Skip to comments.What is Distributism? Understanding a Controversial Alternative to Socialism and Plutocracy
Posted on 06/12/2014 7:04:14 AM PDT by don-o
Unlike the socialists, the distributists were not advocating the redistribution of wealth per se, though they believed that this would be one of the results of distributism. Instead, and the difference is crucial, they were advocating the redistribution of the means of production to as many people as possible. Belloc and the distributists drew the vital connection between the freedom of labour and its relationship with the other factors of productioni.e., land, capital, and the entrepreneurial spirit. The more that labour is divorced from the other factors of production the more it is enslaved to the will of powers beyond its control. In an ideal world every man would own the land on which, and the tools with which, he worked. In an ideal world he would control his own destiny by having control over the means to his livelihood. For Belloc, this was the most important economic freedom, the freedom beside which all other economic freedoms are relatively trivial. If a man has this freedom he will not so easily succumb to encroachments upon his other freedoms.
Belloc was, however, a realist. Indeed, if he erred at all it was on the side of pessimism. He would have agreed with T.S. Eliots axiomatic maxim in The Hollow Men that between the potency and the existence falls the shadow. We do not live in an ideal world and the ideal, in the absolute sense, is unattainable. Yet, as a Christian, Belloc believed that we are called to strive for perfection. We are called to imitate Christ, even if we cannot be perfect as Christ is perfect.
(Excerpt) Read more at theimaginativeconservative.org ...
Hocus pocus dominocus - there are a million ways to name it and define it and everyone tries to justify it; call me old-fashioned, but if I’m taking your stuff without your consent, I call it theft.
That's actually far from ideal.
That's a world in which no one hires any employees or acquires any assets.
Like socialism, it would destroy price discovery - albeit more slowly, and without all the murder that accompanies socialism.
I missed the part about anyone taking anything from anybody. Maybe you can point it out.
Distributism is not really an economic system. It is a desired outcome; and is little more that the wishful thinking of neo-agrarians.
When you scratch the surface of what it really is, it’s a kind of socialism-lite, and actually encapsulates a lot of what drives modern statism.
“In an ideal world every man would own the land on which, and the tools with which, he worked.”
you mean like the agrarian societies that existed in the 140-15th centuries?
the problem with this ‘distribution’ scheme is who decides what needs to be redistributed? when? how much of it? and from whom to whom? sounds like high tech feudalism to me.
What is that?
Thanks for posting.
There's also a million practical difficulties besides this - in the land of distributism, everyone is some kind of small artisan or farmer. Societies like that operate at bare subsistence level and are typically unstable.
There were only two main proponents of the system, and both were writers.
First sentence - the word ‘redistribution’ doesn’t suggest anything to you?
It’s been a code word for Marx, Engels, Trotsky, Lenin, Mao and countless others for more than a hundred years.
Check the literature.
Price discovery is the activity in which sellers and buyers finally arrive at a market clearing price.
In distributism it is effectively illegal to buy or sell land and it is effectively illegal to buy or sell unskilled labor.
This would create shortages, since the market could not flexibly respond to demand.
This is the philosophy at the heart of the Tea Party movement, and echoes Thomas Jefferson’s belief that “government is best which governs least.” If you read the full article, you will see that this NOT redistributionist; it respects the individual and elevates him far above the socialist collective. In fact, it is anathema to top-down collectivization.
Such a vision is similar to some ideas advocated by libertarians.
With regard to "ideal": Yes, if all you care about is generating the most amount of product at the lowest cost, then cramming lots of people onto assembly lines performing mind-numbing and soul-crushing tasks is the most "ideal" solution.
If we exist to keep the economy going smoothly then bigger is better. If the economy exists to serve human beings, then maybe a little inefficiency is a more ideal solution.
I might have missed it: could you cite from this article where somebody is advocating taking your stuff without your consent? Maybe it’s there and I didn’t see it, but I do not understand Chesterton and Belloc as advocating State action in confiscating property.
The idea of specialization is that everyone has particular skills and gifts. By specializing in the marketplace, people are able to be more efficient.
Distributism devalues and discards those special skills, and tries to shoehorn everyone into some sort of idealized craft of the 18th century.
When distributism was first formulated in the early 1900s, the majority of the population were renters who did not own land and worked for employers who owned the property and equipment that employees used to earn a living.
Yet the distributists called for a society in which everyone owned enough land to live and run a small business on, and in which everyone owned the tools and equipoment of their trade.
In other words, they were calling for the creation of a system that abolished wage employment and rents and put the land in the hands of former renters and businesses and equipment in the hands of former employees.
How was this going to be accomplished?
See post 17.
Well, I’d say that’s because they didn’t really think it through.
There is only one way to achieve the land/property distribution that distributism demands, and that is to confiscate it. Who but the State could do such a thing?
Read post 11.
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