I was really interested to read about Distributism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributism), especially because of the distinction it makes between wealth and property.
All that yapping the Occupiers have been doing about the alleged “99% vs. 1%” is about wealth, not property, and I’ve heard that kind of trash talk many times in the past when various anti-Catholic groups would get to harping on how “rich” my church supposedly is (therefore, we’re selfish and greedy, don’t care about the poor, yada yada).
But I’ve belonged to one Catholic parish or another my entire life. I’ve served on parish councils, examined the annual statements and helped Dearest when he was chairperson of the building committee that did a major rehab on our facility.
You know where the alleged wealth of our parishes are located?
In the property we use.
We don’t have millions stashed away under the priest’s mattress. We have land and a building that we and others in our community use every day for worship, spiritual direction and counseling, educational programs, day care, exercise classes, and a host of other things.
Our parish is very small, so we work with other churches in the area to do the food cupboard, which is located in a non-Catholic church building, but many larger Catholic parishes maintain schools, food cupboards, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other programs that all require buildings on land that have dollar values attached to them.
You could call that dollar value the “wealth” of the church. But it ignores the WORK that property is doing. It ignores all the jobs associated with that work. It ignores all the good those facilities and jobs do in the community. It also ignores the costs of utilities and upkeep.
That Occupy thing about 99% vs. 1% is based on wealth. They’ve taken one unimportant and extremely deceptive statistic about our nation, used it to falsely condemn our entire economic system and then, in the name of social justice, demanded we shift our economy toward Socialism.
But it’s all a lie.
The true model for economic social justice is not Socialism, but Distributism. We don’t hear much about it, which is a shame, because it’s good stuff.
Basically, Distributism says that for maximum economic social justice, property should NOT be centralized under the control of the state (Socialism) OR under the control of a few huge businesses or wealthy private individuals (Capitalism).
Instead, property (not wealth) should be spread out among the general populace in the form of small businesses and worker-owned cooperatives.
Pay attention here. Distributism does NOT promote redistribution of wealth. It promotes small business.
I have lived virtually my entire life in close proximity to one or more small family businesses. My parents’ sporting goods business employed 10 or 15 people and put me and my 5 sibs through college; hubby’s rental property venture got us enough money to buy our own home; his one-man architecture business supported me and our three kids. There was and is very little wealth in any of these ventures, but they provided jobs, goods, services and a good life to our families and to people in the community.
And that is the point of Distributism, to focus not on whose bank account is bigger, but on what is best for people.
Thinking about all these things got me wondering how well our nation is doing in promoting the kind of small operations that Distributism says are the ideal for an economically just society. I found these eye-opening statistics at http://www.census.gov/econ/smallbus.html:
Ignore that 99% vs 1% crap. Here are the FACTS:
HALF the jobs in this country are in small businesses that generate 42% of the money!
HALF the employees in this country work for business with fewer than 500 employees and 70% of those work in businesses with fewer than 100 employees!
If Distributism is the best economic model for social justice — and I’m inclined to think it is — then the United States of America is doing a pretty darn good job on the economic social justice front!
According to Occupy, I’m part of the “down-trodden” 99%.
Well, phooie on them. I’ve had a great life!
I think I’ve been really blessed to have lived in a country where my mom and dad could start a business in the spare bedroom and work to make it grow enough to put six kids through college. I’ve loved my life as the wife of a small businessman and I know my kids were blessed in many ways to have a self-employed dad who worked out of the house.
And you know what else? The same people who push for bigger and bigger government, more and more regulation, and higher and higher taxes … THOSE people are KILLING small businesses in this country.
IOW, in the name of economic social justice, the Left is working as hard as they can to REDUCE economic social justice!
Below is just one example:
Choking on Obamacare – December 4, 2011
CKE, with more than 3,200 restaurants (Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s), has created 70,000 jobs, 21,000 directly and 49,000 with franchisees. The growth of those numbers will be inhibited by — among many government measures — Obamacare.
When CKE’s health-care advisers, citing Obamacare’s complexities, opacities and uncertainties, said that it would add between $7.3 million and $35.1 million to the company’s $12 million health-care costs in 2010, CEO Puzder said: I need a number I can plan with. They guessed $18 million — twice what CKE spent last year building new restaurants. Obamacare must mean fewer restaurants.
And therefore fewer jobs. Each restaurant creates, on average, 25 jobs — and as much as 3.5 times that number of jobs in the community. (CKE spends about $1 billion a year on food and paper products, $175 million on advertising, $33 million on maintenance, etc.)
Puzder laughs about the liberal theory that businesses are not investing because they want to “punish Obama.” Rising health-care costs are, he says, just one uncertainty inhibiting expansion. Others are government policies raising fuel costs, which infect everything from air conditioning to the cost (including deliveries) of supplies, and the threat that the National Labor Relations Board will use regulations to impose something like “card check” in place of secret-ballot unionization elections.
FROM: Table 2a. 2008 (Big numbers rounded to spare my brain)
# of all firms in the United States: 27 million # of all employees: 121 million Annual receipts: $31 trillion
1) # with 500 or more employees: 18 thousand # of all employees: 61 million Annual receipts: $18 trillion
2) # less than 500 employees: 27 million # of all employees: 60 million Annual receipts: $13 trillion