12. Can you summarize the 3 factors that make up our commonly-owned social capital?
1. Natural resources;
2. Progress, resulting in a shared cultural heritage;
3. The benefits and increment of association that result from life in society.
13. What are the benefits to each of us as owners of a commonly-owned social capital?
When this capital bears fruit it must bring its owners an income without taking away the reward of those who have mobilized the capital, the labour force.
14. Are we the true owners and heirs of this commonly-owned social capital?
Yes! Every member of this generation is a co-owner of the cultural heritage that was handed down to us by previous generations. Improvements were made from generation to generation; inventions followed one another, each serving as a stepping stone to the next.
Applied science remains the greatest and most important factor in modern production. No one alive today can say: “This all belongs to me. I am the one who invented the wheel and the crowbar. I discovered how to make electricity from waterfalls. I engineered the internal combustion engine and now we have cars and airplanes. It is I who harnessed chemistry for the service of industry”. No, these advances were developed by generations of researchers, inventors, engineers and craftsmen. Natural resources and progress do not belong to any one man. We are the equal co-heirs of past generations. They are everyone’s heritage.
This is the rationale for each person’s entitlement to a periodic Dividend from the cradle to the grave.
We do not live in society so that it is more difficult to obtain basic goods but so that they might be had more easily. If living together in society made it more difficult to access bare necessities, society would soon disintegrate. It is therefore society’s duty to ensure that each of its members be guaranteed the goods necessary to enjoy a decent life.
The agitation and dislocation evident in modern societies is because many people have difficulty meeting their basic survival needs at the same time that we are witnesses to an enormous productive capacity.