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Capitalism: A New Tyranny

 
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Ya-ta Boy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: Established in 1994

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 8:35 pm    Post subject: Capitalism: A New Tyranny Reply with quote

Here is something you (I really) don't expect to hear everyday. And from the Pope no less.

From his EVANGELII GAUDIUM

We can only praise the steps being taken to improve people’s welfare in areas such as health care, education and communications. At the same time we have to remember that the majority of our contemporaries are barely living from day to day, with dire consequences. A number of diseases are spreading. The hearts of many people are gripped by fear and desperation, even in the so-called rich countries. The joy of living frequently fades, lack of respect for others and violence are on the rise, and inequality is increasingly evident. It is a struggle to live and, often, to live with precious little dignity...

53. Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “disposable” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.
54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. To sustain a lifestyle which excludes others, or to sustain enthusiasm for that selfish ideal, a globalization of indifference has developed. Almost without being aware of it, we end up being incapable of feeling compassion at the outcry of the poor, weeping for other people’s pain, and feeling a need to help them, as though all this were someone else’s responsibility and not our own. The culture of prosperity deadens us; we are thrilled if the market offers us something new to purchase; and in the meantime all those lives stunted for lack of opportunity seem a mere spectacle; they fail to move us.

No to the new idolatry of money

55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits. In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule.

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

57. Behind this attitude lurks a rejection of ethics and a rejection of God. Ethics has come to be viewed with a certain scornful derision. It is seen as counterproductive, too human, because it makes money and power relative. It is felt to be a threat, since it condemns the manipulation and debasement of the person. In effect, ethics leads to a God who calls for a committed response which is outside of the categories of the marketplace. When these latter are absolutized, God can only be seen as uncontrollable, unmanageable, even dangerous, since he calls human beings to their full realization and to freedom from all forms of enslavement. Ethics – a non-ideological ethics – would make it possible to bring about balance and a more humane social order. With this in mind, I encourage financial experts and political leaders to ponder the words of one of the sages of antiquity: “Not to share one’s wealth with the poor is to steal from them and to take away their livelihood. It is not our own goods which we hold, but theirs.”

This section comes from Chapter 2, paragraphs 50-75 of a much longer apostolic exhortation.

While, like Stalin, I could ask with skepticism how many divisions the pope has, John Paul II did play an important role in the collapse of the Soviet Union and this new pope has made quite a splash. Occupy Wall Street and its local iterations did bring the issue of inequality into the realm of public discussion. The issue of an increase in the minimum wage is growing in importance. My reading of the pope's position paper doesn't jibe very well with Paul Ryan's proposal for dealing with poverty with just 'spiritual redemption' and leaving it at that.

Along the same lines, some poor woman wrote a blog about what it is like being poor and the post went viral: Rest is a luxury for the rich. I get up at 6AM, go to school (I have a full course load, but I only have to go to two in-person classes) then work, then I get the kids, then I pick up my husband, then I have half an hour to change and go to Job 2. I get home from that at around 1230AM, then I have the rest of my classes and work to tend to. I'm in bed by 3. This isn't every day, I have two days off a week from each of my obligations. I use that time to clean the house and soothe Mr. Martini and see the kids for longer than an hour and catch up on schoolwork. Those nights I'm in bed by midnight, but if I go to bed too early I won't be able to stay up the other nights because I'll *beep* my pattern up, and I drive an hour home from Job 2 so I can't afford to be sleepy. I never get a day off from work unless I am fairly sick. It doesn't leave you much room to think about what you are doing, only to attend to the next thing and the next. Planning isn't in the mix.

http://killermartinis.kinja.com/why-i-make-terrible-decisions-or-poverty-thoughts-1450123558

It looks like the Catholic Church has found its own Elizabeth Warren.

Personally, I welcome a view to compete with the 'I've got mine and the rest of you are on your own' view that has dominated for far too long.
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Rteacher



Joined: 23 May 2005
Location: Western MA, USA

PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2013 9:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This sharply contrasts with those who have somehow tailored their "faith" to rationalize their own greed and disdain for the poor.
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Unposter



Joined: 04 Jun 2006

PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya-ta,

I don't know what to make of what you copied in your OP but I thoroughly agree that our collective values have gotten totally out of whack and we need to make changes.

On the other hand, inequality has reached that critical point IMHO where an ability to "fight the powers" has pretty much vanished.

Personally, I think the first step has to be a more progressive tax system, followed by campaign finance reform.

But, going back to inequality, good luck with any of that...
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Ya-ta Boy



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: Established in 1994

PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If a pope issues his platform criticizing the prevailing corporate ethos and the corporate-owned media doesn't report it, does it make a sound?

It will be interesting to see if this is widely discussed in the media or just ignored. In particular, it will be interesting how the more outwardly Catholic pundits like Andrew Sullivan, Ross Douthat, and Tim Carney deal with it, especially as at least 2 of them are libertarians.
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The Cosmic Hum



Joined: 09 May 2003
Location: Sonic Space

PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya-ta Boy wrote:
If a pope issues his platform criticizing the prevailing corporate ethos and the corporate-owned media doesn't report it, does it make a sound?

From the aritcle.
Quote:
To all this we can add widespread corruption and self-serving tax evasion, which have taken on worldwide dimensions. The thirst for power and possessions knows no limits.


The Pope, and the Catholic church, speaking from vast experience on this very subject no doubt.

The Catholic Church is a corporation unlike any other...and add tax exemption.
Talk about hypocrisy...or was it self criticism? Rolling Eyes
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NohopeSeriously



Joined: 17 Jan 2011
Location: The Christian Right-Wing Educational Republic of Korea

PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What the world needs are transparent banks run by honest Christians.
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frankhenry



Joined: 13 Mar 2007

PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NohopeSeriously wrote:
What the world needs are transparent banks run by honest Christians.


can't find enough honest christians to run a 5 cup lemonade-stand
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Juregen



Joined: 30 May 2006

PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2013 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NohopeSeriously wrote:
What the world needs are transparent banks run by honest Christians.


OxyMORON alert
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kengreen



Joined: 19 Jan 2011

PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Capitalism sucks. Case closed.
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yodanole



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Location: La Florida

PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greed is what sucks.......and capitalism is mostly based on greed.
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