Page 6, 5th September 1947

5th September 1947
Page 6
Page 6, 5th September 1947 — PROPERTY REGAINED

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Lost Property. By Paul Derrick. (Denis Dobson, 8s. 6d.)

Reviewed by JOHN F. LEO BRAY

MR. Derrick is concerned, as are all men of goodwill, about the " propertylcssness " of the vast mass of mankind. Nay, more : he has made a courageous and original attempt to arrive at a practical solution of the problem, which he claims could be put into effect in this country by means of a few simple, but drastic, changes iii company law.

The problem is that of achieving .a just distribution of property. It is. as Mr. Derrick recognises, a moral problem. This being so, it is natural to inquire what the Church has to say on the matter.

First, as to the natttre of property.

St. Thomas Aquinas says that private property is necessary: " because every man is more careful to procure what is for himself atone than that which is common to many or all. since each one would shirk labour and leave to another, that which concerns the community also because a more peaceful state is insured if each one is contented with his own, Ownership, says Pius XI, has a two-fold aspect — " individualor social, according as it regards iedividuals or concerns the common good.' If the social and public aspect of ownership he denied or minimised, one falls into individualism, " the rejection or diminution of its private and individual character leads to ` collets! ivism ' or something approaching to ii."

A just solution, therefore, requires that property should be accorded its individual or personal character; Leo XIII insists that " property belongs naturally to individual persons " and " must belong to a man in his capacity of head of a family." 'The State must safeguard the rights of the family to individual ownership: " the Socialists in setting up a State supervision, act against natural justice, and break into pieces the stability of family life." "Their interference is unjust, subjecting all etasses of citizens to odious and intolerable bondage; causing the sources of wealth themselves to run dry, feir no one would have any interest in exerting 'his talents or his industry." Pius X1 says that " the State should leave to smaller groups the settlement of matters of minor importance: it should direct, watch, stimulate, restrain, as circumstances suggest or necessity demands."

True ownership, then, is personal and individual; to be complete, it intik not only include access to the thing owned, but must also give control and enjoyment of its fruits'subject only to the just rights of others and tbe State's guardianship of the common good.

Neither ownership by the impersonal state (State Socialism) nor ownership by the soul-less company (Capitalism) satisfies these requirements. How is this wider distribution of individual ownership of the means of production to be achieved? Simply, say the Popes, by a return to the reign of God and His justice.

The lust for power must be controlled; the State must cease arrogating to itself the rights and duties of fathers, of families, of employers. The spirit of avarice must be moderated; the State freed from its present multifarious meddlings, will regain the authority to curb the avarice of business men and to prevent the growth of monopolies. Employers must pay a just wage (as a first charge on industry ranking before profits) and must give continuity of work; they must be satisfied with a moderate, just profit. The spirit of sloth must be exorcised; workers must give a fair day's work in return for a just wage. Workmen, enjoying a just wage will find it easy to save [especially if the stability of their savings is guaran'teed by a sound currency). Their savings must be safeguarded by the State. Since. however, modern large-scale production seems to need large-scale finance, something must be done about it.

Mr. Derrick's plan is to convert existing ordinary shares compulsorily into preference shares. The workeis by hand and brain would then be entitled to the remaining profits; and, as "owners," would have the right to run the organisation.

The implications of his scheme are well worked met and deserve to be carefully studied in the light of the teachings of the Papal Encyclicals.


A RICH MONTH I HOPE you have lots of ripe fruit —and that your plans are ready for the best use of it. The advantage of bush apples and pears on dwarfing rootstocks is manifest this year. I have some which are many years old and about six feet each Way, but which have to be propped up every year to support the abundance of fruit they bear. Where such crowded fruit (even after thinning) is waiting for full maturity, keep your eyes open for signs of brown mould. Once this gets a hold, it spreads like wildfire—and unfortunately persists with increased force in subsequent years.

" Mummified" plums are sometimes left on trees because they are unpleasant to gather. These, in fact, should be destroyed cm sight. They are dispersal centres of ruin.

Fruit gathered at this season does not usually keep. It should he eaten or preserved in bottles. The " keepers" are those which stay until leaf-fall, or nearly so. Fruit blemished in any way will not keep without bottling, and, in fact, is best for jam.

Tomatoes should be picked when yellowing. Bring them into a room with moderate temperature, but preferably where they can have the occasional whiff of coal gas associated with cooking. Recent experiment has shown this does accelerate ripening. Fruits need not be in the sun; we want them plump, not shrivelled. On the first sign of potato blight on tomatoes (a brownish softness), spray plentifully with Burgundy or Bordeaux mixture again. This saves pounds of fruit every year. If you have any more side-shoots to take out, complete it before spraying. For the sake of avoiding bad tears at a troublesome time, use a sharp knife.


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