22 setembro 2014

Rothbard sobre Catolicismo

Um texto escrito com 31 anos, e um tema que viria abordar novamente,

Memorandum on Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism (1957) [pdf]
By Murray N. Rothbard

Ler o pequeno texto (pdf) para não formar ideias incompletas, ficam aqui duas citações:

" (...)  The brunt of this important new thesis is this: rather than saying that Hume and Smith developed economic theory almost de novo, economics had actually been developed, slowly but surely, over the centuries by the Scholastics and by Italian and French Catholics influenced by the Scholastics; that their economics was generally individualist methodologically, and stressed utility theory, consumers’ sovereignty and market pricing, and that Smith really set back economic thought by injecting the purely British doctrine of the labor theory of value, thus throwing economics off the sound track for a hundred years. Here I might add that the labor theory of value has had many bad consequences. It, of course, paved the way, quite logically, for Marx. Secondly, its emphasis on “costs determining prices” has encouraged the view that businessmen push up prices or that unions push up prices, rather than governmental inflation of the money supply. Third, its emphasis on “objective, inherent value” in goods led to “scientistic” attempts to measure values, tostabilize them by government manipulation, etc.

Now, Kauder’s interesting thesis is in two parts: one, that the above was the historical course of events in economic thought; and two, that the reason for this forgetting of utility theory and replacement by a labor-cost theory was influence by the Protestant, as opposed to the Catholic spirit. (...)

(...) We may sum up the Case for Catholicism as follows:

(1) Smith’s laissez-faire and natural law views descended from the late Scholastics, and from the Catholic Physiocrats;
(2) the Catholics had developed marginal utility, subjective value economics, and the idea that the just price was the market price, while the British Protestants grafted on a dangerous and ultimately highly statist labor theory of value, influenced by Calvinism;
(3) some of the most “dogmatic” laissez-faire theorists have been Catholics: from the Physiocrats to Bastiat;
(4) capitalism began in the Catholic Italian cities of the 14th century;
(5) Natural rights and other rationalist views descended from the Scholastics.

I would also recommend, for a chilling example of Protestant-Calvinist influence leading to a philosophy of altruist socialism, reading Melvin Richter, “T. H. Green and His Audience: Liberalism as a Surrogate Faith” Review of Politics (October, 1956).

Although tangential to this particular memo, I would also highly recommend Erich von Kuehnelt-Leddihn, Liberty and Property (Caldwell, Id., 1952), the main gist of which is the thesis that Catholicism makes for a libertarian spirit (albeit “anti-democratic” while Protestantism makes for socialism, totalitarianism, and a collectivist spirit. One example is Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s assertion that the Catholic belief in reason and truth tend toward “extremism” and “radicalism,” while Protestant emphasis on intuition leads to belief in compromise, Gallup-polling, etc. [words missing].

Professor von Mises’ view on the Max Weber thesis should be mentioned here: namely, that Weber reversed the true causal pattern, i.e. that capitalism came in first, and that the Calvinists adapted their teachings to the growing influence of the bourgeoisie – rather than the other way round.

I am not prepared to say that the Protestant case should be thrown overboard completely and Catholic view adopted wholly. But it seems evident that the story is far more complex than the standard view believes. Certainly, the Revisionists supply an excellent corrective.4 On the specific questions of utility theory and Adam Smith, I can enter an endorsement of the revisionists. I have felt for a long time that Adam Smith has been considerably overrated as a laissez-faire stalwart."

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