Center for Economic and Social Justice

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So many groups have names that are so much alike, that I am left to wonder. I stumbled across this site, thanks to an e-mail I received and found some interesting information on it. I will explore further, but I welcome any input. Economic and Social justice are incredibly important to me, but given the experience of the Methodist Church, a large part of which became derailed with the Social Gospel movement of the 50s and 60s, I am wary. The two documents on the site that I saw do bear imprimaturs, but if anyone has anything to share about the group, I would love to hear it.

However, the following passage does give me a clue:

Let us start with a simple thesis. Political democracy cannot preserve the institutions of a free society unless everyone can participate on an equal basis. An economically free and classless society - another way of describing economic democracy - is therefore both a goal and a means for supporting political democracy.

Is an "economic democracy" an necessary concomittant of a political democracy? I don't think so. And while I do not necessarily reject the validity of an economic democracy, I find this kind of argument vaguely manipulative. But then I'm leaping to conclusions. And, I really wanted to get TSO's goat this morning. Now I'll be classed with the Marxists of the world (get a clue people--it hasn't worked on a large scale ANYWHERE where the government wasn't absolutely horrendously oppressive and rife with corruption). But, so be it. I like the idea of economic democracy to a greater or lesser extent. Particularly when I hear about the spectacular contributions so-and-so made to the economy, when those contributions were the results of the workers actually producing the product, not necessarily the CEO watching the bottom line. But now I know I'm entering really dicey territory both because (1) I don't really know what I'm talking about except anecdotally; and (2) this isn't a passion (see TSO's post of yesterday or this morning about that--wonderful work.)

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Economically classless societies don't exist, nor are they possible; neither do politically classless societies exist, nor are they possible.

There is a natural division among human beings, because some people prefer some kinds of work (e.g. investors vs. management vs. labor; voters vs. public service vs. civil service).

What is necessary is a maximum of economic and political freedom; that is, the ability for people to move about these classes as they choose and/or are able. Typically, the very people who espouse "economically classless societies" simultaneously endores economic serfdom: i.e., systems where it is virtually impossible to move from one class to another. European socialism, for example.

I am quite agreeable to the notion that we have to work to protect people who find themselves in the lower strata of the economic classes. I am not agreeable to the notion that we must sacrifice significant economic freedoms to an ever-increasing number of magically appearing rights which never existed before capitalism made them possible: universal health care, contraception covered by insurance, the right to kill and/or be killed, the right to a pension that will support you in your old age even if you haven't saved a dime to prepare for retirement, etc.

Sorry: by "the right to kill and/or be killed," I meant "abortion and euthanasia." Forgot to go back & edit.

Go to Mass, find a candle, and say, "This is for the Holy Souls to pray for our deviant country." Thus, the THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of souls will do exactly that. Thus, the souls will in fact greet you when you arrive in Heaven fulla joy N thanxgiving. God bless you.

"economic democracy" -- what's that? 51% vote to confiscate the wealth of the other 49%? What's Norman Kurland's knowledge of economics anyway?

For a contrast check out The Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty

Dear Mr. Sweeney,

Thank you very much for the Acton Link.

I think that the heart of people behind economic and social justice is in the right place, but I'm not sure how successful their version of economics is likely to be. As with many things of this ilk--they look to the very best (idealistic) but in so doing neglect the sad reality of our fallen nature. No human person would long endure under this state of economic democracy, whatever that may be.

Nevertheless, as with all such groups, I think they provide a needed counterweight to extremists on the other side--the Objectivists among us.

But the acton link is very fine.



I'm not sure the above commentators actually read the material on the CESJ website; there are a lot of misconceptions. E.g., one seems to have confused the fact that society is hierarchical with the demand for a classless society -- one in which everyone enjoys equal rights and access to social goods, such as the vote and use of capital credit.

Another item is that on the website it gives Dr. Kurland's credentials -- a graduate of the "Law and Economics Program" of the University of Chicago. I also find that the definition of "economic democracy" is in the glossary on the website -- everyone enjoying equal economic opportunity, not equal economic results, an approach with which Acton wholly agrees. In fact, the only significant difference I can see between what Acton advocates and what CESJ proposes is that Acton does not recognize social and legal barriers exist preventing or inhibiting ordinary people from acquiring and possessing property, while CESJ advocates taking positive action to remove barriers and provide a level playing field so that all have equal opportunity -- not imposition by the State of equal results.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on December 3, 2004 8:14 AM.

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