economic justice

economic justice

Economic Justice: My Ideal Society Described

justice December 9th, 2017

What would a society that really paid attention to economic justice look like? Here are some thoughts on the philosophical underpinnings of such a society. The basic structure of my favored economic system is roughly welfare statism centers around merit, equity, progressive goals, and just desserts. There is little of laissez-faire capitalism in this system, though, to my understanding, the welfare state needs to be based on an open market, with its emphasis on supply and demand, private ownership of the means of production, and due recognition of human nature. Thus, my system would stop short of a true, radical egalitarianism, or Marxism/State socialism/Communism. Those systems are too pie-in the-sky and frankly, just political impossibilities. Whereas many of the ideas Bernie Sanders touted during his almost-successful bid for the presidency are workable and politically possible, the State taking over all the means of production and taking private property from the oligarchs and plutocrats in this globalized system is a non-starter. Most Americans would not be in favor of a radically egalitarian distribution of societal goods, either. It just isn’t in our ethos. There is a lot we would be up for, and I will spell out my thoughts about economic justice in an ideal society.

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Business Ethics: Doing the Right Thing (V&E-16)

business ethics November 17th, 2017

The goal today is to discuss business ethics, corporations, companies, non-profits, workplaces, and industry: what best practices are, which ethical principles are relevant, what can go wrong, what ought to happen, how corporations fit into the scheme of corporate social responsibility, how business ethics relates to sustainability, the “triple bottom line,” and the like. Ronald F. Duska, Ph.D. is my first partner in dialogue. He served as a past president and executive director of the Society of Business Ethics, and has published many books on this topic. Currently, he is an adjunct professor in the graduate business schools of St. Joseph’s and Villanova Universities. My second guest is Michael Boylan, Ph.D., the John J. McDonnell, Jr. Chair in Ethics as well as the philosophy department chair at Marymount University. In addition to books entitled Natural Rights and The Origins of Ancient Greek Science, he put one out last year named A Just Society – his manifesto on ethics and social-political philosophy.

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Critiques of Capitalism (Part 4)

critiques of capitalism November 8th, 2017

There are many critiques of capitalism, based both on theory and on actual results. This blog is the fourth in a series of five entitled Critiques of Capitalism, and represents my third argument against laissez-faire capitalism as the ideal economic system. The thrust of the argument is that to combat runaway capitalism, government needs to be made the servant of the people. Many countries have a corporate sector that is more appropriate, regulated, and benign. We must do that here in America, as well.

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Amending Capitalism: How & Why? (V&E-18)

amending capitalism October 17th, 2017

The following piece is entitled “Amending Capitalism: How and Why?” and constitutes chapter 18 of the book Values & Ethics: From Living Room to Boardroom (itself based on an Internet-based talk radio show of the same name I did in times past). My erudite and ingenious partner in dialogue is Gar Alperovitz, Ph.D., professor of political economy at the University of Maryland, a former fellow of King’s College – Cambridge, a former fellow of the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, and guest scholar at The Brookings Institution. Gar’s words are indicated by the initials GA, and mine are JM. For paragraphs with no initials, assume they are a continuation of the speaker who was speaking in the previous paragraph. I highlight words having to do with values and virtues by placing them in boldface type. Enjoy this look at critiques of capitalism, worker-owned businesses, progressive economics, corporate social responsibility, and economic justice.

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Robert Reich: Lion of the Left

Robert Reich October 13th, 2017

Robert Reich, Ph.D. is an economist, Rhodes Scholar, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, and professor of political science or economics at UC Berkeley. He has a good heart, and has been a tireless advocate for fiscal sanity, political fairness, economic justice, and political progressivism for almost 40 years. A small man (like 4’10” or so) he is diminutive. He was beaten up quite a bit as a child. He, however, has the heart of a lion. He used to be a centrist, and in the Ford Administration. He has seen the goalposts move, as it were, in the last 40 years, and sees the inequality and the insecurity. His goal is a more progressive, humane, fair, just, egalitarian, meritorious system – one that, frankly, used to exist in this country. The following are some of his thoughts on economics, politics, social justice, the middle class, the rich, and the like. 

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Quotes About Economic Justice

quotes about economic justice October 9th, 2017

This blog features over fifty quotes about economic justice. A representative quote is the following:

“Social class is probably the single most important variable in society. From womb to tomb, it correlates with almost all other social characteristics of people that we can measure.” ~ history professor and author, James W. Loewen

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The Economic Justice (and Faults) of Capitalism

capitalism October 4th, 2017

This blog is the essay I submitted for my class on economic justice, and is entitled: The Case for, and Critique of, Capitalism as an Economically Just System. I take the position, as required, that capitalism is indeed the most just of all the economic systems. In the last section, however, I critique it. It might be confusing, then, what I personally think. Well, read the blog if you are interested in a paean to and critique of capitalism, and see if you can determine where exactly I stand.

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The Case for Capitalism

capitalism September 27th, 2017

I am in a class this semester studying justice in re: to economics. That is, How do we know a given system (or aspects of capitalism, for example) are just? Meaning, right and justifiable. Libertarian capitalism has really been cooking since about 1980 in the United States. What is it all about? As Murray Rothbard put it: “The central thrust of the libertarian thought is to oppose any and all aggression against the property rights of individuals in their own persons and in the material objects they have voluntarily acquired.” Sounds pretty attractive. Even more inarguable is Richard Epstein’s characterization: “All people are not equally driven, but when it comes to the use of power, those who have excessive amounts of self-interest are apt to be the most influential – and the most dangerous.” So, is libertarian capitalism (free-market or laissez-faire capitalism) above reproach? Let me first try to at least lobby for it. I present three arguments in favor of capitalism (perhaps more specifically, a libertarian version of capitalism) and some quotations for your consideration, followed by a critique.

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The American Labor Struggle Captured in Quotes

labor struggle September 4th, 2017

The struggle for workers’ rights is a very significant part of the American experiment. Today, Labor Day, I want to reflect on the efforts for fair working conditions, equal pay for equal work, safe workplaces, profit-sharing, class divisions, and progressivism that is known, proudly, and somewhat wistfully, as the labor struggle. 

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Economic Justice: Five of My Beliefs

economic justice September 3rd, 2017

I actually think quite a bit about what it means for society to be “economically just.” Social justice is one of my favorite phenomena. Justice in general is a deep and wide topic which is infinitely fascinating. My penchant is for an approach to economics that I suppose could be called progressive. I have also entertained descriptors such as egalitarian, communitarian, liberal, fiscally liberal, democratic-socialist, and even some libertarian principles. I considered myself a big Bernie Sanders supporter, and was disappointed in his loss. America is a bit difficult to stomach in the past decades. I sincerely hope we are not witnessing the waning years of American Empire. I still sometimes hold out hope that we can govern ourselves (some would note, work ourselves, or invent ourselves, or educate ourselves) back to a more functional, humane, progressive, respectful, legitimate, and responsive political system. This blog details five of my premises/beliefs about how economic justice can be fomented and nurtured. God speed!

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