Catholic Social Teaching and economics
David Loughery | Monday, March 1, 2010
Having read the Feb. 24 cluster of essays in support of Catholic Social Doctrine, I feel obliged to respond in some way.
Let me clarify: I am not Catholic and nothing I am about to say is rooted in Catholic Doctrine. Actually, Catholic Social Doctrine is one of the noblest and most idealistic pieces of writing on economics. However, it is also one of the most ill-considered and unrealistic.
I believe this not out of any sentimental attachment to the capitalist system, but out of the wholehearted belief that, in the long run, the incentives created by a free market serving well-educated and informed people create more general prosperity, and spread it more widely, than any other system ever conceived.
I am not saying this out of selfishness, as I intend to enter the military, not the private sector. I say this because every scrap of my intellect and compassion forces me to the realization that trying to pay people more than their productivity warrants only encourages them to work below their potential. This certainly makes them and us all worse off. Our educational system needs reform to make this truly possible, but that is no excuse to enact vast entitlements and destroy untold wealth.
Notre Dame may pay its workers however it much it feels is warranted by its faith. I am willing to accept the small increase in tuition to do this. However, noble or no, CST is not designed to deal with real human beings and shows no understanding of what makes our societies work. Its broad application would be so utterly irresponsible as to risk all material progress humanity has made in the past thousand years.