Many people believe laws to protect ownership and private property primarily favor the wealthy. But as Prof. Dan Russell explains, lack of property protections can lead to abject poverty.

(Via: Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics)

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  • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

    Chilean economist, Manfred Max-Neef, says that there is only one way to understand poverty. That way is to be poor, to live in poverty. And since the poor are not a monolith, then to understand poverty, one needs to be poor in more than one way. Max-Neef compares understanding poverty to understanding love. He says that one can know about love, but unless one falls in love, one will never understand it. And he says the same is true about poverty and so he lived among the poor to get an education from them.

    And yet, the Conservative perspective, and that perspective is expressed in many places in addition to this blog, tries to understand poverty from the perspective of the haves. Thus, the basic conservative message to the poor becomes, “Poverty is your fault. And if you want to escape poverty, you have to change because we aren’t going to.” That is the premise on which all other the conservative messages to the poor is based. And the preaching of that message is no more loud and clear than when Conservatives talk about minimum wage. For they say that if you make our business people pay you any more than we do now, we must fire some of you and not hire others. Why? It is because business people aren’t going to change from maximizing their own profits. They are not going to change regardless of how their actions affect others.

    All of this is important since we are coming up to Martin Luther King Jr. day. It is important because on that day, we will describe King as someone who has jumped on the bandwagon of our concerns and causes rather than the person who is constantly preaching repentance to us by saying that we need a revolution of values because the three problems of racism, economic injustice, and militarism are inextricably linked. Remember that when he was assassinated, King was working for higher pay and some degree of economic injustice for Memphis garbage collectors. Having said that, what do you think King would be saying about our minimum wage debate?

    • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

      Curt: Your refusal to take responsibility for the inhumane and indeed murderous ideology you espouse (100 million dead; Black Book of Communism), predictable leftist sophistries and constant hairsplitting of plain terms such as “conservative” and “liberal,” evasive use of terms such as “elites” and “monoliths” when you’re cornered on the actual historical record of your totalitarian collectivist program (which is plain to see for anyone with eyes in their head), your laughable claims to moral superiority against the factual record of your class warfare ideology, which has destroyed entire nations, all this and more we’ve put up with here on the PowerBlog for many, many months.

      Now you’re publishing lies like this: ” … the basic conservative message to the poor becomes, ‘Poverty is your fault. And if you want to escape poverty, you have to change because we aren’t going to.’ That is the premise on which all other the conservative messages to the poor is based.”

      Notice I used the word “lies” and not “distortions” or “errors.” You’re a clever guy — a self-described collectivist and “Man of the Left.” You know what you’re doing here.

      You owe us an apology.

      You can’t even acknowledge that there’s an honest debate about the minimum wage among economists — people who actually know something about mainstream economics.

      Wall Street Journal survey (Jan. 16): “Most economists also took a dim view on raising the federal minimum wage to above $10 an hour from its current $7.25. The Journal survey found 54% of the economists who responded were against the idea, 28% for it, and 18% thought it would have no meaningful impact on workers or the economy.

      Notice I used the word “sophistries” above to describe your thinking. That was intentional. Sophistry is classically defined as the “deliberate use of fallacious reasoning, intellectual charlatanism and moral unscrupulousness.”

      Because in Curt’s Cloud Cuckooland of Collectivism, which doesn’t exist and never will, there is no pain or suffering or tears, no Gulags, no state engineered famines (Holodomor), no firing squads and mass graves, no Berlin Walls or boat people, no state persecution of the Church, no environmental destruction on a scale never before imagined …

      Yes, Curt, we know you march with the poor people. Good for you. And good thing for them they don’t live in a country ruled by your criminal ideology.

      • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

        John,

        Your comment brings ups several issues, one of which I will address here. One might ask is there a difference between your conflation of all who believe in collectivist programs the same as my use of the phrase, “the basic conservative message?” I wrote the phrase that way for two reasons. First, I was trying to summarize my exposure to conservative thought and second, by using the word “basic,” I was allowing for the possibility that there were conservatives whose views could not be summarized by what I was writing. And I wrote that this basic thought blamed the poor for the very reason I wrote here. That the only call to change that conservatives, whom I have been reading, have issued is to the poor. Only those who are poor must change in order for them to escape poverty. Minimal changes within the system, such as raising the minimum wage, were opposed by all of the conservatives to whom I have been exposed. And I did not hear of or read one conservative who favored changing to a new system so as to help the poor. If you could cite some conservatives here who favor the raising of the minimum wage or who want to change to a new system, I would be obliged. But I haven’t read or heard one and thus I used the phrase, “the basic conservative message.”

        Let’s look at whether all who believe in collectivist programs subscribe to the Black Book Of Communism. I could cite older Socialists, such as Eugene Debs (see http://www.iww.org/history/biography/EugeneDebs/1), Emma Goldman (see http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/emma-goldman-there-is-no-communism-in-russia), or Upton Sinclair (see http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB114988215783676362) who opposed the tyranny of the Soviet Union. In fact, if you watch the video on Chomsky’s criticisms of Lenin/Trotsky, you’ll see how quickly divergent the Soviet Union changed from Left Marxism (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJb1xxwl81E). Or you could read about how Gandhi opposed Nehru’s following of the Soviet Union’s industrialism. Gandhi was another collectivist. In terms of today, if you take a quick look at Ezequiel Adamovsky’s Anti-Capitalism, you’ll see quite a sharp contrast between the Old Left, as represented by the Soviet Union’s takeover of the International and the new Anti-Capitalist movement (pg 122).

        We could also look democratically run, worker co-ops both here and in other countries as instances of socialism. After all, the first tenet of socialism is that businesses are owned and democratically operated by the workers. Isthmus Engineering (see http://www.isthmuseng.com/company/worker-owned-cooperative/) is an American instance of such a democratically run co-op noting that not all worker co-ops are democratically operated. And see, that is really the crux of the issue here. Socialism’s first tenet is worker-owned and run workplaces and what we see with poverty/minimum wage are workplaces which are managerially run, which is rather tyrannical for the workers. And perhaps for one instance, if you look up Libertarian Socialism (see http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Libertarian_socialism.html), you will see documentation on just one anti-capitalist group that challenges your grouping of all collectivists under one label. And if you want to call this fallacious reasoning, please note that it is those who use labels to overgeneralize who must show that on every instance, that all, as in a universal quantifier, who believe in any form of collectivism support the tyranny and atrocities performed by regimes like the Soviet Union. And once a single counterexample is provided, the all is disproved. Mathematically speaking that is basic logic, not fallacious reasoning.

        And, again, all of this is why I used the phrase, “the basic conservative message” because I was allowing for the existence of conservatives, outside of my own exposure, who were not blaming the poor for their poverty. I have not read every conservative and thus could not make an overgeneralized statement regarding them.

        Finally, if you want to cite all of these experts regarding what will happen if we increase the minimum wage, that is fine. Without changing our current system, they could very well be right. But suppose that that is true and it is fact that raising the minimum wage will cost the jobs of those who work at low paying jobs. Doesn’t such a fact call us to either modify the current system or change systems? Because the message to the poor from such a fact is, “Do you want employment with your poverty?” And the only reason why we would consider modifying the system or changing systems is if we looked at the status quo from experiences and the plight of the poor.

        • http://www.acton.org/ John Couretas

          So no apology forthcoming from you about the lies you published about conservatives and their views on poverty?

          • http://flamingfundamentalist.blogspot.com/ Curt Day

            John,
            Can you explain why I owe an apology? You claimed that my reasoning was faulty and yet you have not shown why.

            I asked for you to cite conservative who either favor either modifying the system, even a minimal one such as raising the minimum wage, or who favor changing to a new system. And you didn’t cite any. And I qualified my comments to pertain to the conservatives I have been exposed to.

            Now if you can show why my interpretation of the conservative response is without merit, I would be glad to apologize. And if you cite any factual information in which I was mistaken, I would be glad to apologize.

    • Marc Vander Maas

      And yet, the Conservative perspective, and that perspective is expressed in many places in addition to this blog, tries to understand poverty from the perspective of the haves. Thus, the basic conservative message to the poor becomes, “Poverty is your fault. And if you want to escape poverty, you have to change because we aren’t going to.” That is the premise on which all other the conservative messages to the poor is based.

      This is completely ridiculous. It is perhaps the least serious analysis of conservative thought in history. You claim to have once been conservative; this sort of weak-sauce analysis of your straw-man “conservatism” puts the lie to that claim.

    • Roger McKinney

      Why should anyone care what Max-Neef says? He clearly understands nothing about the poor or economics. The best way to care for the poor is to understand economics well. Only then can one diagnose the problems of the poor. A doctor doesn’t have to experience disease to be a good doctor. One can learn a lot by simply reading a few good books, if they’re the right books.

      “And yet, the Conservative perspective, and that perspective is expressed
      in many places in addition to this blog, tries to understand poverty
      from the perspective of the haves.”

      That is simply not true and a very dishonest representation of conservatives.

  • Roger McKinney

    This is the same message that the Peruvian economist Hernando De Soto has been preaching for decades!