to force it into hibernation.

Frum’s absolutely right, however, when he says there’s “no protest party of the political left” – although I’d drop the word “protest” and make it simply a party, one that can win rather than just siphon off votes. That won’t happen without a mass movement.

That’s why it’s time to re-Occupy our country. In fact, maybe it should’ve been called “Re-Occupy” all along. It was, and it remains, a re-occupation – of our privatized public spaces and our privatized political discourse. Occupy, or something like it, is the only force that has a chance against the power of the Radical Rich.

The Radical Rich: Moving From Romney to Re-Occupy | OurFuture.org

 

The 1% Get Richer

Occupy Wall Street isn’t dead. Is it morphing into something new, Re-occupy Wall Street? What that is, I am not able to clearly define. No one can. A collection of individuals determined not to be co-opted by the existing political parties is bound to seek an independent course.

I like this piece by Richard (RJ) Eskow. I have seen it quoted many times in the blogs I read but I am using a part  seldom quoted. I have spoken to wealthy individuals on a few occasions and Eskow is quite right, they are enraged at a nation in which their money goes to support the “entitled.” They go to enormous lengths to remain uninformed and their resentment can even fall on their employees (and the occasional waitress.) They burn with disgust at how others are not like them. They see themselves as virtuous, hard working and vital to the nation. The others they see as parasites. Whether or not, they follow Ayn Rand, they have the John Galt thing down perfectly.

This is a pretty incredible amount of hubris. The Classical Greeks would have been appalled. I am appalled. To whom so much has been given and so little asked, there is so little perception of being fortunate just persecuted.

Whether justice in this matter will be settled in this world or the next, is not something I am given to know.

James Pilant

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Robert Samuelson Complains About the Paint Job on the Titanic: Yet Another Deficit Whine | Beat the Press

From the Article

In a column on Monday Samuelson told us of his “fantasy”:

“Retired presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush would tour the country together and apologize. They would apologize for not tackling Social Security and Medicare when they had the chance.”

What a fantasy! Here we are sitting in the middle of the wreckage of the housing bubble and we are supposed to be upset at Presidents Clinton and Bush for not cutting Social Security and Medicare.

I too have a fantasy: “Robert Samuelson travels the country and talks to the elderly who would be homeless or hungry without Social Security. He then visits one of the free medical fairs where hundreds and sometimes thousand of middle class Americans try to get the medical care they can no longer afford because they have no insurance. And finally, that Samuelson would free his mind from free market absolutism and make decisions based on facts.”

As long as Samuelson lives, the top one percent will never lack a propagandist for their point of view. Are millions out of work – No Big Deal. But could in twenty years, America’s deficit cause poor returns on bond investments – My Gracious, something has got to be done and it better be immediate!

The deficit is a minor problem in comparison with the financial fraud of the 2008 collapse, widespread mortgage fraud, the international financial crisis particularly in Europe, the war in Afghanistan and the unemployment crisis in the United States. No amount of Washington Post editorializing will change those facts.

But as far as the top one percent are concerned, facts are meaningless. Their concerns are the only legitimate concerns and they intend to get something done. If not by votes or elections, then by a fourth politburo style committee of both houses of Congress designed to impose their vision of Social Security and Medicare cuts while leaving all the other current priorities unaddressed.

These self centered fools, in particular the editorial page of the Washington Post, deserve little but contempt for their one sided propagandizing. They can do better and their customers and their nation deserve some active journalism instead of slavish devotion to ideas an intelligent child would dismiss.

James Pilant

P.S. Please click the link below and visit Beat the Press and read the whole article. My comments can never equal the full impact of the complete writing.

Robert Samuelson Complains About the Paint Job on the Titanic: Yet Another Deficit Whine | Beat the Press

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Control Fraud as White Collar Crime And William K. Black

 This is fascinating. Essentially William K. Black is modifying out concepts of White Collar Crime (The Lord knows it needs it!).

White collar crime is a concept still burdened by its original definition. These kinds of crimes are no longer centered on such things as embezzlement but on subverting entire nations.

Here Black explains what he means by the concept –

Here’s a fuller treatment by the author.

When Fragile becomes Friable: Endemic Control Fraud as a Cause of Economic Stagnation and Collapse

Individual “control frauds” cause greater losses than all other forms of property crime combined. They are financial super-predators. Control frauds are crimes led by the head of state or CEO that use the nation or company as a fraud vehicle. Waves of “control fraud” can cause economic collapses, damage and discredit key institutions vital to good political governance, and erode trust. The defining element of fraud is deceit – the criminal creates and then betrays trust. Fraud, therefore, is the strongest acid to eat away at trust. Endemic control fraud causes institutions and trust to become friable – to crumble – and produce economic stagnation.

Read More!

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