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Freedom from money — 5 Comments

  1. The fundamental flaw with both capitalism and communism is corruption. The major flavour of capitalism promulgated originally by Milton Friedman purports to harness the inherent selfishness of man for the betterment of all and sundry. Likewise communism failed due to badly harnessed greed. This still fails to address the fact that our current model is founded upon greed and selfishness (oh and historically the protestant perspective that worldly wealth was an indication of God’s favour), leading to a culture of self interest pervading most areas of our existence. I don’t have a solution, but I feel strongly that simply stating that it’s the only game in town and thereby giving up looking for an improvement is failing before one even gets going. Personally I suffer from a different form of selfishness, one quite suited to subsistence farming, I do not wish to be reliant upon people I don’t know personally. I don’t have much choice these times though.

  2. I used to belong to group called the Progressive Co-operators (or something like that): it was inspired by the political principles of Robert Owen and the Nineteenth Century co-operative movement. It was founded upon a very optimistic view of humanity: a view to which I would now find it very difficult to subscribe having frequently encountered the worst side of humanity through the years.

    The old Protestant work ethic does stress a strong sense of self-dependence but prosperity theology, the belief that you are rich because God has favoured you, has appeared more recently and is strong in evangelical and Pentecostal circles in North America and in Nigeria – neither of which seem very attractive from an Irish Anglican perspective!

    I didn’t suggest not looking for an improvement; I said that a viable future will be achieved through reform and not through revolution. The Anarchist groups involved in the London protests have a hopelessly optimistic view of humanity – ‘Black Flag’, the anarchist magazine, used to be published online but the website has not been updated for years.

  3. Ah, I wasn’t taking a swipe at you or your church really, after all I doubt there is a religion that hasn’t had a dubious viewpoint at some stage in their existence :-). I agree that the anarchist viewpoint is overly optimistic, but the capitalist response is very much along the lines of you are either with us or against us. If people have alternative models then the powers that be should allow experimentation (initially in a controlled environment). Personally I’d like to see diversity of models operating in parallel, with the hope that if one is failing another might be functioning well, allowing a smoothing effect on the over-all wellbeing of the populate. It probably would achieve less short term progress, but might allow softer philosophies than greed and self interest to permeate the populace.

  4. My church probably deserves a great deal more criticism than we get!

    I rode into town on the DART with Sean Barrett, the veteran Fine Gael TD, one day last week. He felt that the problem with Irish politics was that it was almost devoid of policy. There are elections for local councils and for Europe coming up and hardly anyone would know what party policies were on most subjects.

    Perhaps if there were greater attempt at proper politics, there would be greater room for diversity. The agricultural co-operatives and the credit union movement in Ireland have been important in providing alternatives.

  5. It’s amazing that the Irish political parties haven’t replaced their founding identities with something more relevant to the present day and situation. Remove the cloak of the civil war and you expose a confused core with no real sense of their modern day relevance.

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