129. Family prosperity
1. The family community is the primary object of ecological theory and the primary economic agent. This is because it exists and assumes its destiny as a moral person, a unity of conjugal and parental love, and not as a place of encounter, profit, commerce and competition. The family unit is anterior to all relationships based on interest, over which the law of market forces presides.
The family is a complete ecological cell, with its own stable biological, material and moral interests, its complete round of activities, its labours directed to its own consumption, its savings for its shared long-term projects, its constant and assured desire for fecundity and balanced prosperity : its spontaneous prudence. For thousands of years, domestic economy in its pure state has reigned almost exclusively over the whole world. It is domestic economy that reconstitutes itself, defends and adapts itself, and prospers the most securely. It is truly the basis of every more complex system, for want of which nothing will ever be in conformity with nature or capable of lasting.
2. The first thing necessary, therefore, is to authorise and restore family liberty, to allow it to live and to expand. Such a liberty implies authority, property and responsibility. In other words : decision, capability, and prudence. The family has needs that it endeavours to satisfy by means of its capability to produce and exchange goods, in accordance with its autonomous faculties of decision. It is up to the family to balance work and consumption, expenditure and saving, conservation and exchange, so as to enjoy the good life today in moral security. In accordance with its own prudence, it leads its own interior life and engages its members and possessions, its honour and its future, in its external relationships. No power can replace this first seat of decision and responsibility without fatally affecting the basic ecological equilibrium of human society.
3. It is here that the first “ utopia ” or ideal norm for the ecology becomes apparent : the prudence of family communities is the first and most indispensable remedy for all the economic crises encountered by mankind through history. The more solid and the more wholesome the family institution, once freed from capitalo-socialist propaganda, the better will society face up to its difficulties. This sacred principle implies absolute respect for the three elements of family ecology : the power of decision for this community, or authority, the power to make use of its possessions in a lasting manner, or property, and the power to contract stable commitments, or responsibility.
The family is the first sanctuary of a concerted ecological life, the reality of which can never be totally penetrated by any scientific or mathematical analysis. It lies outside the supervision and intrusion of other economic powers, which must serve it rather than enslave it.