- Tea at Trianon, Elena Maria Vidal, introducing:
- Of course, "communism" as a political and economic term did not exist at the time. Nevertheless, St. Thomas More described it quite accurately in his writings. To quote:
- The Actual Quote, with Source :
- But, Nephew, there have to be people with wealth, because otherwise you'll have, by God, more beggars than there already are, and no one left able to relieve anyone else. For in my mind I feel quite certain of this: that if tomorrow all the money in this country were brought together out of everyone's hands and laid all in one heap, and then divided out equally to everyone, things would be worse on the day after than they were on the day before. For I suppose when it was all equally divided among all, the one who had been doing the best would be left little better off than the average beggar is now. Whoever was a beggar before would be so little enriched by what he received that he would still not be much more than a beggar....
~A Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation by St. Thomas More, Martyr*
EITHER most workers in his time were close to beggars OR beggars were very close to most workers in his time.
Please note that the description is neither of Communism nor of Distributism, but rather of Fiscal Socialism.
And yes, Social Democracy in Sweden has done some steps towards a Fiscal Socialism in which most people have to be on the dole, which is worse than being a beggar (I have tried both).
Communism means lumping all PRODUCTIVE property together and making sure the workers elect their director.**
Which may be a boon to workers in large companies, but hardly to small shopowners, nor to all of their employees.
Distributism means dividing up large companies in order to have more small ones.
And as you can see, that is sth else than either gathering it in a heap or distributing equal amounts of money, but it does equalise.
Other aspects of Communism and Socialism were realised back then, like Poor Houses, where a certain set of beggars were forced to live while begging from a certain village or number of villages and forced to divide it equally in the Poor House. The Parens Patriae doctrine which means State can take away children from parents is also from Reformation England.
And is also a moral situation where Communism and Distributism are in conflict.***
I answered above, unless I added last lines here, and here I also add footnotes./HGL
* Missing on the page of St Thomas More in Wikisource: Author:Thomas More
Red link on wiki = missing document, empty page.
** If instead of workers electing the director, the administration imposes it, we are talking some form of State Socialism, very far from Communism, except by historic accident. However, State Socialism is as capable nearly of thriving on Fiscal Socialism and huge taxes as on the stage one of the Communist scenarion the lumping together of companies and elimination of owners.
*** Distributism is basically to economy, what Subsidiarity is to administration and politics. Communism and Huge Companies are essentially as much the opposite in economics as Totalitarian Centralism is in politics and administration.