Sunday, February 14, 2010

More from Bishop Williamson on economics
A churchman who has some understanding of it. Of course he and classical liberals differ on religious liberty and the independence of the sciences (like there’s no such thing as Catholic physics versus physics in general, so it is with economics); he’s an integrist. But on the personal level he’s right that kicking God and common sense out of your life can lead to nonsense fantasy economics (that is, today’s mainstream economics, or just push a button on your computer and make more imaginary money).
Should a Catholic bishop leave to one side matters of economics on the grounds that he should keep to matters of religion? By no means! What a narrow view of religion one must take in order not to see that economics, or the art of managing the material goods necessary for life, is entirely governed by the view one takes of life, and the view one takes of life depends on religion. For how can religion (or its lack) be adequately understood except as the total view of life by which a man binds himself (or refuses to be bound) to the God who gave him his life?

If multitudes of men today think that economics have nothing to do with God, it is only because beforehand they think that he is either non-existent or insignificant. And supposing that there is an after-life, think they, then Hell is either non-existent (“We all go to Heaven”) or unimportant (“At least all my friends will be there”, they joke). Upon which presuppositions follow the shift from the economics of yesterday, economics of thrift, to those of today, spendthrift economics.

Yesterday, do not spend more than you earn. Save, and do not borrow, to invest. Do not solve debt with more debt. Today, it is patriotic to spend. Everybody will be prosperous if you spend regardless of what you earn. Do not save, because idle money benefits nobody. By all means borrow to make profitable investments. And if your debts turn sour, borrow more to get out of them.

These eat-drink-and-be-merry economics were intellectualised in particular by the highly influential British economist, John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), who once famously said, “In the end we all die”. By the 1970s President Nixon (1913-1994) was saying, “We are all Keynesians now”. And since the 1970s the Keynesian build-up has been continuous all the way to the 2000s orgy of lending, borrowing and spending, made possible only by the people's having given up on the old common sense of not spending more than you earn, and of shunning debt — “Owe no man anything but to love one another”, says the Word of God (Rom. XIII, 8), and “The borrower is servant to him that lendeth” (Prov. XXII, 7).

Right now the world is enslaving itself to the money-men, the orgy is collapsing, and the collapse is by no means over. Unemployment is far higher than the politicians can afford to admit, yet still they garner votes by promising jobs and free lunches for the people. The politicians have encouraged these unreal expectations by which they rise to power but on which they will not be able to deliver. The people are about to rise up, are rising up, in anger. The politicians will have to start foreign wars to take the people’s mind off domestic troubles. War is around the corner, to be followed, if God permits, by the usurers’ World Government. All because the people thought that God had nothing to do with life, and life nothing to do with God.

But see Daniel V, 5-6 and 24-28 ! The Lord God has our number (“Mane”), we have been weighed in his balance and found wanting (“Thecel”), our fun-land is over (“Phares”). It remains for us to take our medicine.
More on the bishop.

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