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Legal Writing for Legal Reading!

Mac Donald: Statistics Do Not Support The Claim Of ‘Systemic Police Racism’

By  Ryan Saavedra and published on the DailyWire.com on June 3, 2020 and can be found here.
An op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal by Heather Mac Donald, Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, pushed back on the notion that there is widespread systemic racism in American law enforcement.

Violent riots have broken out in major cities across the over the death of George Floyd last week, resulting in police officers being attacked, businesses destroyed, and widespread arson and looting.

Mac Donald notes that while Floyd’s ultimately fatal arrest was horrifying — video shows that a police officer knelt on the 46-year-old’s neck for over eight minutes while Floyd said he could not breathe — it is not “representative of the 375 million annual contacts that police officers have with civilians.”

A solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing, Mac Donald writes; rather, crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions. Mac Donald writes:

In 2019 police officers fatally shot 1,004 people, most of whom were armed or otherwise dangerous. African-Americans were about a quarter of those killed by cops last year (235), a ratio that has remained stable since 2015. That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects. In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.

The police fatally shot nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites in 2019, according to a Washington Post database, down from 38 and 32, respectively, in 2015. The Post defines “unarmed” broadly to include such cases as a suspect in Newark, N.J., who had a loaded handgun in his car during a police chase. In 2018 there were 7,407 black homicide victims. Assuming a comparable number of victims last year, those nine unarmed black victims of police shootings represent 0.1% of all African-Americans killed in 2019. By contrast, a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

Mac Donald further highlights violence that was committed against blacks over the weekend in Chicago and notes that the reason that blacks die from homicide at a rate 8X higher than whites and Latinos combined is not because of the police, but because of crime.

Mac Donald also highlights studies by both the Justice Department under President Obama and the finding of an African-American Harvard economist:

A 2015 Justice Department analysis of the Philadelphia Police Department found that white police officers were less likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot unarmed black suspects. Research by Harvard economist Roland G. Fryer Jr. also found no evidence of racial discrimination in shootings. Any evidence to the contrary fails to take into account crime rates and civilian behavior before and during interactions with police.

Researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found similar results. “We find no evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparities across shootings, and White officers are not more likely to shoot minority civilians than non-White officers,” the report found. “Instead, race-specific crime strongly predicts civilian race. This suggests that increasing diversity among officers by itself is unlikely to reduce racial disparity in police shootings.”

Did you know?

A police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer.

Many have tried, all have failed, to demonstrate that the police are “racist.”

YOU CAN’T BE A JACK OF ALL TRADES

For days after Hurricane Sandy I was flooded with calls from disgruntled, suspended or terminated employees seeking legal advice. I guess they were stuck at home and decided to call a lawyer and discuss their issues. For the most part, employees who call me should have sought legal help far earlier than they did. I am of the opinion that given the current workplace environment every employee needs to keep a lawyer on call. If retained early enough a lawyer may be able to save an employee’s job, and if that is not possible, for one reason or another, some type of severance agreement may be negotiated which may or may not involve money, a neutral employment reference, and/or an agreement that an employee may apply for unemployment compensation benefits without the employer contesting benefits.  A lawyer may be able to assist with a disability claim, or perhaps fashion some other remedy.

                In addition to assisting with the above, a lawyer can give a client a studied opinion, stripped of emotion, as to whether they have good legal grounds to pursue their claim, and even if they do, what their chances are of prevailing on their claim with a government agency or in a litigation setting, and whether it is financially beneficial for them to even proceed with their claim. Even if the only benefit is avoiding the stress, anxiety, loss of self-esteem and depression that quite often accompanies the potential loss of one’s job, it is worth seeking legal assistance. So, people shouldn’t be penny wise and pound foolish. If one were to balance on a scale the cost of hiring a lawyer versus the loss of a job and/or other benefits, it is usually financially worthwhile.  

                Despite all of the above benefits which clients can derive from early consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer, many people think they can serve as their own lawyer, or they listen to people who are not lawyers, many of whom work for government agencies, who tell them they don’t have to hire a lawyer. Even if one is not required to hire a lawyer, it is never a bad idea, and usually a very good idea. Time and again I talk or meet with people who have not hired a lawyer and they have missed filing or appeal deadlines, and have been bullied into giving up benefits or their legal rights by their employers or their human resources’ representatives, or their union representatives.

                We are living in a time when large amounts of information are available to us via the Internet.  All of this information sometimes makes people think they can become jacks of all trades.  Yet it is often preferable, and often cost-saving and less frustrating to hire a trained professional rather than try and do something by oneself. Lawyers are trained and experienced in how to handle matters, yet many people think they don’t need lawyers.

                An example of another type of profession which deals with do it yourselfers, is interior design. Of course one can select their own paint colors, fabrics or furniture. If people have the time and money and aren’t concerned about making mistakes, they may find these activities fun. As for me, I have worked with interior designers since I was a young woman for many reasons. First, I get overwhelmed when confronted with a large range of choices and I prefer to have someone else narrow the choices for me based on my taste. I know a lady who taped wallpaper samples to her walls where they remained for years, because she was too confused to do anything. I also know a business owner who went to a store many times, eventually trying out 26 paint samples, and even having to repaint walls when he didn’t like the results on a large area. This was a process that was costly in time, gas and sample prices.

Second, an interior designer can find reliable, qualified, and reasonably priced vendors like painters, carpenters, and other craftspeople. And, the interior designer can make sure they get the job done right and on time. 

Third, in the long run, an interior designer can save you time and money. As a professional, who charges by the hour, it really isn’t worthwhile for me to spend hours looking at samples, etc. I did that some years ago with curtain trim which I thought was too expensive, so I decided to look for cheaper trim. It required 3 trips to fabric stores located in an area where the roads were under construction, in 100 degree weather, and at the end, the trim I liked was one foot short. So, when I recently refurbished my office building, my interior designer and I selected the paint colors, the new window shades and carpets, she recommended the painter, the window shade company and the carpet company, and she rehung the paintings and diplomas in groupings, and they look far better than before.   Although I am paying for her assistance, in the end, it made for less expense for me, less stress, and a lovely result. So, her services have been priceless!

By: Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire on her blog “Toughlawyerlady.”

They Don’t Really Believe in the “Free Market!”

This article is part of my posts on the economic system of distributism.  This is from practicaldistributism.blogspot.com which you can find here and here:

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It might be assumed that those who believe in the “free market” would be happy and supportive when people engage in that market. You might think this would especially be the case when average people engaging in the market are successful and look like they are going to make a lot of money. After all, isn’t one of the claims in defense of capitalism that anyone can succeed and that it is supposedly the first economic system that allowed people to improve their state in life? Recent events make it clear this is not the case, at least not for those who are already “big players” in the market and who wield significant economic, and therefore political, power.

Of course, I am referring to the GameStop investment strategy of the members of a Reddit group called WallStreetBets. This article will not delve into the question of the GameStop investment itself, but give a general sense of the situation and the people involved. WallStreetBets is not an actual investment group, like financial institutions or hedge funds. It is a forum primarily consisting of ordinary citizens who are sharing their opinions about potential investments in the stock market. Reports I have read about the group indicate that members understand that none of them are actually acting as financial advisors in any professional sense. They are just sharing and debating their reasons for their stated opinions about potential investments. Now, most capitalists I know would have no problem with this. Whether or not GameStop was or was not a good investment isn’t really the issue because the general motto of the stock market is “let the buyer beware.” It is, after all, essentially a huge gambling casino. You place your bets and you might win or lose.

A member of the WallStreetBets group named Keith Gill was carefully examining GameStop’s position in the stock market and the company itself. While the conventional “wisdom” of the market “experts” was that GameStop was a company on its inevitable way to failure, Mr. Gill disagreed. He felt that, not only was the prediction of the company’s demise premature, but that GameStop still had both time and the resources to adjust its business to keep going for a good while. He saw that hedge fund investment groups were “short selling” GameStop far beyond what was reasonable even if the company was in trouble, resulting in the stock price being artificially low. He shared and defended his position to the Reddit group, and many members became convinced that he was correct. Acting individually, the members began buying GameStop stock as fast as they could. You might think this would not have much impact, but WallStreetBets had a huge number of members and the number of purchases they made resulted in raising the price of the stock at what was considered an unbelievable rate.

On the other side of this equation were the hedge funds. Now, to participate in a hedge fund, you have to already be wealthy. A hedge fund is essentially a pool of money contributed by wealthy people who allow the managers to invest on their behalf. The hedge funds involved had bet heavily on GameStop’s failure through a market practice called a short sale. Short selling involves borrowing a stock today with a promise to return it later. This transaction only involves the stock itself regardless of the price. The hedge funds, believing the value of a given stock will drop, borrow large amounts of shares of that stock so they can sell it at the current price. Of course, this large scale selling of a given stock will result in the price going down. In other words, they are not merely “betting” that the value will go down, they are actively engaged in driving that value down. It is generally known that they will also go on financial talk shows and write articles defending their position that the value will drop, which is likely to result in members of that audience who own the stock selling their shares, driving the value even further down. When the stock is due, the hedge funds must buy the stocks back at whatever the new current price is. If the price is less than when they sold it, they make a profit. However, if the price is more, they lose, Since the price can go up much farther than it can go down, the potential for loss is much higher.

So there is the situation. The hedge fund investors wanted the value of GameStop to decrease and the WallStreetBets group wanted the value to increase. The WallStreetBets group was winning and winning big. The value of GameStop stocks were skyrocketing, and it was all according to the established rules of the market. Anyone could buy or sell the stock as they chose as long as they followed the rules. It looks like the average people were going to win; until they were prevented from freely participating in the market.

As financial news reports were accusing the WallStreetBets group of essentially being insurrectionists, and accusing them of being no better than those who had rioted in the U.S. Capitol on the day the electoral vote was officially being counted, the company whose app was primarily being used by the WallStreetBets group prevented all transactions of GameStop and several other companies in which the group had heavily invested. A day or two later, the app was updated again so they could sell, but not buy, shares in those companies. In other words, the app would only allow activity that would result in the price going down – like the hedge fund investors wanted. Now, you can only sell a stock if someone can buy it, so this group was prevented from buying while others participating in the stock market were still allowed to.

In other words, the WallStreetBets group were not allowed to participate in what the Wall Street insiders would argue is the greatest example of the free market in the world today. The same changes were made on other personal investment apps, revealing that this was a coordinated effort to force a particular change to the market that would be advantageous to wealthy insiders on Wall Street and would disadvantage average people trying to participate in the market. This is the important fact of this incident. It doesn’t matter if GameStop or the other companies were actually good investments. These people were following all of the established rules of the market. They had entered the casino and all placed their bets. Because they were winning, the casino chose to shut them down.

There are investigations going on about what happened. Mr. Gill even had to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives. Because of the financial (and therefore political) power of those involved “behind the scenes,” and the willingness of the media to back their side, I think it is unlikely that the real perpetrators will have any significant negative consequence to their actions. Instead, the common citizens in the WallStreetBets group are being vilified and essentially treated like criminals when they did nothing illegal.

If you want to check for further information on this incident, I have included several resources below.
Printable version
Resources:

VivaFrei: From GameStop to Robinhood class action lawsuit?
https://www.bitchute.com/video/6nEtElSMPSk

Forbes Breaking News: Gamestop Investor Keith Gill’s testimony to Congress
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOLN3N3otz0

CNBC: Jim Cramer: Reddit’s ‘WallStreetBets’ is targeting short position
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZHTm0N59Rc

Fox Business: Payne sounds off on Wall St over GameStop: All of this whining is making me sick
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzojHqzm3TU

MarketWatch: GameStop and AMC trading restricted by TD Ameritrade, Schwab, Robinhood, others
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/gamestop-amc-trading-is-now-being-restricted-at-td-ameritrade-11611769804

Tim Pool: Wall Street in panic mode, trading on GameStop and AMC halted as plebs NUKE elite’s hedge fundshttps://www.bitchute.com/video/kz2xDpZoz3o

Tim Pool: Robinhood bans stock buying for Gamestop and others, media cronies smearing WSB as Alt-Right
https://www.bitchute.com/video/vtYRmSPKNqY

Daily Caller: Class action lawsuit against Robinhood
https://dailycaller.com/2021/01/28/class-action-lawsuit-filed-against-robinhood/

Newsweek: Robinhood app blocks GME stock trading, is flooded with 1-star reviews
https://www.newsweek.com/robinhood-app-one-star-reviews-gamestop-stock-trading-announcement-1565171

YesSource: Live on the Cruise to the Edge, 2/7/19

Here are my latest uploads to YesSource, my Yes rarities youtube page (about which you can read here).  This post is another addition to my series of Yes music posts and a collection of all my Yes-related posts is here.  Yes, of course, is a, if not the, premier progressive rock band, and I am an enormous fan of it.

You can see all of my Yessource uploads here.

My latest YesSource uploads can be found here:

Templeton Project: Christian Leadership

Back in October 2015 I wrote about the inauguration of the Abington Templeton Foundation (see here).  The project is now underway (see here) and I will be posting our writing here.

Check out the latest piece entitled “Christian Leadership.”

See also:

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From the earliest days of the Church, congregations have possessed leaders.  The offices of presbyter and deacon were already emerging at the time the New Testament was being written.  Along with Saint Paul himself the Pauline churches were guided by local shepherds.

In Acts 20 Paul gives instruction to the Ephesian elders (or overseers) about their duties as leaders of the flock.  He instructs them to defend the flock against false doctrine.  Paul himself had to fight false teaching in the congregations he established.

Primary among all the duties of the clergy is to defend the faith of the church in word and action. Not to do so is a betrayal.

Our witness to Christ is not only a failure but also a betrayal if the content of the kerygma (message) that we speak is tainted with falsehood.  The leader must preach the truth; the leader must preach Christ.  If he/she does not, he/she is a wolf in the flock.  The pastor must always remember the vows taken at ordination.

Pastors, then, must instruct their congregations through preaching and teaching so that in the people’s witness they may reflect the truth of the Christian faith.  Witness is toxic when its content is poisoned by any of the many heresies the church has had to do battle.

Michael G. Tavella

April 20, 2020

Johannes Bugenhagen, 1558

Templeton Project: Who or What is Absurd?

Back in October 2015 I wrote about the inauguration of the Abington Templeton Foundation (see here).  The project is now underway (see here) and I will be posting our writing here.

Check out the latest piece entitled “Who or What is Absurd?.”

See also:

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The nihilists of the 20th century have asserted that the universe is absurd, that is, meaningless for human beings who seek meaning. It is in our nature. Outside the human community, the universe cannot be classified as either absurd or meaningful.  It simply is. It is human beings’ perceptions that make the universe either absurd or meaningful for them.  The absurdist artists and writers have declared the universe to be absurd.  They have rejected all the theological and philosophical reflections on the meaningfulness of the world.  The fruits of their reflections has borne bitter fruit.  That fruit is the deconstruction of society and the ethical morass we find ourselves in.

The nihilist philosophy is absurd, but Christian faith is not absurd.  Human beings can think or act in an absurd way, making the universe absurd by their own willfulness.  Absurdity is relational, that is, it requires observers and thinkers who cannot make sense of the world.  The absurdity in Camus’ book, The Stranger, is Camus.  He has made himself thus.

While one can choose from many philosophies, including nihilism, one is chosen to be a follower of Christ.  Before the Holy Spirit works in us through the Word of God, we cannot be Christ’s (See Formula of Concord).  This does not mean that those who do not believe are the victims of fate, because they had not been chosen. They have rather rejected the message presented to them in the Word.  One can choose a nihilistic philosophy, another philosophy, or be caught up in a belief tht there is a God who has sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us.  Nihilism rejects God; Chrisitanity affirms His existence.  Without God the universe is absurd.  According to nihilism, beings who require meaning to thrive are cast adrift in a meaningless universe.  That is absurdity!  A human creation!

Christian faith makes sense of the world, but it, most of all, establishes a relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ.  When Christian faith is rejected, the universe appears to be absurd.  When God is declared dead, for those who accept this, he is dead for them.  They must make their way to find meaning that they can never find without God.

What is absurd?  Absurdist, nihilistic philosophy.  Who is absurd?  Those who believe an absurdist point of view.  They can blame nobody but themselves.

Michael G. Tavella

April 14, 2020

Tuesday in Easter

Joe Arcieri Songs: Indigenous

Joe Arcieri is a friend of mine who I worked with for many years during my ten years working for Acme Markets.  Joe, when not stocking milk or saving lives as a nurse, is an excellent guitar player.  I have had the privilege, from time to time, of (badly) plunking my bass guitar with Joe as he melts a face or two with a great solo.

As great musicians do, Joe has written some of his own songs and keeps a soundcloud site to post them.  When I have opportunity, I will post his music here as well.

Here is his composition called “Indigenous” which you can find here.

Here are the links to the previously posted songs by Joe:

What Representing Men in Divorce Taught Me About Fatherhood | Marilyn York | TEDxUniversityofNevada

As someone who has represented many men and many fathers in family court over the last 18 plus years, I found this video very insightful.  Be edified.

Trust Mislaid

                There is little or nothing about the law which is feely-touchy. The law is defined by rules, procedures, and a history of decisions established on a case-by case basis.  There are strict deadlines set by statute and sometimes previous legal precedent, which must be met by parties who wish to initiate a lawsuit or take some other type of legal action using the court system.  These deadlines are called statutes of limitation and they are usually interpreted strictly by the courts.  The law isn’t concerned with whether someone knows about these deadlines, as the burden of knowing about them is placed on the party initiating a lawsuit.  The reason for this strict interpretation is because evidence to prove one’s case may no longer be available after a certain length of time, the party being sued may have destroyed evidence in their possession if not sued in a timely matter, or has been asked to preserve the evidence, or witnesses who can testify may have forgotten the facts, may have moved, may have become ill or may have died. For example, in Pennsylvania, if a person is injured, they generally have two (2) years in which to sue someone if one feels the injury was a person’s, company’s, etc.’s fault.  There are sometimes exceptions which delay, or toll, this deadline, such as if one is a minor, his right to sue extends beyond the time he is 18.  In contract actions the statute of limitations is generally four (4) years, but circumstances like fraud may be able to extend that period.

                Despite these strict deadlines, I receive many calls each week from:

  • people who have either sat on their legal rights, despite knowing they had deadlines, and missed their deadlines to sue;
  • people who state they didn’t know about these deadlines, and don’t feel they should be held accountable for missing them;
  • people who state they have been too busy to initiate a lawsuit, or it slipped their mind, or took some other action which they thought tolled the deadlines, but didn’t.

                Where people took some other action they thought tolled their deadlines, there seems to be similar scenerios.  In the first scenario, people have spent considerable time and energy discussing or writing about their issues with their elected city, state or federal government representatives, or their relatives, friends and neighbors. Yet, they never initiated a lawsuit in a timely matter.  They are often surprised to learn that they have lost their rights to do so, because these contacts don’t toll statutes of limitation, even if the elected representatives state they are looking into one’s complaint or situation.  TRUST MISLAID.

Often people will go to the courthouse and speak with a clerk who takes the time to explain the legal process to them. They do this instead of consulting with a lawyer. They then feel that the clerk is the font of significant knowledge, and tend to rely on what the clerk told them, which may or not be correct, and is often misinterpreted and limited, even if it is correct. Even if a clerk is sympathetic and agrees with them, it is a far cry from what is necessary in proving one’s case.  A clerk’s information and/or advice, if incorrect, cannot be the basis of tolling a statute, or even a lawsuit. TRUST MISLAID.   

Union members often rely on information the union representative, who is usually not a lawyer,  provides them.  However, the union representative’s advice is usually based on the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, and often doesn’t involve other types of legal actions such as civil rights. I have seen many persons miss filing deadlines required to preserve their rights under civil right laws because they are waiting for a lengthy union process to conclude, and their union representative didn’t discuss other possible remedies with them. I am not criticizing union, but it is a good idea to consult a lawyer to learn if there are other possible remedies. TRUST MISLAID.

Many people feel that because they have discussed their case with a lawyer, or left their paperwork with a lawyer to review, this tolls their statute of limitation.  Unless the lawyer has accepted the case, and there is a written fee agreement signed by the lawyer and the client, the lawyer does not have a responsibility to initiate a lawsuit.  Although a lawyer is not supposed to decide at the last minute that he will not bring suit, so as to disadvantage a person, this happens frequently, so a person must diligently follow up with a lawyer, especially if some months have passed without word from the lawyer, or if the lawyer is not returning their telephone calls when they call about the status of their matter. TRUST MISLAID. 

 Therefore, it is important to preserve one’s legal remedies by consulting with a lawyer or lawyers as soon as possible for advice on whether one has a potential lawsuit or remedy. One should not mislay one’s trust on the wrong individuals.

By: Faye Riva Cohen, Esquire on her blog “Toughlawyerlady.”

On the Foundations of Distributism: Property, Family, Politics, Economy. Part 4

This article is part of my posts on the economic system of distributism.  This is from practicaldistributism.blogspot.com which you can find here:

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by Thomas Storck The following is the English version of part four of an article/interview by Thomas Storck, “Sui Fondamenti del Distributismo: Proprietà, Famiglia, Politica, Economia,” published in Bollettino di dottrina sociale della Chiesa, July/Sept. 2020, pp. 73-84. For information on the Italian publication, see here.

Part 3 can be found here.
Political parties and democratic party representation are in crisis all over the world. Distributism considers the corporativism principle the only valid tool on which to base democratic political participation. Can you please articulate further this concept?  In all or nearly all democratic countries today representatives in the legislative body are chosen by voters according to the district or province in which they live. This is in accordance with the fundamental principle of eighteenth-century liberalism, that the political community is simply an assemblage of citizens, and that any smaller or lesser groupings in society have no political significance.
This is in contrast with the medieval understanding of the political community as a community of communities, or corporations, meaning corporate bodies of various kinds, in which individuals had significance and exercised powers and functions as members of these smaller and lesser communities. But these lesser communities, guilds, municipalities, universities conceived as corporate bodies, other social or economic sectors, have largely vanished or lost their character and powers as real corporate entities. As Pius XI put it, with the disappearance of “the highly developed social life which once flourished in a variety of prosperous and interdependent institutions” nothing remains but “only individuals and the State” (Quadragesimo Anno, no. 78). Each citizen is nothing more than an equal atom in a largely undifferentiated mass of other atoms. The corporativist political principle, on the other hand, takes seriously the fact that citizens are naturally members of smaller groups, groups with their own interests, needs and insights. Hence in the legislature representatives are chosen not simply by single individual voters differentiated only by locality, but may represent groups, usually economic or professional groups. So, for example, in the national legislature there may be deputies chosen by, say, the grocers guild or the mechanics guild or the physicians guild or the agricultural sector. In a bicameral legislative body, one chamber may be chosen according to the corporatist principle, while the other may be chosen simply by voters by locality. The Irish legislature operates in part according to such a principle, the upper house or seanad (senate) is composed of representatives of various social sectors and graduates of specific universities. Article 18 of the Irish constitution provides for three members of the seanad to be elected by the National University of Ireland and three by the University of Dublin. In addition the following social and economic sectors receive representation:

  1. National Language and Culture, Literature, Art, Education and such professional interests as may be defined by law for the purpose of this panel;
  2. Agriculture and allied interests, and Fisheries;
  3. Labour, whether organized or unorganized;
  4. Industry and Commerce, including banking, finance, accountancy, engineering and architecture;
  5. Public administration and social services, including voluntary social activities.

But in the case of Ireland the corporativist principle is considerably diluted, since the seanad has merely advisory powers, with the ability only to delay legislation. The reasons for thinking that the corporativist approach to representation has desirable features are two, one more theoretical, the other more practical. On the theoretical level, it makes concrete the fact that people are more than simply undifferentiated citizens of a political entity, that they have other identities, interests, needs, experiences and knowledge. The body politic, as was widely recognized in the past, is more like a real living body, with different organs performing different functions, all necessary to the smooth operation of the whole, but no one of which can be reduced to another. The second reason is that in actual fact, various sectors of society or the economy do need to have an effective voice in the national legislature, to make known their needs and special problems. In a legislature constituted solely according to the liberal understanding of the body politic, individual representatives or deputies may not understand or may not wish to make known all the needs and problems of all sectors of their constituents. A legislature of the corporativist type is more likely to provide an opportunity for every sector’s voice to be heard. Having said this, and while I think that this kind of representation has much to recommend it, and indeed should probably be embodied in some way in one legislative chamber, I would not say that distributism requires such representation or considers it as the only correct method of democratic politics. Here much depends on the political culture and traditions of a country. Many European and Latin-American nations have some historic experience with corporativist forms of government, or at least knowledge of what the term means. On the other hand, in the United States not only has there been no historical experience of them, but hardly anyone, except specialists in European politics or history, is even cognizant of their existence or meaning. In fact, the term itself, corporation, is generally understood in the United States to mean a limited liability business entity, a società anonima. Of course the question of nomenclature could probably be overcome, but the idea itself would be seen as simply bizarre, especially given the uncritical devotion of so many Americans to their Constitution, a document which knows of no principle of representation other than that of place, by state or district.The finance system seems today to hold much more power than the political system. Distributism has always stated that money and finance should be subjected and oriented to the common good and managed by the legitimate political power for the interest of all citizens. What do you think could be the contribution of distributism in such delicate and important matter?  As long ago as 1931, Pius XI recognized the key place which finance holds in a modern economy. In Quadragesimo Anno, no. 106, he wrote,

This [economic] power becomes particularly irresistible when exercised by those who, because they hold and control money, are able also to govern credit and determine its allotment, for that reason supplying so to speak, the life-blood to the entire economic body, and grasping, as it were, in their hands the very soul of the economy, so that no one dare breathe against their will. 

According to Catholic social teaching the financial sector, like every other sector of the economy, ought to be subject to the common good. One obvious way to do this would be to have it be controlled directly by the state, either by the central or local or municipal authorities. And probably none of these arrangements would be unjust. In Quadragesimo Anno Pius XI spoke of “that type of social authority, which, in violation of all justice has been seized and usurped by the owners of wealth,” and which 

in fact belongs not to the individual owners, but to the State…. For it is rightly contended that certain forms of property must be reserved to the State, since they carry with them an opportunity of domination too great to be left to private individuals without injury to the community at large.  (no. 114)

Certainly a good case could be made that the financial sector belongs here, since it supplies “the life-blood to the entire economic body.” But distributism, which advocates decentralization as much as is reasonable, suggests another approach.[i] To understand this we must look again at a subject I have spoken of more than once, the guild or occupational group. A guild is made up of actual producers or suppliers of products, those who are engaged in the primary economic activities for the sake of which the economy exists. For it is the production of real goods and services that the economy is primarily for. Finance, on the other hand, is a subordinate activity, whose function is to facilitate production. Finance should be subordinate to production and financiers should be subordinate to producers and suppliers. A distributist method of accomplishing this would be for occupational groups to have their own financial institutions, similar to credit unions (cooperative banks), which would exist for the sake of necessary financing for that trade or industry or profession. Belloc wrote on this point, “…there should be fostered the spread…of these properly chartered co-operative banks, connected with the guilds of every description.”[ii] If a particular occupational group was too small to have its own financial arm, it could easily join or work with another occupational group. This would also have the benefit that finance would not see itself as a separate interest, apart from or even superior to actual production, and so would not assume unwarranted power in the economic or political system. These financial institutions could also take care of the need for consumer credit or that could be accomplished by ordinary credit unions not connected with occupational groups, but subject to local or municipal regulation. Distributism seeks for well-distributed property as a safeguard for the family, but also as a safeguard for society. The greater the concentrations of property and wealth, the more easily can those possessing that property and wealth misuse it and even seek to divert the political process in their favor. The more divided and distributed property is, the less likely is this to occur. A distributist approach to the financial sector is simply another example of how distributism desires as much as is feasible to make the economy work for families, for the common good and for the welfare of all. Printable versionNotes:[i] On decentralization, compare the important principle of subsidiarity,  originally stated by Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno (no. 79) as follows: “…it is a fundamental principle of social philosophy, fixed and unchangeable, that one should not withdraw from individuals and commit to the community what they can accomplish by their own enterprise and industry. So, too, it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and a disturbance of right order, to transfer to the larger and higher collectivity functions which can be performed and provided for by lesser and subordinate bodies. Inasmuch as every social activity should, by its very nature, prove a help to members of the body social, it should never destroy or absorb them.”
[ii] The Restoration of Property, p. 144.

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