Social Economics: Premises, Findings and Policies

By Edward J.O'Boyle | Go to book overview

11

CATHOLIC SOCIAL DOCTRINE AND THE NEW WORLD ORDER

Does the Church have models? 1

Thomas O. Nitsch

In the prospectus for a contribution submitted to the editor of this collection, the writer noted several "intersections and ironies" regarding "Bill Waters' and my paths…in the ASE-related literature [of] the last thirty years," viz.: (1) my 1964 "Comment" on his 1961 article in the Review of Social Economy; (2) the respects paid to me in his contribution to Lutz's Social Economics (1990); and (3) my recent article and his "Comment" thereon in the Forum for Social Economics. 2

As a Marxian Catholic Social Economist, it is true that I have striven (Waters 1990:104) to accommodate if not "integrate" that corpus of thought and "doctrine" generically referred to as "Social Catholicism" with what I here designate "Classical/Social Marxism." 3 More particularly, this effort has been to identify the areas of agreement and oneness between Marx and the Church, in order to isolate and further probe the nature and significance of the real differentia specifica. This recognizes that in any such "integration" irreconcilable nonessentials are simply jettisoned.

In the course of the present writer's research and reflection in this connection over the past thirty-one years (beginning with Nitsch 1963), an issue which has come up over and again, implicitly if not explicitly, if it is not indeed the all-embracing issue, is that of the "models" proffered, i.e. the Church's vs. or vis-à-vis Marx's. And, hazy, abstract, unspecific as he was and might have been over that two-score span of 1843-83 regarding future society(ies), no one can doubt-nor did Marx ever disclaim-that he was about formulating, predicting, and prescribing the truly human social economy and truly social human economy of the future-including, with the help of Engels's Anti-Dühring (1878-94), what, in phases, was to happen to property and its derivatives, the Classes and the State. We now turn to our subject, the Church's stand or claim in this matter.

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