Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Lecture Notes 4: A Christian Response to the Global Economic Crisis
Wow - this was one with which I have the strongest possible disagreement. The notes are what he said, not what I think. I asked some pointed questions, and I'm afraid the answers offered were as unsatisfactory as the talk itself. Dr Hughes is an able scholar, and of course he was speaking within the British context. Nevertheless, the defense of forced redistribution of wealth rather than the creation of new wealth was, as I see things, deeply troubling.
Rev Dr John Hughes
Moralism and the Market
Morality and the Market
* Claims that the Free Market is bound up with secularism.
Since 2008-09 intl leaders note that the mkt cannot be an end in itself. “It should be free, but not values free.”
“Are there global economic rules? Markets cannot self-regulate but they can self-destruct.” - Gordon Brown
This is a disavowal of liberal market
“Wealth without fairness...capitalism without a conscience...markets are there to serve...we must shape capitalism to serve...the market is not an end in itself but rather a means to an end...” - David Cameron
The politics of virtue is on the rise.
(But whose principles informing whose conscience?)
Completely laissez faire approaches are only materialist in their view of humanity. It is utterly Darwinian.
Secularism - according to Schmeman - areas of life are viewed as separate from God; Faber notes the dis-enchantment of the world authored by the Puritans led to a work ethic that was inherently secular and materialist.
(Watch out for the Law of unintended consequences!)
The market crisis was a moral crisis in relationship to risk, debt, and de-regulation. These are choices made, not inevitabilities that were impossible to avoid.
“We need rules that make hedge funds and risk visible...” - G Brown
Move away from a culture of irresponsible debt to a culture of Jubilee.
But what is needed is not the pruning of excesses but the a new moral economics and mutuality in market relations.
Red Toryism - Philip Blond (formerly a theologian of the RO)
Re-Moralization of the Market
Classical Liberalism cannot offer authentic moral ends
Resistance to monopolistic capitalism strangling the economy
This is the distributization envisioned by Chesterton and Belloc
2. Re-Capitalization of the Poor.
Compass Group (Blue Labor)
From work ethic to ethic of care
Free from poverty and exclusion
Making economy more local.
The co-inherent economy is ‘body-politic’; it is Christendom in its orientation.
What is the role of the state?
Blond - some role; Compass, more so.
Though global, Blond and Compass are primarily concerned with national issues.
What is the ‘theology’ of the proposals being made.
Caritatis in Veritate - B16 (3rd Encyclical)
Economic Sphere is not Neutral
Economic Decisions are moral Decisions
Profit not an end in itself, but rather service.
Socially responsible businesses
Unionization as Protection of workers (Oh really? Which workers?!!!?)
Decision Making at Local Level rather than state centralism
World-wide re-distribution of Energy and Economic Resources
World Polity - Family of Nations
Waste of Intl Aid by Oppressive Governments is Condemned
Large-Scale re-distribution of wealth global
“Civilizing the economy”
- Charitable works associated with private companies
Charity as ‘Gift-Exchange’
Augustinian and Johannine - participatory not merely private, and reciprocal
Love moves to courageous action
Sharing is at the Heart of the Gospel Message
C. The old division of nature/grace and faith/reason must be overcome.