Capitalism and Catholic

I think true capitalism is good Catholicism. I am not referring to crony capitalism.

I am referring to fairness and money being created by honest people creating a product a lot of people want to buy. When people earn money from their inventions / creativity, they have more to give away.


Ok, show where and when there has actually been true capitalism as you define it.

Even in its imperfection, capitalism has greatly increased the world’s wealth and reduced the # of people in extreme poverty. The price mechanism of capitalism allows us to efficiently deploy resources to the people that purchase them and the capital markets help to efficiently set prices that lead to neither a shortage nor a surplus as a shortage causes prices to rise and a surplus causes prices to fall.

There is no true capitalism as government regulation, government favors, and individual behaviors get in the way of a competitive marketplace causing prolonged shortages and surpluses.


Totally agree with how great capitalism is. It beats all alternatives in practice.


We need to get the federal government out of the regulation business. We need get be limit our public official ability to use their office for private gain.


+1 The problem is we always want a solution to every problem. Unfortunately, not all problems can be solved by government regulation and can be made worse.

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We know that our elected and appointed officials are corrupt. I think the number that are not corrupt is small, less than 5%, But how can we limit that ability? Term limits? I dont think that would new elected officials would just become corrupt that much quicker.

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Well I was an Econ-Stats Major in college and when you talk about Capitalism, well there are many schools of it and there are few certain facts and a lot of it is learned after a crisis or mistake. What you are describing isn’t Capitalism, but just a society of good people.

If you go back to Adam Smith in his Wealth of Nations, Capitalism would be marked by the invisible hand of self-interest. What a Capitalist is, is someone who has money to invest in a business. It is not necessarily the boss of the business; it’s the financier. In fact, the Capitalist may know nothing about the business, he is just the one who funds it, owns it, and the one who earns the profits. So, there are very few Capitalist in the world the rest of us, as Economics would say is, is Labor. So, a CEO isn’t a Capitalist but just another Laborer.

So, in Economics there is Politics and there are different schools of Capitalism each one with a different model of the eventual outcome of certain policies. You can be an Economist and believe in rent control and you can be another Economist and not believe in rent control.

Me, as a Catholic having worked in Financial circles before I became disabled I know their interests (as Adam Smith would point out the invisible hand of self-interest) aren’t necessarily my interests. I know there are several Monopolies or Oligopolies from tech, to TV, to energy. So, this whole world functions in an imperfect market. And corruption is very common in the financial world even to this day.

As a Catholic, I value being middle class and away from those circles. I wouldn’t want to be wealthy. There are verses about that in the Gospel. I’d rather live simply and give to God and my community as I can then be subjected to other’s self-interest.


I agree with your definition here. Capitalism takes into account one’s self-interest.

Owning things in common at the other extreme assumes that people will do what is the right thing for unitarianism (what’s best for the most people) and doesn’t take into account what is best for oneself.

Why wouldn’t you want to be wealthy? If you were wealthy, you would have security. You could create wealth in others by giving them jobs in your business. Finally, you could give to others in a way you saw fit. I agree that we are not of this world and can’t take it with you, but being wealthy by itself isn’t evil. It’s the love of that money and the unwillingness to share it with others voluntarily that’s the root of all evil.

Being wealthy doesn’t make you evil. Being wealthy reflects the person you always were.

I’d say probably 95% of economists whether left, right, or center disagree with the effectiveness of rent control. It creates a short supply of housing that benefits no one: people whom get rent control housing gets housing that falls apart and inadequate repairs and other people need to purchase co-ops or live outside the area due to a shortage of available housing. Relaxed zoning standards help a lot more.

When rents are allowed to rise with market forces, development begins. Development needs to go at a feverish pace (not encumbered by regulation or providing the wrong kind of housing) until supply outpaces demand causing prices to fall. Prices will continue to rise if demand continues to outstrip supply and government intervention creates a permanent or prolonged shortage of available housing.

Obviously, there is nothing wrong with owning a vineyard and hiring people to do the harvest and paying them for their labor. That’s capitalism: whether one owns a farm or a factory, the principle is the same.

There is a lot wrong with treating people like cogs in a money-making machine or treating the capital as if it is more important than people. The desire for gain has to be tempered with concern for those who are in want:

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Likewise, you shall not pick your vineyard bare, nor gather up the grapes that have fallen. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien. I, the LORD, am your God. Lev. 19:9-10

It also has to be fair to those whose labor is necessary to realize gain:
Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields are crying aloud, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter. You have condemned; you have murdered the righteous one; he offers you no resistance.
James 5:1-6


Regulation may do that. It also seeks to prevent excesses of a single-minded focus on the profit motive, which typically arise in capitalism unchecked by regulation.

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19 out of 20 government employees are corrupt? :thinking:

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Is being wealthy for those reasons a spiritual goal for you?

I find phil’s comment about all but 5% of elected or appointed leaders corrupt to be offensive in the extreme.

Most government leaders are hardworking folks who serve the public (often with little or no pay) out of a sense of trying to help their communities and the residents thereof.

They do so in the face of loudmouths who constantly bash them and accuse them of being corrupt without basis.

Phil, try living in a place like some third world country where the police are REALLY corrupt, and maybe you’ll be a bit more appreciative of how good you’ve got it.

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Capitalism refers to the process where profits (revenues minus costs) are reinvested to increase production capacity or to expand a business.

Crony capitalism refers to agreements made between capitalists and politicians.

Capitalism by default doesn’t involve fairness but competition. Any fairness is enforced by the government representing the people.

Money created by honest people can only take place without banks or with full regulation of banks. Otherwise, money will be created that’s not backed by physical assets. Also, that money is not created arbitrarily by commercial or government banks but when there are borrowers.

A product or service is created that people may or may not want to buy, but it doesn’t mean that something that a lot of people want to buy is good for them or ethically or morally good. It also doesn’t matter for business as well because the bottom line is profit, and maximization of such, unless their corporate by-laws state otherwise.

Finally, capitalists have no obligation to give away products or services that they sell, and if they do, it’s usually to market their business. And if they give away more in the sense that they are able to sell more, then they do so because that is the main goal of their business: maximization of profit.

Thus, “true” capitalism (i.e., it doesn’t involve crony capitalism, is driven by fairness and honestly made money, and provides goods and services that people need and that are good for them) involves heavy regulation by the people, cooperation instead of competition, and minimum profit-making.

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A clarification of terms would be helpful.

Socialism is state capitalism. Free markets operate as private property capitalism.

Capitalism is proven as the most efficient economic system for the production of goods and services.

A main difference in the two systems is who decides what good and services will be produced. State capitalism leaves that decision to an elite few. Private property capitalism puts those decisions in the hands of the many.

If the “few” make a mistake and produce goods and services that no one wants the resulting corrections in the reassignment of resources can be devastating on people’s lives.

If the “many” make mistakes then the correction is immediate; they are separated from their capital. The pain is localized, the effect on people, in general, is minimal.

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You’re including hired employees. I am just using elected and appointed officials.

Doesn’t matter. You have zero basis to conclude that 95% of elected or appointed government officials in the US are “corrupt” (your words) and do a vast disservice to the overwhelming majority of them, who give a lot of time to their community and constituents, usually with absolutely no thanks whatsoever.


Socialism means a lot of different things to different people. Some people consider providing a social safety net such as food or rent aid or health care for low-income people to be “socialism.”

There aren’t just “two systems.” There are a lot of ways for a society to regulate how the goods and services that people need (and those they want that are in addition to that) are planned, provided and paid for and how the basic human needs of the citizenry are provided for.

I cannot believe that anybody here wants devil-take-the-hindmost capitalism where the destitute are allowed to be publicly exposed to the elements without food, shelter or healthcare and workers have no protections from the leverage that the owners of capital can have over them. I think we’ve all seen what happens at the other extreme, with its “five year plans” and other centralized decision-making that control what people produce and how they go about doing it.

I’d say that we have to avoid these two problems: callousness towards genuine needs of others and jealousy towards the good fortune and legitimate property ownership of others. That, I think, is the real balancing act. Those two have to be balanced within the realities that none of us succeeds alone and yet some of us will exert ourselves more than others and deserve the fruits of taking risks and making efforts that others didn’t make.

Perhaps now would be as good a time as ever to reread Centesimus annus by St John Paul II.

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