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Author Topic: Re: Occupy Wall Street  (Read 41474 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 11, 2011, 10:07:11 PM »

I personally am sympathetic to the occupy wall street movement. I think if our hierarchs can join the "March for Life" then we certainly can support a movement which addresses other injustices in our society. Generally speaking, with the big exception of issues surrounding abortion and sexuality, I sympathize with the wider anti-capitalist movement and think this more closely approximates the Christian attitude than the so-called Christian right (no offense to the right-wingers here). I think participation in such movements in a principled way can help demonstrate that we aren't all right-wing ideologues- that one can be a faithful traditional Christian without aligning with the most reactionary elements of society.

That said Christianity is not a political ideology and, while endeavoring to improve society, does not expect to create a truly just or equitable society on earth. Our purposes in helping fellow human beings are primarily otherworldly and this may sometimes come into conflict with ideologies that often scoff at "charity" and direct acts of kindness which supposedly slow our journey toward anarchy/ communism/ pick-your-utopia. Inevitably we are labeled quietists and similar things, just as the reactionaries will consider us disloyal.
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2011, 10:10:10 PM »

I personally am sympathetic to the occupy wall street movement. I think if our hierarchs can join the "March for Life" then we certainly can support a movement which addresses other injustices in our society. Generally speaking, with the big exception of issues surrounding abortion and sexuality, I sympathize with the wider anti-capitalist movement and think this more closely approximates the Christian attitude than the so-called Christian right (no offense to the right-wingers here). I think participation in such movements in a principled way can help demonstrate that we aren't all right-wing ideologues- that one can be a faithful traditional Christian without aligning with the most reactionary elements of society.

That said Christianity is not a political ideology and, while endeavoring to improve society, does not expect to create a truly just or equitable society on earth. Our purposes in helping fellow human beings are primarily otherworldly and this may sometimes come into conflict with ideologies that often scoff at "charity" and direct acts of kindness which supposedly slow our journey toward anarchy/ communism/ pick-your-utopia. Inevitably we are labeled quietists and similar things, just as the reactionaries will consider us disloyal.

I agree with you. I'm also sympathetic to the movement and I'm most likely going to the march the group in my city is having. I believe that as Christians, we have a duty to stand against injustice.
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2011, 10:16:21 PM »

I personally am sympathetic to the occupy wall street movement. I think if our hierarchs can join the "March for Life" then we certainly can support a movement which addresses other injustices in our society. Generally speaking, with the big exception of issues surrounding abortion and sexuality, I sympathize with the wider anti-capitalist movement and think this more closely approximates the Christian attitude than the so-called Christian right (no offense to the right-wingers here). I think participation in such movements in a principled way can help demonstrate that we aren't all right-wing ideologues- that one can be a faithful traditional Christian without aligning with the most reactionary elements of society.

That said Christianity is not a political ideology and, while endeavoring to improve society, does not expect to create a truly just or equitable society on earth. Our purposes in helping fellow human beings are primarily otherworldly and this may sometimes come into conflict with ideologies that often scoff at "charity" and direct acts of kindness which supposedly slow our journey toward anarchy/ communism/ pick-your-utopia. Inevitably we are labeled quietists and similar things, just as the reactionaries will consider us disloyal.

I am not the first to observe this, but when it comes to critiques of capitalism as it is currently played out in the West (ie: oligarchical corparatism), the right and left seem to start to converge in certain ways.
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2011, 10:31:41 PM »

I can understand injustice, but isn't the root of the problem not just in those who lead corporations, but also in the general public?  It seems both are rooted in greed, and what I deserve senario.
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2011, 10:50:24 PM »

I can't speak for other cities, but I'm glad to see some of these spoiled hippie brats get arrested here in Albuquerque (it's a college town, so it's either those or the grizzled, poorly-photocopied socialist newspaper hippies...I can't tell which is worse, but I'm tired of both). I don't care what you're protesting, you don't spit on people because they're coming out of the bank or shopping at Walmart. Don't the "99%" shop at Walmart because of the economic deprivation that the protesters are apparently trying to alleviate? Being an idiot and trashing things doesn't make the corporate higher-ups rethink their growth strategies. It makes more work for the minimum wage worker who is probably even worse off than you, Mr. Trust Fund.
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2011, 11:08:30 PM »

Don't the "99%" shop at Walmart because of the economic deprivation that the protesters are apparently trying to alleviate?

Of course not.  They get their Gluten-Free goodies from the local co-op for 9 times the price, and buy their way into eco-Heaven.

Seriously, poverty is bad, greed is bad.  So is "prosecuting" people for doing legal things you don't like.  If people think this is a coherent, well thought out movement... I really can't help. Without getting too political, most of these protest movements, right, left, whatever, seem quite vitriolic.   

I don't think the Church should take any stand on this.  Our positions are clear; which is more than this "movement" can claim.  We don't need to be muddled by the likes of this rabble.
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 11:42:18 PM »

I've been many times to the one in Chicago. Definitely "leftist" but with a smattering of Ron Paul fans and some really confused/deranged individuals. Still, I think it's good, more and more people show up, there is a general, but quite shapeless, discontent about the free-market economy; hopefully it will gain more shape.
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2011, 01:19:15 AM »

I've been many times to the one in Chicago. Definitely "leftist" but with a smattering of Ron Paul fans and some really confused/deranged individuals. Still, I think it's good, more and more people show up, there is a general, but quite shapeless, discontent about the free-market economy; hopefully it will gain more shape.


I'll wave from my office building the next time you're there. They do provide for some entertainment during the lunch hour.

-Nick
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2011, 02:24:35 AM »

Imagine a man standing in front of an Occupy Wall Street crowd:

Man: What do we want!?!

Crowd: Things to not suck!

Man: How do we get that!?!

Crowd: By stopping bad things!

Man: Who's gonna fix this!?!

Crowd: Somebody important!
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2011, 03:10:50 AM »

I've been many times to the one in Chicago. Definitely "leftist" but with a smattering of Ron Paul fans and some really confused/deranged individuals. Still, I think it's good, more and more people show up, there is a general, but quite shapeless, discontent about the free-market economy; hopefully it will gain more shape.


I'll wave from my office building the next time you're there. They do provide for some entertainment during the lunch hour.

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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2011, 03:16:11 AM »

Imagine a man standing in front of an Occupy Wall Street crowd:

Man: What do we want!?!

Crowd: Things to not suck!

Man: How do we get that!?!

Crowd: By stopping bad things!

Man: Who's gonna fix this!?!

Crowd: Somebody important!
That's the thing these people are in dire need of a public figure that represents them.
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2011, 06:47:11 AM »

I've been many times to the one in Chicago. Definitely "leftist" but with a smattering of Ron Paul fans and some really confused/deranged individuals. Still, I think it's good, more and more people show up, there is a general, but quite shapeless, discontent about the free-market economy; hopefully it will gain more shape.


The anti-globalization movement was very similar; eventually it got dominated by the professional activist subculture and then fizzled out into irrelevance. The difference with this movement is that it's more proactive, not just responding to IMF or G8 meetings. It's still likely though that it will either go the same route or perhaps devolve into a constituency for the same old politicians.
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2011, 08:50:54 AM »

There wouldn't be competition-resistant large wealthies if not for government protection. Money is the less powerful of the great mundane forms of power. If people want to see big capital being more fair or humane, they should march against governments' bail outs, interventions, subsidies and laws that make it prohibitive or too risk the emergence of new competitors.

"Capitalism" does not exist, it is a marxist construct to oppose and better clarify the concepts of socialism and communism. What people call "capitalism" is either the dirty cabal of govenrment and the private sector - which is more properly classified as mercantilism, and here indignation is due and fair - or it is the simple natural order that people want to make exchange of goods and services and having a common currency facilitates it. Many times shocked by the first people end up attacking the latter and that's the problem.

The irony is that the solution for the mercantilist cabal is the separation of government and the market, but concentrating the political and economic power in just on class of people - the government - is the ultimate sweet dream of the left. For some reason the leftist mind - which I once had - thinks that giving all the power of big money to the control of politics, this immaculate race of honest beings, will solve the problems of oppression instead of legitimizing them.

I do not sympathize at all with this march. It is misguided, self-righteous and absolutely off the mark. It's the kind of "feel good about yourself" thing that doesn't change anything and just kicks a dog everybody loves to hate. There is no courage or wisdom in that at all.
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2011, 09:00:51 AM »

It's true that those who want to resolve the problems of capitalism by state interventions are misguided. State intervention in the economy is in fact an essential feature for the survival and strengthening off capitalism. A real abolition of capital would require abolition of the state as well as money, wage labor, private property, etc.- in other words anarchist communism. That said I don't believe this is a realistic goal, worthy as it might be. Then again, talk of a "simple natural order" where people freely exchange goods and services is just as much a pipe dream as "pure communism." "Pure capitalism" has never existed and never can.
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« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2011, 09:02:35 AM »

There wouldn't be competition-resistant large wealthies if not for government protection. Money is the less powerful of the great mundane forms of power. If people want to see big capital being more fair or humane, they should march against governments' bail outs, interventions, subsidies and laws that make it prohibitive or too risk the emergence of new competitors.

"Capitalism" does not exist, it is a marxist construct to oppose and better clarify the concepts of socialism and communism. What people call "capitalism" is either the dirty cabal of govenrment and the private sector - which is more properly classified as mercantilism, and here indignation is due and fair - or it is the simple natural order that people want to make exchange of goods and services and having a common currency facilitates it. Many times shocked by the first people end up attacking the latter and that's the problem.

The irony is that the solution for the mercantilist cabal is the separation of government and the market, but concentrating the political and economic power in just on class of people - the government - is the ultimate sweet dream of the left. For some reason the leftist mind - which I once had - thinks that giving all the power of big money to the control of politics, this immaculate race of honest beings, will solve the problems of oppression instead of legitimizing them.

I do not sympathize at all with this march. It is misguided, self-righteous and absolutely off the mark. It's the kind of "feel good about yourself" thing that doesn't change anything and just kicks a dog everybody loves to hate. There is no courage or wisdom in that at all.

Last time I looked at history, giving all the money and power to the government did not do so well and in fact left a lot of people dead.  The whole idea, its not fair, I should have what they have, be equal.  There is a whole mess of vices involved.
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« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2011, 09:07:03 AM »

It's true that those who want to resolve the problems of capitalism by state interventions are misguided. State intervention in the economy is in fact an essential feature for the survival and strengthening off capitalism. A real abolition of capital would require abolition of the state as well as money, wage labor, private property, etc.- in other words anarchist communism. That said I don't believe this is a realistic goal, worthy as it might be. Then again, talk of a "simple natural order" where people freely exchange goods and services is just as much a pipe dream as "pure communism." "Pure capitalism" has never existed and never can.

I really do not think the abolition of money in society in general is a worthy goal. It is an instrument, a tool, for measuring up economic value of things. Either it is gold coins or paper representing trust in the financial system like we have today, it is a facilitator. Like a knife or fire it can be misused but, still, not having it would make things worse.

In limited societies though, like monasteries or small groups of committed Christians who voluntarily choose to live without money, it can work.
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« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2011, 09:49:06 AM »

I personally believe what is underneath all of what is going on is fear.  I suspect people realize in their gut that the economic situation in the west is dire, being a house of cards that is about to tumble.  So, they fear for their lively hood, they fear for their families, they are angry over, over regulation of our individual lives, being manipulated by propaganda and policy in a society in which essentially at any time a person can be accused and left in both financial and social ruin, etc.  People were excited about the tech industry until that bubble went bust, then the housing boom until it went bust, they saw hope, but now they fear what is next?
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« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2011, 10:27:54 AM »

It's true that those who want to resolve the problems of capitalism by state interventions are misguided. State intervention in the economy is in fact an essential feature for the survival and strengthening off capitalism. A real abolition of capital would require abolition of the state as well as money, wage labor, private property, etc.- in other words anarchist communism. That said I don't believe this is a realistic goal, worthy as it might be. Then again, talk of a "simple natural order" where people freely exchange goods and services is just as much a pipe dream as "pure communism." "Pure capitalism" has never existed and never can.

I really do not think the abolition of money in society in general is a worthy goal. It is an instrument, a tool, for measuring up economic value of things. Either it is gold coins or paper representing trust in the financial system like we have today, it is a facilitator. Like a knife or fire it can be misused but, still, not having it would make things worse.

In limited societies though, like monasteries or small groups of committed Christians who voluntarily choose to live without money, it can work.

ISTM, it works in such examples because of friendship, which can only exist between people of similar virtue, and a sense of family/common interest. Justice tends toward friendship, but because of unequal virtue, and a variety of interests, we need a "common denominator", currency, in a polis or larger unit. Clearly life is better and happier without money, but for a large, diverse society living without money isn't possible. Where friendship does not or cannot exist, justice is necessary. I think you and Iconodule are really saying the same thing, it's just that one of you has more of a distaste for money than the other.
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« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2011, 10:33:13 AM »

Liquidate the kulaks! (Just kidding.)

Marxism is a siren song, isn't it? Unfortunately, it calls sailors to head their ships straight into the rocks and, then, to the bottom of the sea.

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« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2011, 12:02:34 PM »

I personally believe what is underneath all of what is going on is fear.  I suspect people realize in their gut that the economic situation in the west is dire, being a house of cards that is about to tumble.  So, they fear for their lively hood, they fear for their families, they are angry over, over regulation of our individual lives, being manipulated by propaganda and policy in a society in which essentially at any time a person can be accused and left in both financial and social ruin, etc.  People were excited about the tech industry until that bubble went bust, then the housing boom until it went bust, they saw hope, but now they fear what is next?

"Capitalism" is "about to fall" since Marx. The "financial armaggedon" is a common trope of leftist literature since then. Mercantilism *could* be tamed by peoples who were willing to organize their countries in a system that truly separates government from market, but that would mean the boogeyman of the progressive left. Capitalism in the second sense I mentioned, as just exchange of goods and services mediated by some kind of currency, will never "fall" because that's not an ideology, it's just common sense way of doing said exchanges.
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« Reply #20 on: October 12, 2011, 12:10:45 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.
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« Reply #21 on: October 12, 2011, 12:11:04 PM »

I personally believe what is underneath all of what is going on is fear.  I suspect people realize in their gut that the economic situation in the west is dire, being a house of cards that is about to tumble.  So, they fear for their lively hood, they fear for their families, they are angry over, over regulation of our individual lives, being manipulated by propaganda and policy in a society in which essentially at any time a person can be accused and left in both financial and social ruin, etc.  People were excited about the tech industry until that bubble went bust, then the housing boom until it went bust, they saw hope, but now they fear what is next?

"Capitalism" is "about to fall" since Marx. The "financial armaggedon" is a common trope of leftist literature since then. Mercantilism *could* be tamed by peoples who were willing to organize their countries in a system that truly separates government from market, but that would mean the boogeyman of the progressive left. Capitalism in the second sense I mentioned, as just exchange of goods and services mediated by some kind of currency, will never "fall" because that's not an ideology, it's just common sense way of doing said exchanges.
No, capitalism is the economic system that runs on and exists for the sole purpose of accumulating and expanding the capital. It's not just simply exchanging goods by means of a currency. Capitalists themselves "toil" under this law and cannot escape it and still stay in the game. But that can change. We once had feudalism in the West.
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« Reply #22 on: October 12, 2011, 12:15:30 PM »

One of the crucial problems of Marxism is assuming that misery will incite revolt and drive people toward revolutionary class consciousness. Marxism recognized that hoping that everyone could  be convinced of socialist ideas and then implement them was naive and idealistic, but it put its faith instead in an economic determinism where the oppressed would be compelled toward revolution. That was really the crux of the "communism is inevitable" argument- capitalism's instability inevitably leads to catastrophic collapses and resulting revolutionary ferment. That is one possibility but more often misery pushes people in other directions which do not really threaten capital.  Things got even worse when fake communist ideologies like Castroism and Eurocommunism proliferated which give the illusion of threatening capitalism but which instead install a different form of capitalism. The "inevitability" that the 20th century showed us is, IMO, that revolutionary movements will get fragmented, confused, corrupted, and co-opted. It is still possible that capitalism might be abolished, like feudalism was, but what replaces it will be sure to disappoint.
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« Reply #23 on: October 12, 2011, 12:17:23 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.

The rich today steal from the poor by exploiting their labor and paying them a tiny fraction of the value of that labor.
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« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2011, 12:26:34 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.

The rich today steal from the poor by exploiting their labor and paying them a tiny fraction of the value of that labor.
That's not even comparable. Working for the "rich" is voluntary, having your money stolen by the State (via taxation or inflation) is not.
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« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2011, 12:32:17 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.

The rich today steal from the poor by exploiting their labor and paying them a tiny fraction of the value of that labor.
That's not even comparable. Working for the "rich" is voluntary

When the other choice is to starve, no it's not. You can also "choose" not to pay taxes.
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« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2011, 12:42:10 PM »

I personally would be disappointed if the Church supported these guys.  And when people say they want the government to have all the money, it just blows my mind.  Have you seen how irresponsible the govt is?  Sure, greed is bad.  But the government is just as greedy (if not MORE greedy) than the private sector. 

Would you rather someone be greedy with that they earned?  Or greedy with what they stole?

I agree the church should stay out of it.
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« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2011, 12:44:51 PM »

when people say they want the government to have all the money, it just blows my mind. 

Yes, that's exactly what people are demanding.
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« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2011, 12:46:37 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.

The rich today steal from the poor by exploiting their labor and paying them a tiny fraction of the value of that labor.
That's not even comparable. Working for the "rich" is voluntary

When the other choice is to starve, no it's not. You can also "choose" not to pay taxes.
The system is far from perfect, but it isn't quite that black and white. The "poor" often face incredible pressure to work for the "rich", but no amount of pressure can destroy free will (and starvation isn't necessarily the only alternative). Arguing the poor have no other option is tantamount to arguing the devil forces us to sin. In other words, the poor aren't slaves.

While I can refuse to "pay" taxes, I can't avoid the worse tax of all - the inflation tax. That is the real theft in the system.
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« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2011, 12:48:21 PM »

when people say they want the government to have all the money, it just blows my mind. 

Yes, that's exactly what people are demanding.

I know thats not "exactly" what they are demanding...
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« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2011, 12:49:11 PM »

I personally would be disappointed if the Church supported these guys.  And when people say they want the government to have all the money, it just blows my mind.  Have you seen how irresponsible the govt is?  Sure, greed is bad.  But the government is just as greedy (if not MORE greedy) than the private sector.  

Would you rather someone be greedy with that they earned?  Or greedy with what they stole?

I agree the church should stay out of it.
I could produce plenty of documents in romanian 9 and the Russians and Ukrainians here in their language, the Serbs in Serbian etc) where the Orthodox hierarchy is fully in support of Communism and support the various programs or the respective Communist parties.
What has to go, though, is not greed, since this is not a moral problem, as it is a problem inherent to the system itself,. The game has to be played differently: the dictatorship of the proletariat.
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« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2011, 12:56:27 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.

The rich today steal from the poor by exploiting their labor and paying them a tiny fraction of the value of that labor.
That's not even comparable. Working for the "rich" is voluntary

When the other choice is to starve, no it's not. You can also "choose" not to pay taxes.
The system is far from perfect, but it isn't quite that black and white. The "poor" often face incredible pressure to work for the "rich", but no amount of pressure can destroy free will (and starvation isn't necessarily the only alternative). Arguing the poor have no other option is tantamount to arguing the devil forces us to sin.

This doesn't make sense. An underpaid job isn't a sin except for the boss.
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« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2011, 01:03:42 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.

The rich today steal from the poor by exploiting their labor and paying them a tiny fraction of the value of that labor.
That's not even comparable. Working for the "rich" is voluntary

When the other choice is to starve, no it's not. You can also "choose" not to pay taxes.
The system is far from perfect, but it isn't quite that black and white. The "poor" often face incredible pressure to work for the "rich", but no amount of pressure can destroy free will (and starvation isn't necessarily the only alternative). Arguing the poor have no other option is tantamount to arguing the devil forces us to sin.

This doesn't make sense. An underpaid job isn't a sin except for the boss.

Even some Orthodox think that poverty is a sin--as in it's a sin to be poor--a personal sin of the poor person. They're horribly wrong, but they still think that way.
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« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2011, 01:04:47 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.

The rich today steal from the poor by exploiting their labor and paying them a tiny fraction of the value of that labor.
That's not even comparable. Working for the "rich" is voluntary

When the other choice is to starve, no it's not. You can also "choose" not to pay taxes.
The system is far from perfect, but it isn't quite that black and white. The "poor" often face incredible pressure to work for the "rich", but no amount of pressure can destroy free will (and starvation isn't necessarily the only alternative). Arguing the poor have no other option is tantamount to arguing the devil forces us to sin.

This doesn't make sense. An underpaid job isn't a sin except for the boss.
You misunderstood my post. Arguing that the "rich" steal from the "poor" through labor exploitation (capitalist labor is voluntary - no matter how much pressure is behind it) is the equivalent to arguing that the devil forces men to sin (which is also voluntary - no matter how much pressure is behind it).
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« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2011, 01:05:37 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.

Not at all, actually. He spoke against wealth redistribution through coercion. If it's not voluntary, it's not charity, it's not virtuous, and it only breeds more evil.

Let me assist you with this one

Quote from: St. John Chrysostom
Should we look to kings and princes to put right the inequalities between rich and poor? Should we require soldiers to come and seize the rich person’s gold and distribute it among his destitute neighbors? Should we beg the emperor to impose a tax on the rich so great that it reduces them to the level of the poor and then to share the proceeds of that tax among everyone? Equality imposed by force would achieve nothing, and do much harm. Those who combined both cruel hearts and sharp minds would soon find ways of making themselves rich again.

Worse still, the rich whose gold was taken away would feel bitter and resentful; while the poor who received the gold from the hands of soldiers would feel no gratitude, because no generosity would have prompted the gift. Far from bringing moral benefit to society, it would actually do moral harm. Material justice cannot be accomplished by compulsion, a change of heart will not follow. The only way to achieve true justice is to change people’s hearts first—and then they will joyfully share their wealth.

Emphasis mine.

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« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2011, 01:10:32 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.

The rich today steal from the poor by exploiting their labor and paying them a tiny fraction of the value of that labor.
That's not even comparable. Working for the "rich" is voluntary

When the other choice is to starve, no it's not. You can also "choose" not to pay taxes.
The system is far from perfect, but it isn't quite that black and white. The "poor" often face incredible pressure to work for the "rich", but no amount of pressure can destroy free will (and starvation isn't necessarily the only alternative). Arguing the poor have no other option is tantamount to arguing the devil forces us to sin.

This doesn't make sense. An underpaid job isn't a sin except for the boss.
You misunderstood my post. Arguing that the "rich" steal from the "poor" through labor exploitation (capitalist labor is voluntary - no matter how much pressure is behind it) is the equivalent to arguing that the devil forces men to sin (which is also voluntary - no matter how much pressure is behind it).

In that case slavery is voluntary too since a slave could choose not to perform his labors and face the consequences.

Adam's choice to be deceived by the devil was also voluntary but the devil will be punished for it nonetheless.
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« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2011, 01:14:22 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.

The rich today steal from the poor by exploiting their labor and paying them a tiny fraction of the value of that labor.
That's not even comparable. Working for the "rich" is voluntary

When the other choice is to starve, no it's not. You can also "choose" not to pay taxes.
The system is far from perfect, but it isn't quite that black and white. The "poor" often face incredible pressure to work for the "rich", but no amount of pressure can destroy free will (and starvation isn't necessarily the only alternative). Arguing the poor have no other option is tantamount to arguing the devil forces us to sin.

This doesn't make sense. An underpaid job isn't a sin except for the boss.
You misunderstood my post. Arguing that the "rich" steal from the "poor" through labor exploitation (capitalist labor is voluntary - no matter how much pressure is behind it) is the equivalent to arguing that the devil forces men to sin (which is also voluntary - no matter how much pressure is behind it).

If it's actual exploitation, then it actually is stealing (or a similar sin) according to St. Tikhon of Zadonsk. Employers have a duty to take care of their employees and not exploit them, just as employees have a duty to do their work well.
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« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2011, 01:15:17 PM »

In Sweden, hearts are already changed. If they weren't, all Swedes would emigrate immediately.

Ahh yes, Sweden.  A perfect example of Holy Orthodoxy.
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« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2011, 01:21:48 PM »

Freedom is an illusion in any liberal democracy: it's a slave's freedom to choose a master, if that. Work in a capitalist society is exploitation no matter what, since it has a higher value than paid for, and that value that's not given back to laborers increases capital (money not needed for consumption, but for re-investment).
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« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2011, 01:25:57 PM »

Actually, just for the fun of it, yesterday I carried a cardboard with a quote from St. John Chrysostom against "the rich". I remember this particular businessman stopping to look at it and then getting angry and scoffing at it. It's good it elicits this sort of response.

St. John was a Marxist.
I wouldn't go that far, but he certainly saw the systematic injustice done by the rich against the poor and was willing to speak against it, albeit with too many caveats, in may opinion, formed by a superficial reading of his sermons etc.

What people usually forget is that the "rich" in St. John's time were those who were the State, not merchants or people engaged in commerce. When St. John says they take the money from the poor, he is saying it in a very direct and literal way, for the dukes, emperors and bureaucrats did take the money from the poor in form of taxes. Campaigns for lowering taxes and limiting the power of the State are much more in convergence with St. John's remarks.

The rich today steal from the poor by exploiting their labor and paying them a tiny fraction of the value of that labor.
That's not even comparable. Working for the "rich" is voluntary

When the other choice is to starve, no it's not. You can also "choose" not to pay taxes.
The system is far from perfect, but it isn't quite that black and white. The "poor" often face incredible pressure to work for the "rich", but no amount of pressure can destroy free will (and starvation isn't necessarily the only alternative). Arguing the poor have no other option is tantamount to arguing the devil forces us to sin.

This doesn't make sense. An underpaid job isn't a sin except for the boss.
You misunderstood my post. Arguing that the "rich" steal from the "poor" through labor exploitation (capitalist labor is voluntary - no matter how much pressure is behind it) is the equivalent to arguing that the devil forces men to sin (which is also voluntary - no matter how much pressure is behind it).

In that case slavery is voluntary too since a slave could choose not to perform his labors and face the consequences.

Adam's choice to be deceived by the devil was also voluntary but the devil will be punished for it nonetheless.
Those two are not necessarily equivalent. Active consequences exist for a slave refusing to work, whereas differing passive ones occur when a capitalist laborer refuses to work for the "rich". The difference is that one is enforced with either physical harm or loss of liberty, while the other is not.

I by no means wish to absolve the "rich" of any wrong doing (whose crimes are ever numerous in other areas), but I see no wrong doing in paying someone what you promised (and agreed) to pay them in the first place.
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« Reply #40 on: October 12, 2011, 01:30:09 PM »

In Sweden, hearts are already changed. If they weren't, all Swedes would emigrate immediately.

Ahh yes, Sweden.  A perfect example of Holy Orthodoxy.


No. "Orthodox countries" or "Orthodox nations" do not exist, so no country or nation is an example of Orthodoxy. Some *people* are Orthodox. Some Swedish people are Orthodox.
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« Reply #41 on: October 12, 2011, 01:36:42 PM »

Before I respond to this, with some of the responses becoming "political" in  nature, shouldn't this be moved to the Politics thread?
No. A discussion of economics, though it inevitably touches on subjects of government and how much she should participate in the economic system, is not in itself a discussion of politics. If you wish to express a specific political point of view, however, feel free to broach the subject by starting a new thread on the Politics board.
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« Reply #42 on: October 12, 2011, 01:44:07 PM »

If you wish to express a specific political point of view, however, feel free to broach the subject by starting a new thread on the Politics board.

Oh, so if I wanted to write about how nifty Marxism is, I should start a new thread on the Politics board? 
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« Reply #43 on: October 12, 2011, 01:44:24 PM »

I can't speak for other cities, but I'm glad to see some of these spoiled hippie brats get arrested here in Albuquerque (it's a college town, so it's either those or the grizzled, poorly-photocopied socialist newspaper hippies...I can't tell which is worse, but I'm tired of both). I don't care what you're protesting, you don't spit on people because they're coming out of the bank or shopping at Walmart. Don't the "99%" shop at Walmart because of the economic deprivation that the protesters are apparently trying to alleviate? Being an idiot and trashing things doesn't make the corporate higher-ups rethink their growth strategies. It makes more work for the minimum wage worker who is probably even worse off than you, Mr. Trust Fund.
Hey, I'm from Albquerque too. Cool! Yes, I am happy to see the UNM/Nob hill hippie crowd arrested as well.
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« Reply #44 on: October 12, 2011, 01:48:58 PM »

Unless the capitalist is actually involving the worker in false contract, no, he is not "giving back just a tiny fraction" of what the worker produces.

We create programs in my company. Programs for a huge financial corporation and that facilitate billions in operations around the world every day. But I am not producing billions. I produce a very tiny fraction of that. The sheer complexity and the number of people and talents involved to produce that in a concentrated effort is what produces it. CEOs make far more money not because they exploit us, but because they have something that most people lack: political connections and a social network that are the oil of this big machinery, together with some strategic vision in different levels of competency.

This was something hard for me to understand. But the ultimate power, the ultimate restricted resource *is* connections. And *any* distribution system be it of water, electricity or money requires that some "hubs" accumulate more of what is being distributed. The real social function of wealthy people is first and foremost to invest their money wisely in prosperity creating ventures. That is what will level up the quality of life of everybody, including the poor.

Something that will never dissappear though, is the fact that a few people will have vastly more than the majority. Pray to God they never dissapear! This would be like loosing all the dams and water towers dissappeared.

The fact is that the poor in the developed world, or even in developing countries like Brazil, liver far better than their ancestors. They live more, they experience more. Compared to the billionaires, they experience less, but compared with the past it's far better.

I use to say that the left hates the picture of the social pyramid, and would like to make it a narrow rectangle, with everybody more or less on the same level. My stand is that the pyramid is a natural, desirable shape, and that it's not the form that has to change, but the pyramid must go up in the axis of quality of life. So what if the ridiculously rich can pay for pornographically expensive experimental treatments to make life longer? They're just making themselves the guinea pigs of humanity. Sooner or later that treatment will become stable, safe and accessible. That's why the health system must have a private sector and there must be treatments "accessible only to the rich". There are things that are too expensive and experimental to be made universally accessible. Today we have an average life expectancy of 75. Maybe the rich are at about 80. As health progresses the rich will experiment with novel initially expensive treatments and have a life expectancy of 110.. the poor will have a life expectancy of 90 and there will be some protester complaining the poor don't have access to the new taquionoscopy technology. Tongue

The rich are an important and useful part of society, even with their sins, as long as their wealth is part of a healthy financial system that is not artificially created by imposition of force.
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