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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 25. 3rd October 1973

A Cure for Inequality

page 24

A Cure for Inequality

Dear Sir,

Whatever may be thought to the contrary the Church is no apologist for the capitalist economic system. Democracy is supported but not capitalism.

The popes this century, even last century, denounced the unregulated struggle to maximise profits at the expense of the workers. They attacked severely those who caused the in justice of the maldistribution of this world's goods which is at the base even still, of conflict in society.

To the complex evils of a capitalist society the Marxist advances a remedy of a simplicity ideal for the maker of slogans. Certainly some of the more obvious evils of the capitalist system would be destroyed by communism but too much would be destroyed with them. The communist approach has a cure for inequality very much as the way the guillotine is a cure for dandruff.

The Christian approach to economic inequalities is to try first to make people better. You cannot make a good state with bad people. One of Marx's and communists most extraordinary blindnesses is that they do not see the badness inherent in people, or they believe it will go away with the attainemnt of human maturity.

Second, the church continually reminds us that rearrangement of economic systems has to safeguard human rights. These rights can be regulated by the state when the necessity arises but must be recognised.

Many religious leaders have attacked the enormous and unjust differences in the distribution of goods between the rich and poor classes and nations. In their teaching on the right to private property as expressed in the United Nations Declaration, they stress that overall social factors must be taken into account in the use of property and wealth. Goods can only be retained by a person when others have sufficient for their needs.

There is not quick solution to economic problems. On the matter of private property Marxists suggest that a maldistribution be cured by the abolition of property — thus denying human rights in this area. The Church sees the answer to lie, as with most evil situations, making people less subject to selfishness. People have to have the scales of self-centredness stripped from their eyes so they can see the evil they cause. Both capitalism and communism are condemned by the church while a middle, more humane path is advocated, personal rights and the power of the state to regulate economic activity are thereby acknowledged. So the church is in a more enduring way on the side of the poor and deprived.

Heather Pointon