July 2021: Living Wages
There is a great evil, that is basically not mentioned, and that is the duty of an employer to pay a living wage. Pope Leo XIII defines a living wage as: "If a workman's wages be sufficient to enable him comfortably to support himself, his wife, and his children, he will find it easy, if he be a sensible man, to practice thrift, and he will not fail, by cutting down expenses, to put by some little savings and thus secure a modest source of income. Nature itself would urge him to this. We have seen that this great labor question cannot be solved save by assuming as a principle that private ownership must be held sacred and inviolable. The law, therefore, should favor ownership, and its policy should be to induce as many as possible of the people to become owners." (Rerum Novarum)
This presumes a family man, who is the sole wage earner with a stay at home wife and children. The median income in Topeka is slightly under $30,000, which the median household income, which would include two worker households is $48,000. The major employers, average in the range of $45,000 per year wage for a worker. In Topeka, for a family of three (the largest they consider), this is over $60,000 per year. As such this is an immoral violation of the principles outlined in Pope Leo's Encyclical.
This problem is nationwide in the United States and is most likely world-wide. With the rich getting richer and the rest of the world getting poorer, there is unrest and calls for many possible solutions. The only true solution to the world's problems is conversion, repentance and prayer. However, We point this out, because We wish to discuss another problem.
Many today are promoting the idea of boycotting certain companies for some of their immorality, such as promoting abortion and other abominable sins. And yet, no one is pointing out that most, if not all, major corporations are participating in the sin of defrauding the laborer of his wages. The Apostle James (5:4) tells us: "Behold the hire of the labourers, who have reaped down your fields, which by fraud has been kept back by you, crieth: and the cry of them hath entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth."
The Church is actually against the idea of boycotting as a means to promote change. Any change that might happen is caused by force and fear, not by a will to depart from their wicked ways. Also those advocating on boycotting are focusing on only a few sins, when Scripture advises us: "From all appearance of evil refrain yourselves." (1 Thessalonians 5:22)
When we purchase products from sinful companies, we do indeed participate in their sin, but this participation is remote participation in the sin of another. Now there are areas where we must not participate in these sins, and one of these is in purchasing stock in the sinful company. This would be direct cooperation in the sin of another. Moralists from almost a century ago compare investing in the stock market to gambling.
If we were to apply the principle of boycotting sinful companies, we would have to apply it to all mortal sins, not just a select few, unless we limited our self to the more egregious sins, such as the sins crying to heaven for vengeance, which includes defrauding the laborer of his wages.
While railing against the more obvious and more modern evils, everyone forgets an evil that has been with us for over a century. If you buy a loaf of bread you participate in this evil. If you buy a gallon of gas, you participate in this evil. Even if you send a donation to this ministry, you are participating in this system. This evil is two fold, central banking and fractional reserve banking.
Let us first consider the central banking system, which was created in the United States in 1913 with the Federal Reserve Act. To make it simple, because economists complicate things in order to hide them. (Read the story of the Emperor's New Clothes.) The central bank creates currency out of nothing, which is fraud. Then they loan it into existence to buy government bonds or to the banks and charge for the use of it, which is usury. There is a fraud that is not considered. Let us say the central bank creates a million rasbutniks for use in their country. This is the only currency permitted to be used as money. They charge the modest sum of one percent a year, compounded yearly, for the use of these rasbutniks. Let us say they take no other action for ten years. There are a million rasbutniks in circulation, but there are 1,104,622 rasbutniks owed back to the central bank. In other words there are over 100,000 more rasbutniks owed than are in existence to repay them. The central bank basically now controls this country, since more is owed than can ever be repaid. Put that into the real world where countries have had central banks for decades, some for over a century, and one can easily see a large problem.
Fractional reserve banking takes currency that is placed on deposit and then puts it aside. They then can loan out ten times as much or so, depending on the reserve requirement and lend it out and charge for the use of it. Let us say they are paying 1% for the use of rasbutniks. Let us say all million rasbutniks from above are deposited at 1% per year. The bank in question can then lend out ten million rasbutniks. Let us say it charges 2% for the use of these. They are paying 10,000 rasbutniks to the depositors. But they are making 200,000 rasbutniks on the loans or a profit of 190,000 rasbutniks.
This may appear simplistic, but it is safe to say that the system currently in place in most of the countries is working on a fraudulent and usurious system, which is objectively immoral.
Why doesn't anyone suggest stepping out and boycotting this system? The first objection will be: "But I will not be able to take care of my family, my affairs, etc." And this is a good reason to remain in for the most part. It will be necessary remote cooperation in the sin of another.
The solution is not boycotting all of the sinful institutions in the world, but in living by the Gospels. Much time and effort is wasted in exposing the evils of the world, which would be better spent in fulfilling our duties, to God, our fellow man and our own self. We have read unfortunate stories of parents, who get so caught up in railing against the evils of the day, that they neglect the spiritual needs of their own children.
However, we should take cognizance of the fact that the world today is so evil, that someone wrote several years ago: "If God does not chastise the world He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology." By our own sins, we are asking for chastisement, more so than those in the world who are not as well informed. We are called to a higher level of living. We are called to be saints, and what did the saints do? Let us read their lives and learn from them how to live by the Gospels, because they lived by the Gospels.
In the August, 2018 Olive Tree, we considered the three types of people, spiritual, sensual and carnal. https://www.vaticaninexile.com/august_2018_olive_tree.php Many, who claim to be Catholic are carnal, which is why the Saints are of the opinion that the majority of adult Catholics are lost. Saint John Vianney explains why: "three quarters of those who are Christians labor for nothing but to satisfy this body." And many who do spend some time in reciting prayers are of this lot as Scripture tells us: "This people honoureth me with their lips: but their heart is far from me." [Matthew 15:8]
Yes the evils of today are great. Let us not be part of the evil of today, which many who claim to be concerned Catholics are. Let us become saints, for all are called to such sanctity. Remember, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.