Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 27, 2013

Pope Francis Takes On Neo-Liberalism

Pope Francis released an Apostolic Exhortation which explains his views about how and whereto the catholic church should move. A part of it is a critic of the current neo-liberal economic system prevalent in the "west" and spreading through globalization.

Here are some excerpts from Francis' Evangelium Gaudium (emphasis added):

No to an economy of exclusion

53. Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape. [...]

54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. [...]

No to the new idolatry of money

[...]

56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. [...]

No to a financial system which rules rather than serves

[...]

58. A financial reform open to such ethical considerations would require a vigorous change of approach on the part of political leaders. I urge them to face this challenge with determination and an eye to the future, while not ignoring, of course, the specifics of each case. Money must serve, not rule! The Pope loves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity and to the return of economics and finance to an ethical approach which favours human beings. [...]

No to the inequality which spawns violence

59. [...] When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquility. This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. Just as goodness tends to spread, the toleration of evil, which is injustice, tends to expand its baneful influence and quietly to undermine any political and social system, no matter how solid it may appear. If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallized in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized. [...]

Conservative politicians in the U.S., many of whom are catholic, will have quite a problem with these theses. Will they now denounce the pope as a communist anti-semite?

If the church, its followers and sympathizers sign up to and start to work along this papal opinion, it will have great and positive consequences for all of us.

Posted by b on November 27, 2013 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

Comments

Right now it looks as though the Pope is going the same way as Christmas. It may just be a blip on the graph....

http://atheistbillboards.com/

Posted by: dh | Nov 27, 2013 12:15:06 PM | 1

Pope Francis is a wise man, but he will be ignored by "those happy few" and their puppets in governments and media. If somehow Pope gets message across to the masses, you'll see a full scale attack on Pope, smearing campaign, trying to marginalize and discredit him.

Posted by: Harry | Nov 27, 2013 12:20:26 PM | 2

Will they now denounce the pope as a communist anti-semite?

:)

Posted by: DM | Nov 27, 2013 12:54:46 PM | 3

I believe in the ideology of liberalism and libertarianism and so I don't agree with the Pope's ideology. The Pope says above: "When an elderly homeless person dies of exposure.... this is a case of exclusion." All States today have institutions in place that minimize the number of elderly homeless persons, and further institutions to minimize the number of homeless persons of any age who die of exposure. When an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, it necessarily means that the elderly homeless person evaded the organizations and systems that are specifically in place. It necessarily means that the person excluded himself. It is false propaganda that the person was excluded by the State or the society.

The Pope says: "When a society is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes... blah blah blah." Liberal society contains mainstream and fringe components. In the liberal society, the people in the various fringes are free to stay in their fringe, or to move into the mainstream, or move into another fringe. A society without fringe components is a totalitarian society, a monolithic society, where uniformity is imposed by the likes of the Pope, do-gooders who are so cocksure they've got the right values that they're willing to cram their values down the throats of mainstream and fringe alike.

The Popes have an absolutely awful record on social and political policy, historically, from the point of view of a liberal. Here's a choice example from year 1888, when the Pope was Leo XII:

Pope, year 1888, Libertas decree, ¶15, ¶16, ¶42: "The fundamental doctrine of rationalism is the supremacy of the human reason, which, refusing due submission to the divine and eternal reason, proclaims its own independence.... A doctrine of such character is most hurtful both to individuals and to the State.... It follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant, unconditional [or promiscuous] freedom of thought, speech, writing, or religion."

Year 1888 Libertas decree ¶27, abridged: The divine teaching of the Church brings the sure guidance of shining light. Therefore, there is no reason why genuine liberty should grow indignant, or true science feel aggrieved, at having to bear the restraint of laws by which, in the judgment of the Church, human teaching has to be controlled." http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_20061888_libertas_en.html .

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 27, 2013 1:08:06 PM | 4

The current political trend in the West has little in common with liberalism and almost nothing with libertarianism. We live in a "socialism for rich friends, capitalism for others" hybrid with laws growing more complex every day so that no one is able to know them all.

I hope when this crap finally collapses the new order will be based more on free market and equality principles.

Posted by: Michal | Nov 27, 2013 2:10:07 PM | 5

this Pope had better stay in the bulletproof Popemobile if you know what I mean and I think you all do....

Posted by: Target On His Back | Nov 27, 2013 2:26:08 PM | 6

"All States today have institutions in place that minimize the number of elderly homeless persons, and further institutions to minimize the number of homeless persons of any age who die of exposure. When an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, it necessarily means that the elderly homeless person evaded the organizations and systems that are specifically in place. It necessarily means that the person excluded himself. It is false propaganda that the person was excluded by the State or the society.'

This is not the case in the United States, for example, or many other countries. The Pope is right to call the exclusion of millions from the common treasury of social production, what it is.
Parviziyi is describing a "liberal society" which exists nowhere, not even, I would suspect, in the fantasies of political theorists.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 27, 2013 3:11:04 PM | 8

@ bevin : You are simply misinformed when you say there aren't organizations and systems in the USA for housing the homeless. These include facilities in the northern US states in wintertime for the general population, with extra facilities and extra money for the elderly. I must conclude you have no actual knowledge of the scope of these systems, and you're coasting on propaganda you've read in the newspapers from third-hand sources like this Pope.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Nov 27, 2013 3:32:35 PM | 9

' Liberal society contains mainstream and fringe components.'

its done nothing to restrain US militarism, which is mainstream

the pope is absolutely right in his encyclical...no surprise the libertarian stream is outraged

libertarianism: 'an extreme laissez-faire political philosophy advocating only minimal state intervention in the lives of citizens.'

which means any state that cares for its citizens as to offer facilities for the homeless is not libertarian...in a real libertarian society the state does little as it can for its citizens on the grounds it doesnt want to interfere in its lives

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2013 3:49:52 PM | 10

@4 'The Popes have an absolutely awful record on social and political policy'

so when a pope tries to turn this around you attack him? while criticising former popes for behaving other wise? damned if he does damned if he does not


all hail the pope with a social conscience!

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2013 3:52:04 PM | 11

Rush Limbergercheese also hates the new pope, tho he tried to like him: calls Pope a marxist

http://www.salon.com/2013/11/27/rush_limbaugh_the_pope_sounds_like_a_marxist/

the right is going to loathe this pope, as their idea of jesus is a gun toting warrier for free markets

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2013 3:59:44 PM | 12

oh for the good old days: when men was men and popes werent marxists revlutionaries! Parviziyi would have preferred this pope:
just last year:

'Speaking days before the first papal visit to the Caribbean dictatorship of Cuba in 14 years, Pope Benedict XVI said: "Today it is evident that Marxist ideology in the way it was conceived no longer corresponds to reality."

On the plane taking him from Rome for a five-day trip to Mexico and Cuba, he said that the 53-year-old communist system in Havana "can no longer respond and build a society", and called for "new models" to replace it.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/the-pope/9164373/Pope-Benedict-XVI-Marxist-ideology-no-longer-corresponds-to-reality.html

has the christian had a change of heart?!

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2013 4:04:32 PM | 13

the Telegraph was happy to use the phrase 'cuban dictatorship'.../whilee avoding the same wording for the vatican!

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2013 4:05:32 PM | 14

'I hope when this crap finally collapses the new order will be based more on free market and equality principles.

Posted by: Michal | Nov 27, 2013 2:10:07 PM | 5'

um...what? Free market...means a market free of govt restraints..a market of unbridled capitalism, which we are told lifts all boats...not just all yachts
Free market incorporates the Hobbsian principle of devil-take-the-hindmost

'new order'....new WORLD order?? interesting the see NWO mythology revealing its anti-socialist character

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2013 4:09:03 PM | 15


'It would make for some pretty amazing headlines if Pope Francis turned out to be a Marxist.

Between his hints at rehabilitating liberation theology—condemned by his predecessors—and talk about casting off "the economic and social structures that enslave us," Marxism isn't totally out of the question.

But happily for nervous church leaders, Francis's first Apostolic Exhortation, issued Tuesday, doesn't quite suggest someone who would get "Marx" in an Internet-style "Which Economic Theorist Are You?" quiz. Granted, he wouldn't exactly get Friedrich von Hayek or Ayn Rand, either.

But you know whom he might plausibly be matched with, though? A favorite political economist of anti-free market academics: Karl Polanyi.
etc
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/11/pope-franciss-theory-of-economics/281865/

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2013 4:11:27 PM | 16

Brian it is interesting that you mention Polanyi. I have a book he edited "Christian Socialism". It icludes essays by Hewlett Johnson, the Red Dean (I have a CD of Leadbelly singing at a private party for him in Minneapolis!) and WH Auden. Polanyi was, as you probably know, a lifelong critic of the Hayek and his mates.

Parvizyi.
I see that you are attributing the efforts of private, and often religious, charities to the liberal state. Had I known this I should not have contradicted you.
It is a little unfair not to recognise the size and efficiency of the vast organisation headed by Francis: he has direct access to the information not just of skilled observers but of millions of aged and impoverished fellow communicants. I, for my part merely live about 150 km from the States that you describe with such admiration. I would not dream of comparing my sources of information with his.

It may interest you to know that in the UK, long described as a welfare state, current discussions indicate that there were 30,000 excess deaths last winter as a result of the inability of poor people to heat their lodgings. I don't doubt that there are hundreds of thousands of deaths every year because people cannot buy medicines or afford medical attention. They are excluded, as the Bishop of Rome puts it, because they are poor.
Is it your view that poor people choose to starve, freeze to death and forego medical attention out of choice? Do they do this in order that rich people can be spectacularly rich and afford the poor spectacles of conspicuous consumption?
Or is the hidden hand at work? That cruel God worshipped by liberals and libertarians who find the ideas of the "pale nazarene" and his disciples, quaint and impractical.

You are, of course right, that past pontiffs have often been thoroughly reactionary. This has generally, as was the case with the last two popes-taken the practical form of giving support to liberal and neo-liberal governments. Francis, having lived under one such government, in Argentina, earns our applause by showing that he puts the interests of the poor before the unappeasable greed of the cannibal rich.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 27, 2013 5:12:03 PM | 17

@Brian (15):
Does "new order" mean "New World Order" automatically to you?
This is called paranoia ;)

Posted by: Michal | Nov 27, 2013 5:32:57 PM | 18

Parvizyi. You sound like you live in your own little solipsistic bubble, endlessly repeating the same old tired mantras I have heard my whole life, and which have never proven correct. You shouldn't have a problem understanding the condition of the poor, the evidence is all around but you harden your little heart and turn away. As the Pope points out - they aren't even exploited - they are ignored as if they don't even exist.

As bevin said so well "they are excluded, as the Bishop of Rome puts it, because they are poor. Is it your view that poor people choose to starve, freeze to death and forego medical attention out of choice? Do they do this in order that rich people can be spectacularly rich and afford the poor spectacles of conspicuous consumption? "

And, mind you that's only in the so-called "First World". The rest of the world goes downhill from there: organ harvesting, sex trafficking, states run by narco criminals and so on. What these activities have in common is that they only occur because of "the unappeasable greed of the cannibal rich". There is a first world market for what they provide.

Posted by: rackstraw | Nov 27, 2013 5:43:23 PM | 19

Posted by: Michal | Nov 27, 2013 5:32:57 PM | 18

no its called anticipation....New World Order is the commonest New Order phrasing

its not paranoia...not that ive anything against a healthy dose of paranoia: if youre not paranoid youre not paying attention!

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2013 7:20:32 PM | 20

Posted by: bevin | Nov 27, 2013 5:12:03 PM | 17

how to make right wing Xtian heads explode: say Jesus was a socialist

Posted by: brian | Nov 27, 2013 7:21:57 PM | 21

Good subject for the coming season. It's about time a major religious figure said something relevant, besides the same old dogma. Frankly, I'm shocked. The challenge, as always, will be making his actions match the rhetoric, and live.

"The comfort of the rich, depends on an abundance of the poor."

Posted by: ben | Nov 27, 2013 7:42:29 PM | 22

thanks for this b! i admire the pope and appreciate him saying these things out in the public sphere. and, in general i fully agree with him.

Posted by: james | Nov 27, 2013 8:48:00 PM | 23

Since we were discussing "track records" in a previous thread - this is a perfect example.

It is remarkable indeed that a Pope would make a pronouncement like this, but there is the issue of the institutional track record. He will have to do more than say a few nice things - he has to overcome the extremely serious issues of the Church hierarchy's opposition to Liberation Theology, contraception, to women's rights - all of which have a heavy bearing on poverty.

People across the globe know that neo-liberalism has failed miserably for everyone except for an extremely conspicuous few. We know that their climb to top sent the rest of us tumbling to the bottom - and that the only cushion offered were some threadbare lies and snide suggestions about "working harder". So he's not telling anyone anything they don't already know and he shouldn't get any points for speaking the obvious.

What he should be praised for - should he decide to do it - is for using the massive influence and power of the Church to do something about the suffering in this world. And this has to be more than just attacking "sins" and "greed" of vague "human nature" - it means standing up for the poor against their very human tormentors - those who run the multinational corporations and the neo-liberal western governments they control.

Posted by: guest77 | Nov 27, 2013 9:50:14 PM | 24

"Pope Francis released an Apostolic Exhortation which explains his views about how and whereto the catholic church should move."

If the tax-minimising Catholic Church weren't so obviously part of the (oppressed) World's 1% problem, then this hypocritical feel-good Papal Cotton Candy would be branded by the 1% as the Apocalyptic Exhortation. Mainstream Religions, all of them, have been vital instruments of intellectual, social, and spiritual oppression, and individual disempowerment, for many centuries. The selective, faux, morality of Religion has nothing whatsoever to do with God, or Freedom(s). And never will.

Like the rest of the 1%, the Pope is descending into panic mode.
He's too effing late. The Pope should have said this 70 years ago - before child-molesting became part of the Vatican's Acceptable Use policy.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 27, 2013 10:29:54 PM | 25

@25 that's like saying hoarsewhisperer "should have said it 70 years ago".. i understand your cynicism, but i view supporting a persons words of wisdom regardless who speaks them, as a less hostile and more friendly approach.. does the world really need more hostility? if some politician or head of a major corporation came out and said the same thing, would i have to shit on them becuase it was addressed from the halls of power?

Posted by: james | Nov 28, 2013 1:39:36 AM | 26

You will doubtless find Tarpley extolling this at length in his radio broadcasts. Tarpley, if you have the patience to listen to him, is the most lucid exemplar of what was in fact the Larouche worldview, recently somewhat obscured by the latter's advancing senile dementia. The idea is that moderate christian socialism is the answer to all the world's problems, because it keeps the atheist marxists at bay while making a more convincing effort to care for the poor than the liberal state will normally extend to. The paradigm is flawed by the fact that moderate socialist regimes have functioned just as effectively to care for the poor without any religious flimflam being necessary. But the real point of christian socialism is that it maintains the fundamental, absolutely foundational religious teaching, which you should always look for if you have to research any religious movement seriously, which is the dogma of the sanctity of private property, something supposedly ordained by the old spook in the sky, so that there will always be a rich man in his castle and a poor man at his gate, and godless marxists will never get into the castle and string the rich man up.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 28, 2013 3:22:40 AM | 27

if some politician or head of a major corporation came out and said the same thing, would i have to shit on them becuase it was addressed from the halls of power?
Posted by: james | Nov 28, 2013 1:39:36 AM | 26

Yes.

Utterly, completely, and without reservation - until the actions spoke louder than the cheap verbiage and lofty sentiments.
Religion's core competency has always been Pie in the Sky (by and by).
aka perpetually deferred promises...
...like this one.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 28, 2013 4:47:34 AM | 28

Kind of hard to climb the greasy clerical ladder by being one of the good guys though

Doug Stanhope -

I'd be far more afraid to hear someone say
"Hey, you know that new Nazi?

He used ta be a Pope!!"

Posted by: foff | Nov 28, 2013 7:33:20 AM | 29

In actual historical terms this is almost entirely untrue:

"But the real point of christian socialism is that it maintains the fundamental, absolutely foundational religious teaching, which you should always look for if you have to research any religious movement seriously, which is the dogma of the sanctity of private property, something supposedly ordained by the old spook in the sky, so that there will always be a rich man in his castle and a poor man at his gate, and godless marxists will never get into the castle and string the rich man up."

This is simply untrue. Among other things it tells us that Rowan knows very little about the actual development of the ideology of private property. In fact private property in land is a recent development, in its present form, very recent. RH Tawney wrote a book on the subject, so , I'm informed, did Max Weber. It is true that in the past couple of centuries theologists have worked hard to accommodate capitalism and earn favour with the rich and powerful. So, of course, have atheists. In fact religion has largely been displaced by the ideologies of capitalism. It is the economists, tame historians, political scientists, liberal philosophers, biologists and other academics who have produced the ideologies of elitism, innate racial superiority, Market sovereignty and other such guff that sustains the rich man in his castle.

What is important is not scoring cheap debating points but establishing reality and the reality is that, as would be expected, religions reflected society's views on private property in land.

What Rowan is doing is mistaking Victorian England for the world and the last couple of centuries for human history. There is a tendency among some "marxists" to do that.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 28, 2013 9:05:08 AM | 30

Among other things it tells us that Rowan knows very little about the actual development of the ideology of private property. In fact private property in land is a recent development, in its present form, very recent. RH Tawney wrote a book on the subject, so , I'm informed, did Max Weber

in its present form, very recent. how recent? 10 yrs? 50 yrs? 300 yrs? 683 yrs?

Did you read those books, and if so, what did they say?

Posted by: foff | Nov 28, 2013 9:49:19 AM | 31

One must pay attention to that phrase "Christian Socialism" or "National Socialism" as well Muslim Brotherhood all sounds benign - applying to human beings. The language, its usage, Orwell teach us "Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes"and (language) "It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts."

For example, CDU ("Christian understanding of humans and their responsibility toward God") and its partner a Catholic's CSU are German's ruling parties that in its title bears prefix a "Christian" as well as "democratic" and "social". Yet they embrace German version of neo-liberalism of the University of Friburg, as such ardent capitalists and expropriators. No doubt that both German's churches are tools (along with SPD and others) for expropriation and redistribution of national wealth, wealth abroad and regime change (Iraq, Libya, Syria) policy in order to provide new markets for its product and raw material base. That's an essence of liberal-capitalism.

It is well known that Mercedes-Benz actively supported fascist's Argentinian junta while current Pope keep eyes and mouth shut. Titles of the parties are meaningless whether Republican or Democratic; Social or Socialists their content, purpose and goals are hidden. Just as is a case with Vatican and its PR spin.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 28, 2013 10:18:18 AM | 32

@ 30.
I suggest you brush up on the 10 commandments.
Then come back and tell us how "new" they are and how there's not a hint of an all-encompassing notion of "property" and "ownership". You might also like to check on whether Religion was a trickle up or a trickle down, trick.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 28, 2013 10:23:58 AM | 33

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as "keeping out of politics." All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find -- this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify -- that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.

Orwell

Indeed, misuse of religions and ideologies (lies) are corruption of thought which lead to violence.

Posted by: neretva'43 | Nov 28, 2013 10:35:45 AM | 34

@33 Not looking for a fight here Hoarse but are there any rules and regulations you can go along with?

Posted by: dh | Nov 28, 2013 11:01:23 AM | 35

@ 35.
Does Golden ring a bell?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 28, 2013 11:10:00 AM | 36

@31
A good book to read if you are interested in feudalism is The Brenner Debate, edited by Ashton and Philpin.
Tawney's Religion and the Rise of Capitalism is still worth reading, it argues that Protestantism, and Calvinism in particular, developed theologies that suited the rising capitalist class and dispensed with the ancient rule, found in Islam too, that usury was a sin.
Mex Weber wrote The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, which put forward similar arguments, somewhat earlier.

@33 Private property in land is what is novel. In most cultures, and religions, it was unknown. The British went to considerable efforts to introduce it to India, for example. In America attempts to buy land from the indigenous people generally met with disbelief.

As to the origins of religion, do you have any new information on the subject? It would seem to have begun in folk beliefs which evolved as communities evolved. The trickle up or trickle down dichotomy that you pose is very unlikely: these things tend to do both, depending upon the relative strengths of the parties involved.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 28, 2013 11:12:09 AM | 37

@36 Golden Rules? I can buy that but how about enforcement? Some folks are just so darn ornery.

Posted by: dh | Nov 28, 2013 11:13:47 AM | 38

@ 38.
People who choose to live by it can protect themselves, somewhat, from those who don't - by using it as a filter through which to interpret the actions of others.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 28, 2013 11:43:47 AM | 39

Rowan,
I agree 100 percent about AQ being a puppet from USA/KSA (also I think the videos from Torabora caves showed different actors). But it's also a franchise, so anyone can decide to "answer the call", like the French guy two weeks ago who decided to act precisely after the latest Zawahiri "tape" (that's my interpretation; Hollande is already so unpopular that the papers wouldn't print that). He lived in London, of course, for the last ten years. They just need a very little impulse, when the brainwashing is so permanent and sophisticated.

Posted by: Mina | Nov 28, 2013 12:07:34 PM | 40

@39 Yes but it's not a lot of help when you're being mugged or having your car stolen. My sense is that some people just don't like authority....church or state. On the other hand they appreciate a bit of law and order.

Posted by: dh | Nov 28, 2013 12:12:42 PM | 41

bevin @ 37.
Almost agree with the response addressed to me. But you could improve it by acknowledging that elites throughout The West embrace religion with a ceremonial solemnity and fervour which goes beyond hypocritical insincerity and emerges as flagrant brainwashing/evangelism - too often within sight of weaponry glinting in the sun or dripping in the rain.
aka Guns + God = Good.
Can you not see how 'odd' that is?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 28, 2013 12:26:10 PM | 42

Bevin, you just aren't seeing the wood for the trees. Western civilisation has always revolved around private property, canonised in Roman Law, or equally in English common law, the sanctity of private property is the pivot around which everything revolves. For a succinct New Testament application of it to ancient or feudal conditions, read the Parable of the Talents. And if that is not enough to jog your memory regarding the actually well-known fact that the ancient and feudal worlds were very much worlds of private property, read the Parable of the Unjust Steward. To hell with all your Tawneys and Webers. Also, to hell with the Brenner Debate. I am not vexed by the problematic it deals with, which is how exactly capitalism got its start 'within the pores of feudal society.'

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 28, 2013 12:30:05 PM | 43

Good read
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-271113.html

Posted by: Mina | Nov 28, 2013 12:41:14 PM | 44

dh @ 41.
Forgive me for saying so, but now you're being (deliberately?) silly. You're talking about Rules & Regulations but forgetting that no Rule or Reg will ever protect you from being mugged nor stop someone from stealing your car. The implied all-embracing "mightiness" of such constructs is limited to punishing the culprit IF and WHEN he is apprehended. And the concept of punishment is part of the angry, jealous (stupid, undisciplined) God bullshit.
i.e. Punishment isn't even a pale imitation of Prevention.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 28, 2013 12:51:29 PM | 45

@45 On the contrary. I am very aware that no Rule or Reg will ever protect you from being mugged nor stop someone from stealing your car. Perhaps I just see rules, laws and commandments as coming from the same source i.e. the need to regulate the flawed creatures that we are. I don't see how it's possible to maintain a civil society without them.

I thought you were saying that the commandments were just religious mumbo-jumbo and all we need is Golden Rules. Apologies if I misunderstood you.

Posted by: dh | Nov 28, 2013 1:14:51 PM | 46

@45 Punishment I think is a separate matter. But since you introduced it all I can say is that I managed to raise fine children without ever using it.

Posted by: dh | Nov 28, 2013 1:33:40 PM | 47

dh @ 46.
Perhaps the misunderstandings have been mutual.
As far as I recall there was only one Golden Rule it was
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
It might sound unfashionably corny in these ultra-modern times but I've met people who live by that (and its filtering benefits) and it works superbly for them - probably because they take responsibility for their own lives, decisions and outcomes and are NEVER waiting for an Higher Authority (mortal or immortal) to 'approve' or 'guide' or 'rescue' them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 28, 2013 1:51:29 PM | 48

@48 That is a fine maxim Hoarse. If only everybody had reached our stage of enlightenment. Excuse the silliness. It's my reaction to insoluble problems.

Posted by: dh | Nov 28, 2013 2:24:52 PM | 49

Parizvili;Shirley,you can't be serious.The only good neoliberal(hypocrites)is a dead one,and if Libertarianism is as you post,screw that too.Damn,I hate borg thinking,there in no one fix for all the myriad issues today.And libertarians and Liberals would never co-exist,as they are both poster children for self my me me mine.Snark,maybe,your post?
This Pope is the biggest breath of fresh air in our modern post Vietnam era,hopefully he continues his truth.And I aint even a Catholic,but one of those Protestants.

Posted by: dahoit | Nov 28, 2013 2:25:14 PM | 50

And neoliberals and neocons hate hate hate the pope and the Catholic(actually all Christian churches except the pliant moonie loonie born again morons) church,so align yourself with the enemies of mankind,if you wish.

Posted by: dahoit | Nov 28, 2013 2:29:20 PM | 51

The amount of profit the Vatican et al makes off of the health industrial complex in the States alone is staggering. Let's see them give that up by endorsing single payer or tri-care for all.

***crickets***

Posted by: Eureka Springs | Nov 28, 2013 3:08:26 PM | 52

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 28, 2013 12:30:05 PM | 43

private property is a late development..before then tribal ownership had a larger role to play, esp as there was little else to own

problem with private propety is you can lose it. One tactic of the former John Howard govt of Australia was to get aboriginal land to cease to be tribal land and make it private property, which ca then be sold for cash by the individual owners who will then spend the money on drink and drugs and have no land and no money.

Posted by: brian | Nov 28, 2013 3:32:50 PM | 53

Rowan @43
The point that you make is certainly the Whig theory of history. It is from a theory of history centred around the sanctity of private property, a theory which is quite modern, that I dissent.

I do so because it is not true. Private property in the land, the means of production in pre-modern societies, was very rare if known at all. The reasons for this were legion, but one of them was that land was not scarce. In most countries there were large tracts of unoccupied "wasteland."
It was labour in the form of the individual peasant or the village community that was scarce, prized and protected/enslaved. There was private property often enough but it was in the form of labour power.

Tawney was essentially a student of Tudor era history. His interest in protestant ideology seems to have originated in his studies of the social crisis in the time of Edward VI, the time when "sheep ate men", when land was being enclosed in order to farm it for capitalist commodity production rather than to employ it as the economic basis of the village community linked loosely with the fairs and markets of the medieval city.
One of the problems the enclosers and the contemporaneous exploiters of monastic and clerical lands- the fruits of the Henrician Reformation- encountered was the widespread rejection of the idea that agricultural lands could be privatised. The belief that, regardless of legalities, the first charge on the land's product was the sustenance of the community, the peasants, their families, their dependents and the poor, was pervasive.
This was the bourgeois revolution: the institution of private property in the means of production. This is the basis of capitalism and the definition of imperialism: the privatisation of communal resources in order to produce commodities for the market. As opposed to production for use: the employment of land in order to sustain the community, firstly by feeding, clothing and lodging its members and also by producing a surplus to be traded for vital necessities obtainable elsewhere etc.

Never mind the parable of the talents or the Ten Commandments: the mere fact that received wisdom is that they sanctify private property, per se including inthe means of production, ought to alert you to the fact that these are ideological interpretations.
That is the trouble with you atheists, you growl at the church but you swallow the ideologies they preach wholesale. Such is the long history of anti-clericalism, a petit bourgeois obsession which capitalism, for all its supposed reliance on religious "opiates" is very happy with.
Francis deserves to be taken seriously. He may be a hypocrite, who knows. But what he says about capitalism also fits in well with what many catholics, including Thomas More, were saying when the capitalist era began.
The capitalist system is in crisis. Unsurprisingly among those who see that it is failing and whose eyes are opened to the suffering of the poor, now realised to be not unfortunates, -eventually to be rescued by development, education, jobs- but products, indictments of the system itself.
Look at the world. In every continent peasants, hundreds of millions of them, are being pushed off the land towards the cities, towards wage exploitation, selling themselves, casual labour, prostitution, selling their organs, gangsterism... this is the nature of a crisis of unprecedented intensity.
And it begins not in the deserted chapels of the dying religions but in the privatisation, by thieves in cahoots with lawyers, of hundreds of thousands of arable land, forest, and pastures. "Sold, by the President of Ethiopia to the King of Saudi Arabia. One hundred thousand acres."
"Sold by the Armed Forces of Honduras to the international palm oil cartel, fifty thousand acres!" "Sold, by the Peoples Republic to the Macao Casino Corporation..." "Sold by the Workers government of Brazil to Weyerhauser Lumber..." "... by the Crown in Canada to Koch Enterprises oil company..."
Much has been happening in the world, Rowan, since Karl Marx died. If he'd been living he'd have paid attention to it. Why cannot his disciples?

Posted by: bevin | Nov 28, 2013 4:06:06 PM | 54

Corrections:

"Never mind the parable of the talents or the Ten Commandments: the mere fact that this is received wisdom sanctifying private property, per se, including inthe means of production, ought to alert you to the fact that these are ideological interpretations."

"Unsurprisingly, priests are among those who see that it is failing and whose eyes are opened to the suffering of the poor, now realised to be not unfortunates, -eventually to be rescued by development, education, jobs- but products, indictments of the system itself."

Posted by: bevin | Nov 28, 2013 4:12:39 PM | 55

Brian that is precisely the point. This is the tactic that the Canadian government is trying now and has been trying for more than a century: to break up communal land holdings, give them to the individual 'peasants', mortgage it and repossess it, unencumbered by indigenous rights.
It is what happened to most of the homesteaders in the United States- including the "Okies tractored out by the cats". It is what happened to the Council House tenants forced to buy in Britain, most of whom are already or are about to be dispossessed of their homes.
Carl Schurz, I believe did the same thing when Secretary of the Interior, "giving" Indians individual holdings.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 28, 2013 4:21:12 PM | 56

It is great to hear you 'testify', bevin. I think you are talking about the nexus of all the problems of our times, as they surface in the condition of our human race, which eventually must claim our attention ... if the condition of our planet and our souls cannot.

Our ... capitalist society's ... cynicism and corruption are truly staggering, even as the clock winds down. I live in Thailand where, remarkably ... or perhaps un- given the state of the media ... no one remembers to keep their eyes on the prize.

I love Thailand because the era of village lands administered locally still lives in some spots and is within human memory and in the culture all over. In Thailand itself, outside the neoliberal imperial capital, of course.

I have not yet read The Very Future of Third World Agriculture Is at Stake, but as you can see I've captured it for study. I hope it has something to say on the matter.

I just have been reading Year 501, in this year 521, and have dug up one of its references, to Angie Debo's And still the rivers run, her recount of the Dawes Act in the US, which I am still digesting. It is slow, sad work.

I will capture your posting above, with your corrections, to reread myself. Thanks very much for all of your deliveries.

I agree with you that civil religion ... the name says it all, doesn't it ? .. follows 'civil' society and not the other way 'round, if that's what you have put forth.

Civil religion and 'real' religion are two distinct but entwined things, I think. And the civil cynics play that to the hilt.

I found another very interesting, I thought, take on the fusion of the civil and the religious while reading about Thailand and how it got this way, a thesis entitled Thailand : the Soteriological State in the 1970s, which you may or may not find interesting. I found it fascinating.

As far as this Pope ... Xavier or Assisi ... we'll see, I suppose ... he certainly has knuckled under in the past. Who am I to maintain I would not have? Maybe he is trying to atone.

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 28, 2013 7:14:39 PM | 57

Regarding the private property theories. Essentially they look very similar to Buckminister Fuller's "Great Pirates" theory.

Why were European Great Pirates able to control African, Muslim, or Chinese lands and not the other way around?  

  What made the Great Pirates as powerful as they were was their "unprecedented wealth" and knowledge of other places accumulated relative to their fellow citizens in newly emerging states.

The reintroduction of money into Europe in the 1200's resulted from practical needs following the reintroduction of long-range trade at the same time. It was the traders whose access to, and control of, the trade supplies to and from Europe gave them this new monetary wealth which they further increased through their control of monetary credit and interest.

The formation of states in Europe at this time was in a relatively undeveloped stage compared to Chinese and Muslim states. As the technological requirements of successful warring in Europe increased, the men-of-the-sea found that their weapon and travel technology, and their monetary resources, gave them great influence over those European Kings killing to consolidate their claims to land.39    

While traders from Muslim, Chinese, and African empires did engage in long-range and successful sea-based trade, the relative influence ø both in relation to overall trade within these empires and in relation to economic influence over the political status quo ø was demonstratively insufficient to direct their governments to the open-for-business-sea-trade-and-invasion policies of the European states. Unlike Europe, where trade and the reintroduction of money corroded and eventually replaced the feudal power structure, the smaller profits of their traders relative to more politically powerful economic interests never successfully threatened the well entrenched status quo of Muslim, Chinese, and African land-based empires. Those economic and political interests remained entrenched until the European Great Pirates themselves arrived. After the Italian city-state seamen eliminated the small Muslim merchant fleet from the Mediterranean and subsequently from the Indian Ocean, there was to be no sea rival equal to even the smallest European navy for the 400 years of Great Pirate dominance in world trade and politics.3440   

 This is not an argument that the European trade interests were superior businessmen or more vigorous in contrast to those elsewhere at the time. It is an argument premised on a greater influence of a certain group to direct state resources and policies at a certain time relative to competing interests.


================


Fuller discussess the Great Pirates concept in the book Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth


The concept of the Great Pirate also emerges as the first peoples to undertake sea vessels and first sea traders.

Origins of specialization

The Great Pirate concept is explained in depth, and the source of their power is that they are the only masters of global information in a time where people are focused locally.

Specifically, the Great Pirates are aware that resources are not evenly distributed around the world, so that items which are abundant in one area are scarce in another. This gives rise to trade which the G.P.'s exploit for their own advantage.

Power struggles for waterways ensue, requiring people like Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo to design better defenses for the Great Pirates. The Pirates establish governments in various areas and support leaders who will defend their trade routes.As engineers become involved with the Great Pirates many new concepts appear, but the main one was of the Navy.

As the size of the people in the Great Pirates' employment grow, training becomes a necessity, and the beginnings of schools and colleges ensue. Monarchs are encouraged to develop civil service systems to provide secure butspecialized employment for their brightest subjects, which prevents them from competing with the Great Pirates in their lucrative global trading. Thus the G.P.'s guarded the advantages that their unique global perspective revealed.


Posted by: foff | Nov 28, 2013 8:53:05 PM | 58

Another quote regarding Fuller and his theory.

Those in possession of Viking sea knowledge traveled between the two shores of the Channel. In their ocean travels, these people-of-the-sea in each feudal realm began to recognize the diversity of lands, people, and products connected by the ocean.

This recognition gave them an unprecedented economic and political advantage over the kilometer-wide life of their fellow citizens, who remained ignorant of the larger picture these seamen possessed:

The sea masters soon found that people in each of the different places visited knew nothing of people in other places ... [and] that by bringing together various resources occurring remotely from one another one complemented the other in producing tools, services, and consumables of high advantage and value.

Thus, resources in one place which previously had seemed to be absolutely worthless suddenly became highly valued.

Enormous wealth was generated by what the sea venturers could do in the way of integrating resources and distributing the products to the, everywhere around the world, amazed and eager customers. 1924 


 The Hanseatic League, formed by over 80 Baltic Sea cities in the late 1200's, exemplified the power over their fellow citizens that their greater knowledge of the world provided. This league of sea-based commercial interests "coined their own money, negotiated treaties, and maintained their own armies and warships. They were even strong enough to wage war on rulers who threatened their interests."20 

These northern European Hanseatic seafarers helped to consolidate the use of coined money in Northern Europe that would eventually change the economic basis of political power in Europe from the land to the sea. As it turned out, however, three more centuries passed before these Anglo, Nordic, and Saxon captains would become masters of the sea and organize by cannon the world's modern economic, technological, and educational life.

The use of money and changes in banking practices made land more valuable and made the value of that land more transferable.

Posted by: foff | Nov 28, 2013 9:15:21 PM | 59

What Fuller says, foff, is very interesting. I only read your excerpts but he seems to have been one of the pioneers in the re-interpretation of the imperialist era.
To me the thing which is so often neglected is the coincidence of:
The Discovery of America
The Reformation
The Renaissance
and the birth of Modern Capitalism
not to mention post-Raphaelite art.

The conventional historical narratives came up with the most extraordinary and unconvincing explanations. Most of them suggested that, if God had not designated the Briton to be his champion and take the world by the scruff of its neck, for its own good, it was only because he was wise enough to know he didn't need to ask.

My own view begins with the idea that America was such a vast treasure house of minerals, fertile land, lumber, protein (e g cod from the Grand Banks) and new food resources (maize, beans, potatoes, cassava, tomatoes, peppers, etc etc) and was so unprotected, thanks to the susceptibility of the natives to eurasian diseases, that, after 1492, all bets were off. It was just a matter of time before the Europeans 'bulked up' to the extent that the empire was inevitable.
Is that not what Fuller is suggesting?

And, of course, the country in Europe that was almost bound to dominate was going to be strategically placed on the sea lanes, while insulated from invasion over land borders. It would be a country able to mobilise its capital into trade and to put its military strength into naval power. etc etc.
The Dutch, who paved the way, excelled in almost every respect-including the fact that Amsterdam became the refuge for successive waves of exiled traders, iberian jews, huguenots among them- but it had land borders over which Spanish, French, German armies continually marched.
It had to be Britain. And it was.

jfl @57. I have here, unread but saved, a file of letters sent by a Canadian, employed by the UN and an expert in community organisation, living in Thailand, in the early fifties to his father living in western Ontario, near Lake Huron.
It is a reminder of the Cold War that he was probably driven there, because McCarthyism made it hard to find employment here in Canada, and ended up if not working for, very closely related to the CIA (cf Obama's mother in Indonesia).
I used to live, as a child, in Taiping and Penang, so I'm a former neighbour.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 28, 2013 9:48:57 PM | 60


To me the thing which is so often neglected is the coincidence of:
The Discovery of America
The Reformation
The Renaissance
and the birth of Modern Capitalism
 not to mention post-Raphaelite art.


Funny you should nention that, and in that way too . . . . . Another excerpt for that 1st Fuller link:

Building Blocks  

The legacy of the "rise of the West" as the single "best" historical narrative remains in the very "colligatory generalizations" that organize textbook chapters and divide up the past and its people.10 

"Colligatory generalizations" refers to a conceptualization of disparate historical occurrences into a single whole.

Examples of colligatory generalizations include "The Renaissance," "The Industrial Revolution," "civilization," "the settling of the West," and "The British Empire."

Such an innocuous name, for example, as the "Age of Exploration" ought to immediately raise historical suspicions. Indeed, the term is a legacy from the past that remains today about the past; a generalization that emerged from the historical project of promoting nationalism.

That the former term dominates the table of contents of North American textbooks, despite several decades of innovative scholarship from world historians, indicates how the colonial past remains today in the very generalizations used to divide history into blocks of time and space.10  

  Of course, any instance of interpretation reduces complexity for cognitive purposes.

There is, however, much that students could learn about historical interpretation by questioning how the "Age of Exploration" for one textbook and narrative might be just as accurately entitled the "Age of Conquest and Theft" by another.

Further, complexity is unnecessarily lost when the actions of private trading companies during the "Age of Exploration" are cast as actions performed by "the British Empire" or "German expansion in Africa"—as if they were the personifications of some mystical Hegelian national consensus rather than those of a small, if powerful, constituency dominating a contested political field. 11    

This lack of subtlety is widespread.

North American newspapers, movies, and television reports consistently reduce hugely divided constituencies to "The American War in Iraq" or "Canada supports Third World debt reduction." In addition to textbooks, other cultural texts such as movies often reduce into a cat and mouse motif the struggles of millions.1 

Unfortunately, in addition to the table of contents in textbooks and newspaper by-lines this cat and mouse motif is popular in historical instruction as well. 

Posted by: foff | Nov 28, 2013 10:04:10 PM | 61

@28 quote ..."until the actions spoke louder than the cheap verbiage and lofty sentiments."

if internet interaction with others is any indication, i suppose i can intuit this to a degree on a moon of alabama message board, so that i'm able to know who to listen to verses who to ignore.. in the meantime i'll give pope francis a high 5 for saying what he's said, since i don't know him or what he has or hasn't done. i think it is unfair to shackle him with a few thousand years of church history.. if i was to shackle mankind for all the wrongs that have been done on the earth, i would have write off all of present mankind too.. our life is defined by our choices.

Posted by: james | Nov 28, 2013 10:32:10 PM | 62

This Pope seems no different than others before him.

Posted by: therevolutionwas | Nov 28, 2013 10:36:37 PM | 63

bevin@60

If you don't have time to read 'em ... send 'em to me.

I'll read 'em and tell you what they say :)

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 29, 2013 4:25:21 AM | 64

Private property in the land, the means of production in pre-modern societies, was very rare if known at all. The reasons for this were legion, but one of them was that land was not scarce. In most countries there were large tracts of unoccupied "wasteland." It was labour in the form of the individual peasant or the village community that was scarce, prized and protected/enslaved. There was private property often enough but it was in the form of labour power.
This is nonsense, and it even contains its own internal admission that it is nonsense. It admits that labour was "enslaved". So nobody cares if they regard the land left to their personal use as common property, just as nobody cares whether privately owned slaves regard the patches they are allowed to grow their own subsistence crops upon as common property. The point is sentimental, mystificatory, and ultimately trivial. The basic pre-modern European condition is serfdom, under which the peasants are the private property of their feudal lord. If you want to get really theoretical, you can point out that this local lord only held the land, and the peasants on it, in feof to the king, so the king was the ultimate owner of the peasants. You can go even further, and say that the king only held the nation in stewardship to god, who is, not coincidentally, the ultimate private proprietor and (in modern terms) entrepreneur. So you're perfectly welcome to say that the commodity form of private property did not emerge until the fifteenth century or whenever you like, but private property as such is as old as history.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 29, 2013 6:35:49 AM | 65

You can get the entire encyclical here


III. The new evangelization for the transmission of the faith, p. 16

16. I was happy to take up the request of the Fathers of the Synod to write this Exhortation.19 In so doing, I am reaping the rich fruits of the Synod’s labours. In addition, I have sought ad- vice from a number of people and I intend to express my own concerns about this particular chapter of the Church’s work of evangelization. Countless issues involving evangelization today might be discussed here, but I have chosen not to explore these many questions which call for further reflection and study. Nor do I believe that the papal magisterium should be expected to offer a definitive or complete word on every question which affects the Church and the world. It is not advisable for the Pope to take the place of local Bishops in the discernment of every is- sue which arises in their territory. In this sense, I am conscious of the need to promote a sound “decentralization”.

Burning History in San Salvador


At the crack of dawn on Thursday, Nov. 14, three armed men broke into the offices of Pro-Búsqueda, a non-profit in San Salvador that reunites families with children who went missing during El Salvador’s 1979-1992 civil war.

They beat up the guards, poured gasoline on the organization’s archive, and used torches to set hundreds of documents aflame. On their way out, they took computers with them.

Why?

On September 20, Salvadoran courts announced a review of the 1993 blanket amnesty law that has kept hundreds of military and government officials, including those responsible for the 1989 slaying of six Jesuit priests, out of jail. Should the law be overturned, much of the evidence needed to prosecute these individuals would come from the archives of grassroots human rights organizations like Pro-Búsqueda.

Another organization with valuable evidence, Tutela Legal, the human rights office of the Catholic Church, was abruptly shut down by the Archbishop of San Salvador on September 30. That day, employees of Tutela Legal arrived for work to find their office doors padlocked and guards stationed in the hall. They were told to gather their things. Founded in 1977 by Bishop Oscar Romero, Tutela Legal is one of only a handful of groups that provided support and legal counsel to El Salvador’s civilian population during the war. Despite hundreds who still depend on legal assistance from Tutela Legal, and despite 50,000 open cases, Archbishop José Luis Escobar Alas decided that the organization no longer had a reason to exist.


Francis Xavier.

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 29, 2013 7:02:10 AM | 66

Slightly OT but anyway,

john francis lee, do you know of any good background article(s) on the current events in Thailand? TIA.

Posted by: Philippe | Nov 29, 2013 7:21:00 AM | 67

"No to an economy of exclusion", says the leader of a church of exclusion.

Let's not expect anything splendid and just from a man who hasn't noticed women are just as good and worthy as men.
He can follow Francesco Assisi all he wants but this church is nothing pretty without the women who "man" its hospitals, orphanages, schools...

Posted by: emmanuelle | Nov 29, 2013 7:28:38 AM | 68

Let's not expect anything splendid and just from a man who hasn't noticed women are just as good and worthy as men.

Amen.

Something else the Blokey Catholic Church could/should have done 70 years ago, but hasn't bothered furrowing its collective brow, or losing sleep, over. It's a big mish-mash of outdated nit-picking prejudices. Even if the Church decided to stir itself into action over this latest pronouncement you can bet your bottom dollar that several groups, against whom it sustains long-standing prejudices, won't qualify for consideration - reminiscent of the hundreds of "Pre-existing Condition" clauses of the Health Insurance Industry.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 29, 2013 9:12:22 AM | 69

..nobody cares if they regard the land left to their personal use as common property,"
It doesn't matter whether you care or not. The point is that the land was not, as you later confess with a sneer, private property. It was Crown Property, over which, inter alia, the cultivators had rights enforceable in law.

"..just as nobody cares whether privately owned slaves regard the patches they are allowed to grow their own subsistence crops upon as common property."

You appear to be mistaking sharecropping for feudalism. Again the point is not that the "slaves" were deluded (and these were far from being slaves as slaves at the time would have told you) but that they had rights which they insisted upon being respected.

"... The basic pre-modern European condition is serfdom, under which the peasants are the private property of their feudal lord."

Peasants were not the "private property of their feudal lord", any more than the feudal lords were the private property of their king or the king of the emperor or the emperor of the pope. That at least is my view. Yours is such a departure from the general consensus that I defer to any unrevealed source of information.

Your problem, Rowan, is that you have painted yourself into a corner by insisting that capitalist private property in land is part of the natural condition of society. This was Locke's view but it does not conform to the recorded facts. Locke was an ideologist for empire who laid the foundations of liberalism and, thus, neo-liberalism. It is one of the tragedies of the British left that they can never leave Locke behind. They refuse to answer his assertion "In the beginning all the world was America" by replying "and America was not a terra nullus in which the people were too savage to invent private property but functioning, cultured and efficient societies based upon the communal control and democratic "ownership" of the means of production.

May I recommend Bruce Trigger's Children of Aataentsic? Trigger was an anthropological historian whose works is a considerable advance on, the source of Marx's information, Morgan. He was also a marxist.

Posted by: bevin | Nov 29, 2013 9:16:50 AM | 70

America’s oldest Zionist Jewish Daily Forward has released its annual PR Award, “Forward 50“, which lists 50 top American Jews who have served the Jewish and Israeli interests the best in the previous 12 months. Pope Francis is the only Goyim who is on the 2013 list of the “notable Jews”.

Pope Francis is claimed to be the first Jesuit to head the Catholic Church. German author, Erich Ludendorfs (died 1937), in his book ‘Das Geheimnis Der Jesuitenmacht Und Ihr Ende’ has claimed that Jesuits are controlled by Zionist Jews. It all fits into place with what I have been saying.

Posted by: hans | Nov 29, 2013 9:37:47 AM | 71

you have painted yourself into a corner by insisting that capitalist private property in land is part of the natural condition of society.
No, I haven't. I never said that. That would be, and indeed is, nonsense. Fairly clearly, until capitalism exists, capitalism does not exist. Therefore, a fortiori, capitalist private property in land does not exist. The commodity form of private property in land does not exist. But private property in land exists, and also private property in castles, damsels, dragons, unicorns, ships, sealing wax, and slaves.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Nov 29, 2013 10:34:35 AM | 72

emmanuelle @ 68: May I throw in a second Amen? And, can the Pope's actions live up to his rhetoric? I for one, doubt it.

Posted by: ben | Nov 29, 2013 11:12:57 AM | 73

Parviziyi posted, quotes the Pope:

"When an elderly homeless person dies of exposure.... this is a case of exclusion."

Parv comments:

All States today have institutions in place that minimize the number of elderly homeless persons, and further institutions to minimize the number of homeless persons of any age who die of exposure. When an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, it necessarily means that the elderly homeless person evaded the organizations...

While one can agree for the sake of argument that the Popes have a terrible record on social policy, and that it remains so today, despite the new Pope, whatever, that would be a long and controversial discussion, dealing with charity, Gvmts., Religion, Taxes, and the like.

Parv’s comment make me angry.

Many, many, older ppl die:

of exclusion, aka - of cold - of hunger - of neglect - of lack of meds - of sadistic medical / elder care - of being imprisoned - of being ignored and left to rot - of having no avenue for appeal - of dealing with authorities with no positive outcome possible - of sexual abuse and giving up - of loneliness in a punitive system - of being targeted by authorities as they hold minor savings / property -> etc.

It is their fault because they did not join? They mostly did, and weep, or request euthanasia.

And that is in OECD, All States? Is that a joke?

arrrghhh

Posted by: Noirette | Nov 29, 2013 1:11:13 PM | 74

I really love it when the Pope attacks Adam Smith's Invisible Hand. Bravo!

Posted by: revenire | Nov 29, 2013 1:44:41 PM | 75

philippe@67

Some background ...

Thailand's conservative democratization
Thailand's “Good Coup”: The Fall of Thaksin, the Military and Democracy
the Khana Nitirat
FACThai's reports of Free speech on trial in Thailand

... I really cannot offer s definitive review of the what's been published on it.

Thailand is internally colonized by Bangkok. Although Thaksin is out for himself he was shrewd enough to empower popular mass politics and to climb up upon the bodies of the masses. But of course the driving power is mass politics versus elite exploitation ... one more short one Reconciliation as Betrayal The Parallel War: Taksin and the Red Shirts

Others, I've collected for one reason or another ...

Achara Ashayagachat
Tyrell Haberkorn
Kevin Hewison
Khun Angkhana Neelaphaijit
Sukunya Prueksakasemsuk
Pravit Rojanaphruk
Amphol Tangnoppakul
Giles Ji Ungpakorn
Thongchai Winichaikul
Junya Lek Yimprasert

Posted by: john francis lee | Nov 29, 2013 4:43:33 PM | 76

http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/search?q=thailand

Posted by: foff | Nov 29, 2013 5:14:51 PM | 77

jfl @76

Thanks. Lots of reading while I hunker by the stove while the first winter storm blows over Japan.

Posted by: Philippe | Nov 29, 2013 7:21:29 PM | 78

Posted by: hans | Nov 29, 2013 9:37:47 AM | 71

Wow. Thanks! That rang a big, loud bell and blew my mind!
Tony Abbot, Oz's new pro-corporate Prime Minister and Right-wing Crank, Opus Dei Warrior, Good Friend of Israel, anti-abortionist and intellectual (Rhodes Scholar) pygmy, came to power 3 months ago with an agenda of selling off Oz's (few) remaining public assets (aka "foreign investment").
Like his Liberal Party predecessor, John W Howaerd (Right-wing crank and Goy B'nai B'rith Gold Medal winner), he's adopted Howard's post election 'non-core promise' stance nuanced, somewhat, by letting his actions speak louder than his denials; whereas Howard actually declared, publicly, that the stuff he said to win his election was littered with "non-core promises."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 29, 2013 9:16:56 PM | 79

Some background on the Pope's younger days -

" The pope's earlier days jobs also included sweeping floors and running laboratory tests, according to a report from the Catholic News Service. The Pope revealed that like most students, who want some money during their university days, he needed to make a little cash on the side.

So he worked in a bar in Buenos Aires and did some moonlighting as a bouncer. "

Posted by: curious | Dec 3, 2013 11:40:38 AM | 80

...and some background on the Pope's latter days -

Ancient prophecies point to Pope Francis being the last
http://www.news.com.au/world/ancient-prophecies-point-to-pope-francis-being-the-last/story-fndir2ev-1226596943811

Let us pray / keep our fingers crossed.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 16, 2013 3:03:18 PM | 81

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