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‘Logic of the Market’

BY Tom Hoopes

| Posted 11/9/08 at 6:14 PM

 

Another great Register piece that got swallowed by the election was our symposium on the moral dimensions of the economic crisis. The whole thing is worth reading. But I wanted to point out Mark and Louise Zwick’s contribution.

It is a shame that adolescent-hearted men and women yoked liberal Catholicism to theological and moral dissent. Apart from sins of commission, those who did so will have sins of omission to answer for: They have taken a rich vein of Catholic thought and placed it at the service of the abortion, divorce and contraceptive industries. Instead of putting the Church’s wisdom to work in the world, they took the world’s wisdom and used it to throw roadblocks in front of the Church — roadblocks the Church still struggles to surmount.

But not the Zwicks.

“God brought Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin together to form the Catholic Worker movement at a time when the world was facing an economic crash similar to today’s,” they write in the Nov. 9 issue. “They critiqued robber barons, banks, the financial system and the free market ideology known in their time as laissez-faire capitalism. They did not look to socialism as a solution, but were able to develop an alternative based on the Gospel, Catholic social teaching and the lives of the saints.”

They continue:

“Jesus said his Gospel is not about building bigger barns (or bigger banks). It is about giving rather than receiving. The economy that is collapsing has been based on ‘barn building’ and on individual and corporate self-interest. Its marks have included a scandalous divide between salaries of CEOs and workers in their companies around the world, and deregulation and privatization have left the market to wolves. Banks have pursued reckless policies that benefit only themselves. People are owned by their credit cards and by debt at exorbitant interest rates. Environmental concerns have been sacrificed,” they say. “The media, which might inform the citizenry, are a part of the conglomerates.”

They quote Cardinal Renato Martino saying: “The logic of the market up to now has been that of maximum earnings, of making investments to obtain the greatest possible profit. And this, according to the social teaching of the Church, is immoral.”

They aren’t the only voice in our symposium. We also hear from:

    Carl Anderson, supreme knight of the Knights of Columbus.
    Father Robert Sirico, president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, Mich.
    Frank J. Hanna, CEO of Hanna Capital, LLC, in Atlanta.
    Father Allen B. Moran, assistant professor of economics at Providence College in Rhode Island (web only).
    and George Schwartz, president of Schwartz Investment Counsel Inc. in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., which serves as adviser to the Ave Maria Mutual Funds.

We were surprised with the quality of all the presentations. They are brief, readable and deep.

But reading the Zwicks is truly refreshing. Pray for God to send us more men and women of the left who respect the right to life without qualification and accept Christian morality without compromise.

— Tom Hoopes