Applying Rerum Novarum to English politics brought Chesterton into conflict with his coreligionists. The more conservative Catholics had taken the encyclical as "a general confirmation of the established order." They emphasized the document's condemnation of socialism and ignored its critical dissection of capitalism as well as its agrarian claims."
Funny, this is the same thing that happened with John Paul II's social encyclicals and the conservative Catholics in this country. (I have written before about National Review's commentary (under WFB-may his soul rest in peace) at the time.
Related, I was listening to NPR's Marketplace (or possibly All Things...) yesterday on the road and there was a piece on the tomato salmonella outbreak. The interviewee (I have no idea who he was, but believe he was from the council for food safety or some such organization) wants federal inspectors on the ground daily inspecting tomatoes as we do with meat. I think it misses the point. It appears to me that big agri-business is to blame for these things and expanding federal bureaucracy only enables the problems by treating symptoms.
Here's the deal. If produce was supplied regionally from local sources being small family farms, then: 1. Salmonella outbreaks (and the like) would be restricted to small areas (not nation-wide); 2. restricted to a limited population (numerically); and 3. easily tracked and sourced. But, until things crash, greed rules the roost, (which is why big government is necessary in a capitalist system), not common sense or common good.
Oremus pro invicem!