It is all-important to note that the word “Capitalism” thus used as the name for the great evil which, in its maturity, threatens the very existence of our society does not signify the rights of property. It signifies rather an abuse of property; property developed into an unnatural top-heavy form, under which it cannot normally function, and only threatens disaster.
Capitalism no more means the affirmation of an an individual, or a family’s right to possess land , machinery, housing, clothing, reserves of food and the rest, than fatty degeneration of the heart means the normal function of the heart as the circulator of the blood in a healthy human body. Capitalism is an evil not because it defends the legal right to property, but because it is of its nature the use of that legal right for the defense of a privileged few against a much greater number who though free and equal citizens are without economic basis of their own.
Therefore the root evil which we roughly term “Capitalism” should more accurately be termed “Proletarianism”; for the characteristic of the bad state of Society which we call today “Capitalist”, is not the fact that the few own, but the fact that the many, though politically equal to their masters and free to exercise all the functions of a citizen, cannot enjoy full economic freedom.
- Excerpt From: The Crisis of Civilization, by Hilaire Belloc