Distributism or Capitalism: Two Ways to Work
This article is part of my posts on the economic system of distributism. This is from practicaldistributism.blogspot.com which you can find here:
“When human beings engage in economic activity they engage with other people. Even a gardener cultivating his own small plot has probably obtained his seeds and his tools from others and at least depends upon the larger society for the social stability that allows him to plant his garden with a reasonable expectation that he’ll be able to harvest his crop later. But most often economic actors relate in many more obvious ways with others, with employees, with customers, with those we call competitors, and in a sense, with the general public or society itself. Each way of organizing economic activity, each economic system, necessitates or at least makes probable certain ways of interacting with these other persons and groups. Let us examine the contrast between how capitalism and distributism do this. But first, how do we define these two economic systems?
Capitalism, as I use the term here, refers to “that economic system in which were provided by different people the capital and labor jointly needed for production” (Pius XI, encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, #100). In other words, under capitalism, for the most part those who own the means of production hire others to do the actual work. Sometimes the capitalist owner manages the enterprise, but in its most extreme version, the corporation, the legal owners do nothing except collect their dividend checks or watch their stock prices rise or fall. They hire others to do the work of the corporation, including managing it. Many of these owners are not even real persons, but mutual funds or pension funds, and, in the back and forth of stock market transactions, they may own a particular stock for only a few minutes.”
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