6.19 Is a sustainable economy possible? Can we limit state intervention? Are capitalism, consumerism and technology advancement diabolic? Why should I pay taxes?
Jesus said that we cannot serve God and wealth (Mt 6:24). Economic life should never become a ‘survival of the fittest’ at the expense of the weak, small, and poor. State intervention is needed for an economy that serves the wellbeing of all in society. A sustainable economy strives for the greatest general wellbeing of all through the least use of resources and environmental harm.
Jesus told us to pay our due taxes to the state or its head (Mk 12:17). With some state regulation, capitalism can function reasonably well. Consumerism as the result of an economic system that thrives on growth alone is wrong, for there are other factors to be taken into account. As long as technology serves people and not the other way round, it can greatly contribute to our wellbeing.
What are the duties of citizens in regard to civil authorities?
Those subject to authority should regard those in authority as representatives of God and offer their loyal collaboration for the right functioning of public and social life. This collaboration includes love and service of one's homeland, the right and duty to vote, payment of taxes, the defense of one's country, and the right to exercise constructive criticism [CCCC 512].
What would be opposed to the social doctrine of the Church?
Opposed to the social doctrine of the Church are economic and social systems that sacrifice the basic rights of persons or that make profit their exclusive norm or ultimate end. For this reason the Church rejects the ideologies associated in modern times with Communism or with atheistic and totalitarian forms of socialism. But in the practice of capitalism the Church also rejects self centred individualism and an absolute primacy of the laws of the marketplace over human labour [CCCC 512].
The global market has stimulated first and foremost, on the part of rich countries, a search for areas in which to outsource production at low cost with a view to reducing the prices of many goods… These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems… with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for solidarity… The primary capital to be safeguarded and valued is man, the human person in his or her integrity: ‘Man is the source, the focus and the aim of all economic and social life [Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 25].