Much has been made, and will be made, over President Obama’s statement to the entrepreneurs of the world that “You didn’t build that.” The context- that no one is successful in an isolated way, that the whole of one’s history contributes to that success, that the infrastructure of society makes it possible- shows that Republicans attempting to paint the president as antibusiness is a bit of a stretch. And it is a bit strange that Mr Romney, who has himself looted federal funds when the circumstances warranted it, would have a problem with what the president said:( http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-federal-bailout-that-saved-mitt-romney-20120829)
But what no one is mentioning is that there is another way that the producer is dependent on others for his success: he or she cannot make a dime without the workers to make the product or provide the service that he proposes. This is what is called in Catholic social teaching the priority of labor. Here is Blessed John Paul II: “…we must first of all recall a principle that has always been taught by the Church: the principle of the priority of labour over capital. This principle directly concerns the process of production: in this process labour is always a primary efficient cause, while capital, the whole collection of means of production, remains a mere instrument or instrumental cause. This principle is an evident truth that emerges from the whole of man’s historical experience.”
From this principle, that labor has primacy over capital, flows the whole concept of the rights of workers and their right to a fair share of the fruits of their labor.
This is the opposite of the Randian idea that on one side there are the producers and makers and the other the parasites and takers. Indeed, the “makers” are really the takers, taking the hard work of their employees. When those employees are ill treated or poorly paid it is pure exploitation.
It is a shame that I haven’t heard any Democrats- the party traditionally of labor- make this point.
Someone should say to the capitalists: “You didn’t build that. Your workers did.”