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Our present material abundance was no accident, and incredibly rare April 9, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, Society.

One of the greatest tools of those who push collectivist schemes is a general ignorance of history.  Since those who advocate for collectivism typically motivate acceptance of these schemes on the basis of hatred and envy, it is to their great advantage to make the present status of things appear terrible, awful, an absolute crisis that must be addressed.  Then, with everyone so convinced, the necessary support is there to forcibly transfer wealth, or nationalize industries, or whatever.  The important thing to convince people that the way things are today is horrible, and must change immediately.

And things are problematic today, in a micro-sense, but in a macro-sense we are living amidst the greatest plenty the world has ever known.  There are many reasons for that plenty, but I am convinced that the general free exchange of goods and services made within a generally Christian sense of morality is one of the most primary, aside from the Good God’s beneficence.  To the extent we have problems, they are largely because we have abandoned those freedoms and moralities which created this great abundance of wealth and prosperity.  Not that wealth and prosperity should be our focus, but never in human history have so many lived so comfortably and with such ease,with many concommitant material benefits.  But so few today are cognizant of the fact that this creation, this immense wealth and power and comfort, is unprecedented in human history and incredibly fragile.  It is also being more and more frequently pressured to the point that the whole system may collapse, the consequences of which are difficult to contemplate.

I found the video below very interesting.  Most of the men in my mom’s family worked for the Rock Island Railroad before it folded in 1980 or so.  The video explains how we benefit from this free relatively exchange of goods and services and from the efficiencies that can be had from cheap, voluminous transportation, mass production of goods, modern farming techniques, etc., etc.  While it may be a bit self-serving, it contains a great deal of truth.  It highlights how cheap transport makes the mass production system possible, and how many items from vastly disparate locations must be transported to produce almost any given item.

I know many traditional type Catholics have a certain hostility to what they describe as capitalism, and what they describe as such I agree is very problematic, but it ain’t traditional capitalism.  No, it’s corporate capitalism with a large dose of socialism, the government being deeply involved in picking winners and losers and establishing policies that favor huge mega-corporations over small and medium size businesses.   Having said that, I don’t believe distributism, frequently touted by some traditionalist types as a utopian economic system, is a realistic option for any society beyond a late 18th century level of development.  A nice group of Catholics in Montana can not own and operate a transcontinental railroad, or an international shipping line, or build and operate a nuclear reactor nor any power plant of industrial scale, or develop, market, and transport modern medicines, or a global telecommunications system, or any of a million other things.  Such efforts require corporations, large groups of people working toward a common goal with capital that can be raised on a massive scale.

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