Principles for Ownership of Wealth
The Caux Round Table Proposed Principles for The Ownership of Wealth
Wealth comes from earning a return on capital – human, financial, physical, reputational, social. Current wealth generates future wealth. A necessary use of wealth, therefore, is to ensure the creation of more wealth.
Wealth is a form of capital, constituting in particular the flexible ability to use and deploy finance capital. Both individual initiative and social institutions interact to produce all forms of capital, giving to capital a mixed character subject to the authorship claims of both individuals and society. Capital therefore arises out of kyosei, a process of living and working together for a common good.
Further, the highest and best use of any form of capital is to generate additional capital. Capital should not be used to hinder society’s ability to create more capital for the benefit of others. Consumption is not the most responsible use of capital.
Second, proper use of wealth is necessary for the achievement of more gentle and happy social circumstances, for improvement of the human condition. Possession of wealth generates envy in others, leading to cultural and social tensions. Unequal distribution of wealth further gives rise to resentment, alienation and political conflict.
Third, use of capital to abuse one’s power and position or impose one’s will on others is not compatible with a respect for human dignity.
The following Principles are supplemented by more specific implementation standards and guidelines.
The ownership of wealth entails stewardship.
The ends of holding wealth encompass more than meeting self-centered desires for dominion and indulgence. There is a fiduciary aspect to the ownership of capital. Wealth is to be consciously devoted to meeting the needs of society, of others, and the challenges of the future. Wealth should be of benefit to society.
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