Rights And Duties Of Capital And Labor Quotes

"Every Man Has By Nature The Right To Possess Property As His Own"

Context: Leo XIII issued this letter to protest the exploitation and enslavement of the laboring class, a condition which had become universal. He asserts that all workers must receive decent treatment and a wage which will support them and their families. But socialism and common ownership of property, he warns, is not the answer. Socialism is not only visionary and unworkable, but its foundation is contrary to nature and to God's laws. Man, as a reasoning animal, does not range at large in the world, but controls his environment, and to do so he must be able to have property, especially land, of his own. Man's reason also allows him to anticipate the future and to provide for it, a task he can do only by accumulating land or other wealth.

. . . every man has by nature the right to possess property as his own. . . . it must be within his right to possess things not merely for temporary and momentary use, as other living things do, but to have and to hold them in stable and permanent possession; he must have not only things that perish in the use, but those also which, though they have been reduced into use, continue for further use in after time.