St. MariaEconomic Freedom Test Results

Your Score: 20.00%

Raw Score: 2.00

Following, please find an in-depth explanation of how your answers were scored, and see how you compare in terms of economic freedom to the average medieval peasant, who has been the object of so much scorn in the modern age.

Own Home: No

Explanation of Points: One point is awarded for owning one's home outright, or at least without usurious debt; zero points are given for either not owning a home, or owning it only by virtue of usurious debt.

Comment: Alas, you do not own your own home. Still, this is not a social calamity, as almost no one does anymore. However, since you do in this matter fall short of the distributist ideal (not to mention the average medieval peasant), it is rather regrettable.

Even most of those whom we now euphemistically call "homeowners" are such in name only. They only hold their property by usurious debt, a debt which is payable no matter what the circumstances, and should they fail to pay on that debt (which they will likely do their entire lives, unless they cease being "homeowners" and start being mere tenants in name as well as in fact), they will lose their home forthwith to whomever financed it when they "purchased" it, or whomever has bought the debt which they owe to them.

And so, your situation is not truly that bad. You are a tenant, either in name and fact (if you actually rent your home from another), or merely in fact but not in name (if you "own" your own home, but under such conditions as are outlined above). Compared to most in the modern world, you're doing as well as anyone.

But in a distributist world, this is simply not enough. Also not for the average medieval peasant, whose land was his, no matter what the circumstance. He could be punished for failing to pay his taxes to his lord, of course; but that land was his, and he could not be removed from it. Furthermore, those taxes were payable out of the value which the land itself produced; he did not need to pay a rent called a "mortgage" on a loan which produced absolutely nothing. So while you're doing about average in the modern world, in this you are well behind the medieval peasant, and the distributist ideal. Hence the distribution of points on this question.

Woman at Home: No

Explanation of Points: One point is awarded for the woman of the house being able to stay at home; zero points are awarded in the opposite case.

Comments: Alas, you find yourself in a very unhappy situation for family order. God's grace can, of course, help keep your family in good order; your part, however, is much more difficult when your wife is forced by circumstances to work outside the home.

All Catholics pray for you and those like you. Your wife is forced to divide her attentions and energies; after a hard day at work, she will often have scanty energy left for domestic matters. This means that her role as the heart of the home is often left unfilled; this further means that your role as head of the family is made considerably more difficult. We, and all good Catholics, pray for you.

Sometimes, of course, this situation is unavoidable, given the economic circumstances in which modernity places so many families. Often, however, this situation is simply a symptom of greed. There are so many things which we have been taught that we need, which in reality are merely luxuries. Cable television; multiple cars, if only one family member works; frequent meals out; and any number of other things. If such luxuries can be cut, and thus make a single income feasible for your family, by all means cut them. You may be poorer materially for it, but you will be immeasurably richer spiritually for it. Again, our prayers are with you.

This problem was, of course, almost unknown to the medieval peasant. A family would have one tradesman; the wife, though she performed a great deal of economic labor, always did so domestically and within the home, or within its immediate surroundings (often, for example, the wife would tend the garden; but the husband always looked after the farm). Similarly, a distributist society would encourage households to have a single income, to ensure the maintenance of a proper family order in as many families as possible. The family is the bedrock of society, so this is one of the cardinal points of distributism.

Able to School Own Children: No

Explanation of Points: One point is awarded if you are able to school your own children; zero points are awarded if not.

Comments: This fact is extremely unfortunate; the education of your children is at the whim of others, probably the modern state. The prayers of all good Catholics are with you.

The medieval peasant would have found this situation incomprehensible. The idea that the government has the right to take every child in a given area, put them in a building, and teach them things would have been quite laughable to him. That, they would have said, was the parents' right alone. The Church must guide education, of course, and the government has an interest in seeing that education is done. But to direct it in such a way was quite inconceivable.

Now, of course, this "right" of the state is taken for granted. This is one of the greatest ironies of modern liberty. Again, all good Catholics are praying for you. Pray also, that you be freed from this situation, and be able to govern your own family and teach your own children as God, not your government, directs. Do whatever you can to make this so.

Hours Worked: 40

Explanation of Points: Two points are awarded if less than or equal to sixty hours of work are done outside the home each week. One point is awarded if more than sixty hours but less than or equal to seventy-five hours of work are done outside the home each week. Zero points are awarded for more than seventy-five hours of work outside the home each week.

The medieval peasant receives one point on this question. In practice, this is unnecessarily hard on the medieval peasant. Though required to work from sunup to sundown, this would average out to probably less than sixty hours. However, in generosity to the modern age, the maximum possible amount of work (seventy-two hours; six days of twelve hours each) has been figured for here, so the peasant gets only one point.

Comments: You work less than sixty hours a week. Therefore, you are given two points, one more than even the medieval peasant. While most families in this day and age have considerable difficulty making ends meet while working less than sixty hours a week outside the home (as witnessed by so many two-income families), the fact that anyone can support a family on, say, forty hours a week is quite remarkable to the medieval. You are therefore an example of one of the accidental victories of modernity. You should enjoy it; your kind are getting rarer every day.

The distributist is not, of course, against work; rather, he is for it. Consequently, calling this amount of work good is not an indication of a disrespect for work or an encouragement to sloth. Rather, it is a sign of respect for the greatest work that a man can do: live the good life. A man's trade or work is only a part of that. He may also have a wife to spend time with; children to raise; and, of course, a soul to save. These are the real businesses of his life. So a good amount of work must leave sufficient time for these other tasks. Too much work, and there is no time for them; too little, and the material necessities of life are wanting. Distributism seeks to find the mean between these two extremes.

Because the amount of time you work outside the home leaves ample time for the higher things in life, while still providing for the material necessities of your life, your work is most certainly within the distributist ideal, and compares favorably to that of the medieval peasant. You are, therefore, in a good place as far as this goes. Pray that God preserves you and your family in this situation; as said above, it is getting rarer every day.

Own Business: No

Explanation of Points: One point is awarded for owning one's own business. Zero points are awarded if one does not.

Comments: Don't feel bad; hardly anybody does anymore. But still, because in this way you (and we, and most people in the modern day) fall short of the distributist ideal (not to mention the average medieval peasant), you are awarded no points for this.

Most medieval peasants were farmers, of course, and owned their own land; they therefore owned also their own "businesses," though of course they weren't run on the same basis as modern businesses are. Other than servants and soldiers, most other medievals also owned their own businesses, or at least had serious prospects of doing so one day. Journeymen did exist, of course, some of whom worked their whole lives for master tradesmen; but the normal situation was to be an owner of one's own source of livelihood.

The distributist ideal likewise aims at having every man, or at least most men, owners of their own source of livelihood. No society could possibly achieve the situation in which every man would be so, but it is possible that so many would be that the general character of society would be that of small owners. Therefore, one point is awarded for owning one's own business. We pray God that we may all one day be in this place.

Own Productive Property: No

Explanation of Points: Because owning one's own productive property, in addition to owning one's own business, is part of the distributist ideal, another point was deemed appropriate if, in addition to owning one's own business, one also owns one's own productive property. Zero points are added if one does not own one's own productive property, even if one owns one's own business.

Comments: This is truly a sad thing. But still, it is unremarkable. Very few people, even among those who own their own businesses, possess productive property of their own. Distributism, however, focuses very strongly upon production of wealth, and seeks to ensure the widest possible distribution of ownership of productive property. Therefore, we all pray God that we who lack such property soon acquire it.

If you are looking to begin your own business, it may be wise to try to begin one which produces, rather than merely carries on the produce of another or provides services. Naturally, some service businesses are necessary in all societies (doctors, lawyers, etc.); however, the normal role of the worker in society ought to be that of producing wealth. We pray that God guide you in any such decision, and that He bless your efforts in furthering the cause of Catholic social teaching by living out the ideals of distributism.

The medieval peasant was nearly universally in this situation. Most of them were, of course, farmers, who owned their own land, and land is the archetypal example of productive property. The guild system, further, ensured that master tradesmen would always possess their own tools, and would help apprentices and journeymen to become masters and possess their own tools. The medieval peasant, therefore, gets a point on this question, as well.

Nature of Job: Service-oriented

Explanation of Points: One point is awarded if one's job is productive in nature. Zero are awarded if one's job is service-oriented.

Comments: Alas, your work is not productive; instead it is, as is increasingly the case in modernity, service-oriented. This is not necessarily a bad thing; many necessary jobs (doctors, lawyers, and above all clergy) are not material producers, yet are absolutely vital to a properly ordered society. However, since the normal role for a person in such a society is the production of wealth, it seems only right to award one point for producers and none for service-oriented workers.

The medieval peasant was, of course, almost universally a producer. Other than servants and soldiers, even the comparatively few who did not own their own productive property still worked producing wealth, as farm laborers or apprentices or journeymen or in some other productive role. Therefore, he is awarded a point for this question; you, though your role may be vitally necessary, are not.

Holidays Excused: 0

Explanation of Points: A fraction of a single point is awarded for each of these holidays on which one is excused from work. If one is excused on all of these holidays, one receives one full point.

Comments: Here is one of the points about medieval society which is often most suprising to moderns: most medievals would have gotten all of these holidays off of work. In many cases, indeed, they were forbidden to work on these days, even if they wanted to. On the other hand, they had to work on Saturdays; nevertheless, this is a unique and wonderful aspect of medieval life that distributism would seek to duplicate.

First and foremost, society is for the common good, which means that every citizen ought to be helped toward his final end; namely, God. This means that every citizen ought to be given, universally, sufficient time, particularly on those days specially dedicated to it, for divine worship and to raise his family. Distributism would, therefore, encourage all of these days as days off from work, which would allow for both of these vital tasks to be performed which are now, all too often, neglected.

Sadly, you are deprived of some of this time on these days, many of which are vitally important to proper Catholic worship, for divine service and for helping to raise your family. Pray, and all Catholics pray with you, that you will be able to carry this cross with grace and come closer to God all the same. May society cease, by turning to Catholic principles as enunciated in the great social encyclicals, making turning to God so difficult as it does.

Emergency Assistance: 0

Explanation of Points: A fraction of a single point is awarded for each of these sources of emergency funds. The medieval peasant's score does not include the fraction for "Government" because this help was generally not available to him.

Comments: Many medievals would have had all these sources but the government to help them; the government rarely concerned itself with such things, since so many other sources were available. All tradesmen had their professional guilds; farmers, of course, did not have this. Moderns, on the other hand, probably have only immediate family and the government; possibly private or Church charities would be able to help them. Rarely do professional organization help with such things in these days; even the labor unions often leave that to corporations and the government.

The medieval, therefore, is given the points for all of these options except that of the government. You, of course, are awarded according to your answer.

Medieval's Score: 88.00%

Raw Score: 8.80

How does your score compare to the medieval's? Think hard about it, and then consider which paradigm, modern or medieval, more closely approaches the system demanded by the Church in her great social tradition and summed up in the social encyclicals. Distributism merely seeks faithfulness to these principles, and emulation of that system, insofar as it is good, which in the past has most closely approached them. May God guide you in your inquiry, and lead you always to the truth.

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