135. Freeing enterprise
Contrary to an impression too widely diffused amongst public opinion by politicians, most Frenchmen – and most other men too ! – earn their living in companies and enterprises of small or medium importance. It is these that we should first be concerned to free from capitalist, trade unionist and state control, and so restore them to their spontaneous ecological balance, to their fraternity. Large scale industry will have to follow. On the other hand, regulating everything on the model of large scale industry necessarily leads to the systematic destruction of the smaller enterprises.
1. The solution to the social problem begins with the restoration of the basic economic community, the small and medium sized enterprise, which provides the essential of economic activity, and the rehabilitation of its responsible head, the entrepreneur. The enterprise must be solid, so that the entrepreneur may have the freedom to be a true manager, enterprising, honest and human. At the present time, these enterprises are crushed by so many burdens and have become such a battleground, that no stability, prudence or justice is possible for them.
The banks absorb the principal part of their profits and decide on their survival or their death by releasing or blocking credit. Bureaucracy, with its excessive rules and regulations, its fiscal pressure, its extravagant social charges, work inspections that are enslaved to the letter of regulations, social assessments, factory politics, etc., has made life intolerable for them, damping all initiative, effort and progress. The trade unions add to the insecurity and deterioration of the social climate with their political strikes, inopportune demands, and working to rule, the goal of which is alien to the interests of their own members.
2. All these intruders must be chased out of enterprise ; and to whom should enterprise be given if not to the entrepreneur, to its patron and to its collaborators of all professional levels, whose work is needed for their own families ?
The enterprise may, in fact, be defined as a business project, the real end of which is to ensure the livelihoods of the families that find themselves associated with it by work or heritage. If the owner alone has the legitimacy to draft or to alter the project, the other collaborators will adhere to it more or less explicitly, according to their responsibilities. The work contract will define the conditions of this association.
The first person in charge of the enterprise – its “ father ” is the one who has launched this plan or who assumes its management – is the entrepreneur, the patron. Because he is the most interested in the success of the enterprise and in its durability, he is ideally placed to defend the common interest and entertain the reasonable claims of all its members. So much the better if this patron is also the owner of the company, for he is then the most reliable person to take charge. If he is not the owner, then social law will tie his fate closely to that of the enterprise or company whose director or manager he is constituted by law.
Once he has been freed from all aberrant controls and restored to his full personal authority, the patron is, however, obliged to establish organs for mutual dialogue amongst all the members of the economic community he directs, between themselves and with him, whatever be their rank in the enterprise.
3. All this presupposes an overhaul of the laws of Labour, commercial and company laws, particularly the laws of the anonymous company of protestant capitalist origin, a type of democracy rigged by money that allows every kind of abuse, and which royalist social Catholics – and they only – have stood up against. Consequently, investment, the money market and the organisation of the stock exchange will be cleansed, so as to put also an end to anonymous financial dealings involving transfers of ownership, changes of management or even of the company itself, unscrupulous speculation, secret agreements, etc., in order to dominate and crush the markets in the interests of money without laws or frontiers.