The concept of the “Golden Rule” does not appear anywhere in the Bible. But many extrapolate its meaning from Christ’s Sermon on the Mountain when he said: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them.” (Matthew 7:12)
It’s with this rule in mind that I’d like to address an issue that I’ve given a lot of thought over my life journey. And this issue deals with my questioning what is the best economic system for a country.
My family fled Cuba and emigrated to the United States to flee a country whose government had imposed a communist economic system that has impoverished the population for over sixty years.
But living in the United States for most of my life, I’ve come to question the merit of unfettered capitalism. The pursuit of profits without regard to the wellbeing of employees and the willingness to eradicate the manufacturing base of the country to pursue a $1.4 billion market in Communist China makes me angry.
I ask you whether it is moral for some employers to favor the prolongation of a war so that they can make a couple more millions – regardless of how many of our young men and women would die in vain?
I also ask you at what point do employees tell their employers that their salaries are high enough and their work-shift hours are short enough to allow employers to invest in more income-producing assets that benefit both?
And I think that the challenge is that there is a huge disconnect in America’s owning class between two moral principles: the right to property and the right to use property for the common good. Those who own stock in companies generally do not work or manage them, while those who work and manage them do not own any stock at all. There is Berlin Wall between the two sides that prevents a fruitful partnership between the two. Consequently, the owners of stock demand keeping all profits for themselves, and the employees get a pittance in return for their labor that generated those profits.
How do we fix this disconnect? The late Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen posits that through a new co-partnership work contract that would encompass the equitable distribution of profits to owners and employees. This new contract would contain the following concepts: 1) allocate at least one seat in the Board of Directors to employees so that they can participate in the management decisions of the company; 2) give employees a set of “permanent” shares to give them an opportunity to vote on the distribution of dividends; and, 3) allow the employees to share the profits earned equitably.
It is terribly unfair for the owners of stock in a company to earn profits ranging in the millions of dollars and to pay minimum-wage salaries to employees. Similarly, it just as unfair for a federal employee to make a recommendation that saves the Federal Government millions of dollars and invoke a regulation that caps the award given to that employee to a couple thousands of dollars. This is what brings about revolutions and riots!
Embracing this new co-partnership work contract will afford much needed self-respect to employees, which will encourage them to do more rather than do less for the companies.
Nevertheless, many of you would think that this suggestion is too logical for its implementation. And you would be right.
It’s been opposed by both employers and labor unions. And the opposition has been triggered by one thing only: greed. While both sides are engaged in this polemic, government usually steps in and takes all profits for itself.
Communism and socialism could be the result of this stalemate. It would replace individual selfishness with collective selfishness, and corporate monopoly with monopoly by the Communist Party. Every communist is a frustrated capitalist with no money in his/her pocket. The resulting outcome is the elevation of members of the Communist Party to the elites and the relegation of everyone else to the lower classes.
Another unwelcomed possible outcome would be the immeasurable growth of a government that will impose unreasonable taxes on business owners, process them through innumerable bureaucratic layers to feed the Deep State, and give the remaining crumbs to employees.
Going back to the Golden Rule, the best way out of this dilemma is to set up an economic system of co-partnership between employers and employees – rather than one in which profits are controlled entirely by employers or the government.
To implement this improved economic system in the midst of the myopic selfishness of employers and employees, the government will have to step in to protect the common good of both sides. But this entry will have to be limited in scope – as governments have a tendency to increase their size and responsibilities in perpetuity.
To bring up a poignant example pertaining to Hispanics, are selecting officials in the Federal Government willing to hire qualified Hispanics into the Senior Executive Service primarily when they are applying for jobs where they are chasing other Hispanics? This much is certain, if Hispanics are qualified for these jobs, there are other jobs in the Senior Executive Service that they would excel in!!! When selecting officials base their selections solely on qualifications, that will be the time when the Federal Government will achieve its goal of being an equal-opportunity employer.
Employers will not like this co-partnership model because it means less profits for them. Labor unions will not like also because it means less union dues for them.
Men of goodwill will embrace it because it’s a model that finds the ideal balance between the right to property and the right to use property for the common good. It is the right model because no American will claim a right without acknowledging a duty. It the right model because it follows the moral code of the Golden Rule!