Catholic responses to industrialization

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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DooDoot
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Catholic responses to industrialization

Post by DooDoot »

Dear forum. This topic relates to the following Dhamma teaching:
In five ways should a master minister to his servants and employees as the Nadir:

(i) by assigning them work according to their ability,
(ii) by supplying them with food and with wages,
(iii) by tending them in sickness,
(iv) by sharing with them any delicacies,
(v) by granting them leave at times.

"The servants and employees thus ministered to as the Nadir by their master show their compassion to him in five ways:

(i) they rise before him,
(ii) they go to sleep after him,
(iii) they take only what is given,
(iv) they perform their duties well,
(v) they uphold his good name and fame.

The servants and employees thus ministered to as the Nadir show their compassion towards him in these five ways. Thus is the Nadir covered by him and made safe and secure.

DN 31
I was pondering today a personal (unresearched inconclusive) theory or hypothesis about why the labour exploitation of the 19th century Industrial Revolution in England eventually resolved relatively humanely; where as the later labour exploitation of the 19th century Industrial Revolution in Russia ended in non-religious anarchy & Bolshevism/Marxism. I concluded a factor must have been some salient influence of Christianity in England; where as in Russia, due to certain potent elements of its population, a rejection of Christianity.

Anyway, while not related to England, I found these Christian articles which appear close to the Buddha-Dhamma:
Pope Leo XIII

Leo XIII was the first pope to address the problems of industrialization directly in his encyclical Rerum Novarum, which means, appropriately, "Of New Things."

Leo's encyclical began by pointing to a new revolution transforming the world, not political in nature, but economic. "New Developments in industry, new technologies striking out on new paths, changed the relations of employer and employee, abundant wealth among a very small number and destitution among the masses, increased self-reliance among the workers as well as a closer bond of union have caused conflict to hold forth." The changes, he noted, were so "momentous" that they kept "men's mind in anxious expectation." There were difficult problems to resolve, the pope acknowledged, but "all are agreed that the poor must be speedily and fittingly cared for, since the great majority of them live undeservedly in miserable and wretched conditions."

Leo XIII believed that the root of the problem was the decline of the old trade guilds of medieval origin and the failure of modern government to pay attention to "traditional religious teaching." Inspired by the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas and Aquinas' vision of an organic community knitting rich and poor together in reciprocal relation, Rerum Novarum in some ways looked not forward but back to a medieval golden age. In this sense it was a conservative document, or, conservatives believed that they could read it as such. They took notice of Leo's attack on the Socialists, for "exciting the enmity of the poor towards the rich" and advocating a program that "violates the rights of lawful owners, perverts the functions of the state... throws governments into confusion [and] actually injures the workers themselves."

Yet if Pope Leo XIII attacked Socialism in Rerum Novarum and gave hope to conservatives, he also assailed unregulated capitalism and encouraged reforms. Workers owed their bosses conscientious work, but "no laws either human or divine, permit them [the owners] for their own profit to oppress the needy and the wretched or to seek gain from another's want." The "principal" duty of an owner is "to give every worker what is justly due him." Leo XIII argued that "free contracts" between workers and owners must always be "an element of natural justice, one greater and more ancient that the free consent of contracting parties, namely that the wage shall not be less than enough to support a worker who is thrifty and upright." Leo contended that "in the case of the worker there are many things which the power of the state should protect... " Leo also gave support, if vaguely and cautiously worded, to the organization of workers. Many interpreted Leo's endorsement of workers' associations as an endorsement of unions.

https://cuomeka.wrlc.org/exhibits/show/ ... -responses
I found this Orthodox article rebuking the famous Leo Tolstoy. Some extracts:
Marxism as a social science was fast becoming the national creed: it alone seemed to explain the causes of the famine. Universities and learned societies were swept along by the new intellectual fashion. Even such well-established institutions as the Free Economic Society fell under the influence of the Marxists, who produced libraries of social statistics, dressed up as studies of the causes of the great starvation, to prove the truth of Marx’s economic laws. Socialists who had previously wavered in their Marxism were now completely converted in the wake of the famine crisis, when, it seemed to them, there was no more hope in the Populist faith in the peasantry....

One of Tolstoy’s most characteristic teachings was his doctrine of non-resistance to evil, which influenced Gandhi in his campaign of civil disobedience to the British authorities in India. Carried through to its logical conclusion, this teaching undermined the attempts of the Russian government – indeed, any government – to prevent terrorism and political assassination, a vast wave of which began to roll through the Russian land towards the end of the century. It also directly contradicted the teaching of St. Paul that the tsar or political ruler “is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13.4).

Tolstoy’s theory was refuted by Ivan Alexandrovich Ilyin, who was professor of law in Moscow University until his expulsion from Russia by the Bolsheviks in 1922. Nicholas Lossky summarises his argument as follows: “Ilyin says that Tolstoy calls all recourse to force in the struggle with evil ‘violence’ and regards it as an attempt ‘sacrilegiously’ to usurp God’s will by invading another person’s inner life which is in God’s hands. Ilyin thinks that Tolstoy’s doctrine contains the following absurdity: ‘When a villain injures an honest man or demoralizes a child, that, apparently, is God’s will; but when an honest man tries to hinder the villain, it is not God’s will.’ Ilyin begins the constructive part of his book by pointing out that not every application of force should be described as ‘violence’; for it is an opprobrious term and prejudges the issue. The name ‘violence’ should only be given to arbitrary, unreasonable compulsion proceeding from an evil mind or directed towards evil...

However, the Church found a true champion against Tolstoy and the liberals in the person of the extraordinary wonder-working priest St. John of Kronstadt, who wrote of Tolstoy that he had “made himself into a complete savage with regards to the faith and the Church.” He called him not only a heretic, but also an antichrist, and refused to receive honorary membership of Yuriev university if Tolstoy was to receive the same honour. St. John lamented that “the Church of God on earth, the beloved bride, is impoverished, she suffers from the savage attacks on her from the atheist Leo Tolstoy…"

St. John especially bemoaned Tolstoy’s influence on youth: “Our intelligenty youths have subverted the social and educational order, they have taken politics and the law-courts upon themselves without being called to do so by anyone; they have taken to judging their masters, their teachers, the government and all but kings themselves; together with their head, Leo Tolstoy, they have judged and condemned the universal and fearful Judge Himself… Verily, the day of the dread Judgement is near, for the deviation from God which was foretold has already occurred and the forerunner of the antichrist has already revealed himself, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped.”....

In a way, Russian society around the turn of the century could be divided into those who believed in Tolstoy and those who believed in John of Kronstadt....

Lenin said that Tolstoy was “the mirror of the Russian revolution”. However, this is only part of the truth: to a significant degree, Tolstoy was also the father of the revolution.[13]His first (unrealised) literary project was to write a novel on the Decembrists, the failed revolutionaries of 1825, one of whom, Sergei Volkonsky, had been his relative. His last, Resurrection, inspired the failed revolution of 1905. No wonder that throughout the Soviet period, while other authors were banned and their works destroyed, the Jubilee edition of Tolstoy’s Complete Works (1928) continued to sell in vast numbers…

http://www.orthodoxchristianbooks.com/a ... o-tolstoy/
In respect to the above, I personally regard the Buddhist cosmology as also representing the nature structure of worldly life, such as The Four Great Kings and the Devas & Asuras with power over people (e.g. SN 11.5). In other words, the Dhamma views the world with a natural hierarchy based on individual dispositions (MN 12).

OK. For discussion. Also, we must stay within the sphere of Dhamma & religion and try to avoid 'politics'. :smile:
There is always an official executioner. If you try to take his place, It is like trying to be a master carpenter and cutting wood. If you try to cut wood like a master carpenter, you will only hurt your hand.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: Catholic responses to industrialization

Post by Ceisiwr »

where as the later labour exploitation of the 19th century Industrial Revolution in Russia ended in non-religious anarchy & Bolshevism/Marxism.
One minor point, there was no real industrial revolution in Russia. Russia was pre-industrial. This is why it falsified Marx’s theory, as he predicted the revolutions would occur in the most advanced capitalist states as they would have a large and oppressed working class. There was hardly any working class in Russia. They were mostly peasants, which is why the Socialist Revolutionaries actually won the election over the Bolsheviks and is partly why the Bolsheviks revolted. It’s also why Lenin developed his theory of a “vanguard of the working class”. The party members would act in the name of the working class, as there were so few to actually rise up in Russia and those who did exist had not developed the necessary “class consciousness”.
Saññāvirattassa na santi ganthā,
Paññāvimuttassa na santi mohā;
Saññañca diṭṭhiñca ye aggahesuṃ,
Te ghaṭṭayantā vicaranti loke”ti.


“For one detached from perception, there exist no ties,
for one by wisdom freed, no delusions are there,
but those who have grasped perceptions and views,
they wander the world stirring up strife."


Māgaṇḍiya Sutta
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Ceisiwr
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Location: United Kingdom

Re: Catholic responses to industrialization

Post by Ceisiwr »

In respect to the above, I personally regard the Buddhist cosmology as also representing the nature structure of worldly life, such as The Four Great Kings and the Devas & Asuras with power over people (e.g. SN 11.5). In other words, the Dhamma views the world with a natural hierarchy based on individual dispositions (MN 12).
I agree. This is why a free and meritocratic society is best, for the most part.
Saññāvirattassa na santi ganthā,
Paññāvimuttassa na santi mohā;
Saññañca diṭṭhiñca ye aggahesuṃ,
Te ghaṭṭayantā vicaranti loke”ti.


“For one detached from perception, there exist no ties,
for one by wisdom freed, no delusions are there,
but those who have grasped perceptions and views,
they wander the world stirring up strife."


Māgaṇḍiya Sutta
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Kim OHara
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Location: North Queensland, Australia

Re: Catholic responses to industrialization

Post by Kim OHara »

DooDoot wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 12:33 pm ...
OK. For discussion. Also, we must stay within the sphere of Dhamma & religion and try to avoid 'politics'. :smile:
:goodpost:

My starting point is my belief that, at the level of social ethics, all (successful) religions are based on teachings which can be expressed very simply as "Be nice to each other," and that they therefore agree pretty well with each other. Your quotes are examples of this.
One limitation which successful religions put on their social guidance, without admitting as much, is that they make sure they don't rock the (political) boat too much. Why? Because if they do, they will no longer be successful. The powers-that-be will persecute them or subvert them (or both), and they will dwindle or become agents of the State. (I was thinking of the Gnostics when I started that sentence but I was thinking of the Christian Right in USA by the time I finished it. Hmm.)

At the same time, I am wary of the idea of a "natural order" because it is so often taken to mean "what we're used to" or "what we grew up with" and it therefore becomes a force for mindless conservatism. (If that reminds you of any DW members, please don't encourage or enrage them by mentioning their name here. :smile: )

:namaste:
Kim
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