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Today we turn our attention to another aspect of the lecture that Cardinal Reinhard “Bling” Marx delivered at Stanford University, as related by the Jesuit magazine America. (see here). Today’s topic will focus in on the economic aspects of card. “Bling” Marx’s speech. We will “data mine” the speech for information to try and get an accurate understanding of both the message that Marx was trying to convey and try to get further confirmation that our hypothesis is correct.
And just a reminder, our hypothesis states that: Marx is an ideologue who is promoting a “left position” ideology and his positions have very little if anything to do with Catholic social teaching
Man Marking Marx – The Visible Hand
Today we examine another paragraph that appeared in the America article, namely:
In identifying a couple of the main challenges in the Western world today, Cardinal Marx said, “We must think beyond capitalism. We have to create a model nearer to the social market economy.” This economic model includes strong social protections for vulnerable members of society.
And just like in the last post, we identified three key points that Marx is making. I have emphasized them.
With respect to the first key point, the cardinal of ”Bling” is referring EXCLUSIVELY to the Western world, i.e.
US, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Portugal, Denmark, Belgium, Holland, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Czech Rep., Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Greece and Malta.
Next we need to define “capitalism”, or the “that” which Marx “thinks we must think beyond”. Capitalism is defined as follows: (see here)
Capitalism is an economic system in which trade, industries, and the means of production are largely or entirely privately owned and operated for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labour and, in many models, competitive markets. In a capitalist economy, the parties to a transaction typically determine the prices at which assets, goods, and services are exchanged.
Now Marx claims that it is “capitalism” as defined above, that we need to “think beyond”. So then the logical question arises, what could possibly be “beyond capitalism”? What I think he is suggesting is to find an alternative to “capitalism”. This is in fact confirmed by his next sentence.
From the definition we can infer that an alternative system would have characteristics that “capitalism” doesn’t have. In other words, the alternative system would be:
an economic system where the means of production are owned by the ruling authority (state), the means of production would not be operated for profit, there would be no private property, no capital accumulation and wage labour and markets would be centrally regulate. Transaction prices as well as production and consumption of assets, goods and services would be centrally planned.
Well, we know what a system with the central characteristics describe above is called. It is called Communism or one of its variants.
Surely, cardinal “Bling” Marx is not suggesting that we transform the Western world’s economies, the most healthy and prosperous economies known to man, into a failed communist system, an economic system that imploded no less than 30 years earlier in Russia and China, and is still imploding today in countries like Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela?
Here is what card. Marx says:
We have to create a model nearer to the social market economy.”
Looking up the definition of what a “social market economy” entails, here is what we find:
The social market economy is a form of market capitalism combined with a social policy favoring social insurance, and is sometimes classified as a coordinated market economy.
Well, at least it’s not Communism.
But with a man like Marx, one who has problems with basic definitions and calling things by name, further investigation is definitely in order. But I digress…
Back to the subject at hand. What card. Marx is suggesting is that the Western world develop another form of capitalism called “social market economy”. So the two follow up questions would be: what are the central characteristics of this “social market model” and how do they differ from the present capitalist system that is in place. Returning to our definition, we find that the main elements of this “social market model “ are: (emphasis added)
• The social market contains central elements of a free market economy such as private property, free foreign trade, exchange of goods, and free formation of prices.
• In contrast to the situation in a free market economy, the state is not passive and actively implements regulative measures. Some elements, such as pension insurance, universal health care and unemployment insurance are part of the social security system. These insurances are funded by a combination of employee contributions, employer contributions and government subsidies. The social policy objectives include employment, housing and education policies, as well as a socio-politically motivated balancing of the distribution of income growth. In addition, there are provisions to restrain the free market (e.g., anti-trust code, laws against the abuse of market power, etc.). These elements help to diminish many of the occurring problems of a free market economy.
But, but, but… the above described central characteristics are exactly the same as those that operate in
EVERY SINGLE COUNTRY IN THE WESTERN
So on the surface at least, Cardinal “Bling” Marx appears to be speaking gibberish. It would appear that Cardinal Marx must be ignorant about how countries in the Western world are organized. But what is even more strange is that Cardinal Marx is the lead advisor to an organization that is comprised of 28 such counties, i.e. the European Union. So pleading ignorance on the part of Marx would be hard to believe.
Therefore there has to be an alternative explanation.
One alternative explanation would be as follows, and appears in the Wikipedia definition of “Christian Communism”:
Christian communism can be seen as a radical form of Christian socialism. Also, because many Christian communists have formed independent stateless communes in the past, there is a link between Christian communism and Christian anarchism. Christian communists may not agree with various parts of Marxism, but they share some political goals of Marxists, for example replacing capitalism with socialism, which should in turn be followed by communism at a later point in the future. However, Christian communists sometimes disagree with Marxists (and particularly with Leninists) on the way a socialist or communist society should be organized.
Now if we were to “devise” an economic system whose central characteristics would match up against those central characteristics that card. Reinhard “Bling” Marx described and we were able to “un-pack” through our analysis, from the above quoted passage from his speech, this “Christian Communism” would be a very good fit.
Concluding, it is plainly obvious that what Marx is suggesting is that the Western world get rid of their economic system, one whose central characteristics are the ownership of private property and whose rates (prices) of exchange are determined by market forces, i.e. a natural law based system. What he suggests the Western world should put in place is a system with collective ownership rights of property and centrally planned market for exchange rates, production and consumption, i.e. some variant of communism.
This above description of what Marx is suggesting is further confirmed by the fact that Marx’s “common good” is in fact is a “collective good” , the definition of which is; “though possessed by all as a group, is not really participated in by the members of a group. It is actually divided up into several private goods when apportioned to the different individual members”.
And Christian Communism fits perfectly with what Marx’s defines as the central tenets of his “collective good”. Just to remind you dear reader, these are: “problems that affect whole world” (globalization), “common good” (redistribution of wealth), “climate change” (more government regulations on a global scale) and “human rights” (international legal structures). And all of them can be “sold, transferred or removed”. A simple government decree will do the trick.
Given the above, it is plain to see that Marx is your typical leftist ideologue. What he is trying to do is promote a “collectivist” ideology using pseudo-sacral homo-poetic rhetoric since he cannot tell the audience what it is he really thinks and what his true agenda is. He has the same problem as any other leftist ideologue, and that is that his ideology is not rational (reason based) and its tenets are for the most part contradictory to natural law. But since he is an ideologue, by definition he is an “often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology” and an impractical idealist.
But if you are living on the Kirchensteuer payer’s dime, results really aren’t an issue.