Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What is the New Statism?

This is a great article I discovered at

The author, Jeffery Tucker, reports on a piece published in the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, written by Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, head of the Vatican's bank. In his article Tedeschi (a former professor of financial ethics at the Catholic University of Milan) critiques the new "Statism" of our time and tells why Catholic Social Justice is opposed to unnecessary state interference in private economic affairs. The importance of this article is explained by Mr. Tucker:

"Usually the debate over Catholic thinking on economics takes place at a ridiculous level of abstraction, and, for this reason, these debates rarely make any difference in the real world. The truth is that hardly anyone with technical knowledge of economics and economic policy pays attention to them. Theorists go on about social justice, workers' rights, the morality of profit, the pluses and minuses of economic growth, the limits of market efficiency, and the like, but never get around to speaking about what's actually going on in the great struggle between market forces and the interventionist state."
Ettore Tedeschi cuts through the abstract and instead gives straight answers to refute the common left-wing misconceptions about Social Justice and the workings of modern economics. Here's a sample of Tucker's analysis:
 "Tedeschi's article was different. He pointedly names the source of the ideas that are wrecking government budgets, saddling the world with debt, leading to nationalizations and centralized control, and discouraging thrift. The source here is the body of writing by John Maynard Keynes, the British economist who came to rule the world with his ideas in the 1930s and 1940s, who has made a stunning resurgence in the last five years or so

"Keynes is like Marx in that he has been refuted again and again, and every generation of thinkers declares the body of ideas dead from the neck up. It was this way with Marx in the 1890s, when German thinkers were already dismissing his ideas as defunct. But it was all premature. So with Keynes: Economists in the late 1930s wrote him off, and again in the 1940s. By the late 1950s, economists were already apologizing in advance for refuting him yet again. And yet here we are, 75 years after the General Theory appeared, and Keynes is still the man.
"It's about time that someone with a voice in the Catholic world actually spoke about Keynesian theory, for this is indeed the source for just about every crazy scheme of governments to wreck the functioning of markets throughout the world. The naming of Keynesianism here falls in a great tradition, too. Popes from Leo XIII to Benedict XVI have condemned Marxism time and again, but it is not Marx who is the muse behind the current fiasco among developed economies on both sides of the Atlantic."
You can read the whole article here: What Is the New Statism?

The original piece by Ettore Gotti Tedeschi is here (unfortunately it is in Italian).

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