French flagpolish flagspanish flag

The Social Dividend and Commonly-Owned Capital

on Wednesday, 01 May 2019. Posted in The Social Dividend

1. What is a dividend?

A dividend is money given to a capitalist in recognition of an investment which resulted in a profit. The dividend is a share of the profit and is a reward. Note that dividends are not based on work performed by the investor.

2. You have defined a capitalist’s dividend. Can you define a Social Dividend?

A Social Dividend is a share of a country’s production that is given to each citizen. All citizens are members of society and each owns an equal part of the commonly-owned real capital.

3. What is the “commonly-owned real capital”?

It is a capital, or asset, that is both real and commonly-owned. Natural resources fall into this category: forests, lakes, rivers, water falls, minerals and oil are examples.

Natural resources are not the fruit of any one person’s work. Their development might be but not their existence. Natural resources are a gift of the Creator which belong to everyone. They make up a real capital that is commonly-owned and which is the greatest factor in modern production.

4. Are natural resources a large factor in production?

Of course. If there were no rivers there would be no electricity! If there were no forests we would not have lumber, paper and other products.

Without mineral deposits there would be no manufactured goods that required their use. Even if natural resources cannot satisfy our needs directly they still represent the wealth from which we manufacture products to meet the population’s needs.

5. Do a nation’s citizens have rights over their natural resources?

Yes! Natural resources are commonly-owned assets. They belong to the entire population and to each man, woman and child. No one can say: “I am the one who feeds the waterfalls by evaporating the seawater and turning it into rain”. Natural resources are God’s gift to all.

6. Is the Social Dividend based on the common ownership of natural resources?

Yes! To which we must add that science and technological progress comprise a “cultural heritage”; a heritage passed down from earlier generations.

7. What is the cultural heritage?

It is the sum of knowledge that was acquired and passed down from one generation to the next. It is the know-how that was increased over the centuries. It is the fruit of the social order we inhabit and the division of labour. All of this makes up a huge capital at the service of those who are now alive.

8. Do citizens have rights to this cultural heritage?

Of course! This capital does not belong to one person in particular. It is a huge common heritage and its heirs are the population alive today.

People who work deserve to be rewarded and no one would consider taking away the reward for work done. But the rightful owners of the cultural heritage, that is each member of society, is and remains rightfully entitled to this legacy.

Thanks to the application of science and progress, fewer raw materials and less labour are required for an improved and increased production. Is it not fair that all heirs should get their share of the resulting bounty of products?

9. Are there other factors that make up this commonly-owned capital?

Yes, life in society contributes to the commonly-owned capital. When individuals form a society, they do so to improve their living conditions, to make things easier, faster and with less individual effort; things they believe useful and necessary.

The fact alone that people live in society means that production is increased. Life in society results in a productive asset and is another example of a real capital that belongs to everyone.

10. Can you explain the difference between individual production and group production?

Yes. Let us look at both types of production. First, consider the lonely life of Robinson Crusoe. He tilled a plot of soil with his bare hands and sowed a few seeds. He made dishes out of clay and domesticated wild goats. His efforts were intended for his use and were made by him alone. Survival was his goal.

Let us now look at production within an organized society. Industrialized nations benefit from collective energy sources and collective means of transportation. Modern production methods feature specialization and benefit from the division of labour. Production is made by the many for the many.

11. What would happen if life in society came to a halt?

Let us imagine that life in society came to an end. Each person would go his own way; there would no longer be conversation and no more buying or selling of goods.

Each individual would make his own food, clothes, shelter and tools. There would be no more schools, books, no more social relationships, no more roads and no more bridges. No matter how hard individuals worked in this scenario their total output would be much less than ensues from the enhanced benefits of association afforded by an organized society.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.

Your Cart

Latest Issue

Choose your topic

Newsletter & Magazine



Go to top
JSN Boot template designed by