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Vix Pervenit

August 26, 2012

Alleluia! Catholics have begun to embrace the economics of self-determination and reject their traditional blind support of a directed economy, i.e. socialism. Unfortunately, these recent converts have lighted on the only other form of economic organisation with which they are familiar, i.e. capitalism, which offers economic agents free choice, but only in the first order.

In their haste to throw-off the errors of the past, economically-minded Catholics have rushed to embrace another directed economic model, albeit one where the directing hand is less visible than the mailed fist of the state. To put it crudely, socialism is a factory farm, capitalism is free-range. But the end result is the same – slaughter.

Ironically, Catholics have adopted capitalism just as it is going to fail us (not an original sentiment!) because capitalism’s aggregated abuses are creating multiple crises in the system. This blog is not to catalogue the decline of capitalism, but to offer and critique* other models of self-directed economics, in concordance with the Church’s teachings. Helping Catholics, I hope, to understand that the Church’s teachings on the natural law pertain to economics as much as to ethics.

Hence the name of the blog, Vix Pervenit, the title of an encyclical from Pope Benedict XIV dated November 1st, 1745. It is known is English as, “On Usury and Other Dishonest Profit” and it declares that the charging of interest on loans (ANY interest, not just payday loan-type interest) is immoral. Catholics in middle age and older may be able to recall that the Church at one time condemned usury, but think somehow the teaching was abrogated. Well it wasn’t, isn’t and presumably never will be. If you want a single mechanical cause for the state the world’s economy is in, it is due to usury and other dishonest profit. What is an example of dishonest profit? How about a bank creating money out of thin air, getting a debtor to agree to pay back the money, not in thin air but in the product of their labour, plus usury on thin air! Even non-Catholics are beginning to recognise the impossibility of operating a debt-based money system and until we fix that, then we are going to keep lurching from crisis to crisis.

A return to Catholic morality is the only way to minimise the misery of this world – I am no Utopian. I have it on good authority that we will always have the poor with us, and that we are here to suffer – but unless nations embrace Catholic morality as an empirical necessity, even if they reject the transcendental authority, the sum of human misery will be magnitudes larger than it needs to be.

* I will not post any replies that offer a scintilla of criticism of the Church, nor ad hominem attacks. Those who wish, may vent their spleens on the economic systems considered.


From → Chapter 1

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