Aparecida 63 – Small and Medium Businesses

The bishops in paragraph 63, note the importance of small and medium businesses.

Though Catholic Social Teaching is very critical of large concentrations of land and wealth – a tradition that goes back to early fathers of the church such as St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom – the tradition affirms the value of ownership.

 Certainly the prevalence of this tendency does not eliminate the possibility of setting up small and medium businesses which enter into the export sector of the economy, provide it with complementary services, or take advantage of specific niches in the internal market.

In Latin America, among other regions of the poor world, there are efforts to produce goods for the internal and international market. These would include the efforts of small farmers to market crops such as coffee and cacao via fair trade and direct marketing. They would also include efforts to produce vegetables and fruits for internal consumption, working with markets in the country as well as with national food distributors and supermarket chains.

Yet these businesses face major challenges in an international economy that favors large scale corporate interests.

However, their economic and financial frailty, and the small scale at which they operate makes them extremely vulnerable to interest rates, exchange-rate risk, benefit costs, and shifting prices of their raw materials. The vulnerability of these companies goes hand in hand with the insecurity of the employment that they are able to offer.

The bishops are not reluctant to call upon governments to enact policies that protect small and medium businesses.

Without a specific State policy to protect them, the risk is that the economies of scale of large consortiums will ultimately prevail as the sole decisive form of economic dynamism.

Here is the USCCB translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.


About John Donaghy

lay missioner with the Catholic diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras, since June 2007, living and working in the parish of Dulce Nombre de María.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization, Guest Writers, John Donaghy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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