In a post for which I could claim authorship, over at The League, E.D. Kain, with bookend quotations from Chesterton, offers much food for thought, continuing on something that he and others at FPR, and I, have been discussing, on distributism, providing able, fair criticisms of both free-marketeers and economic-interventionists, and, wouldn’t you know, prescribing Distributism — with realistic caveats — as the cure for what ails us.

A delicious sample:

Imagine, if you will, an economy based on localism instead of globalism. Credit unions flourish instead of massive, international banks. The mortgage you purchased is still owned by the bank or credit union that sold it to you. You eat at a restaurant that can be found nowhere else in the world, and purchase groceries at a local grocer who buys his produce from local farmers. Could any thief ever cause so much harm in this scenario? A corrupt businessman or politician could certainly cause a great deal of pain to his fellow citizens in the town or region, but this harm would have a much more difficult time spilling over into adjacent communities. A subprime mortgage scandal confined to one town or county would hardly stop the national or global economy in its tracks.

This is one reason, but certainly not the only reason, that local control and small business and finance must be restored. Big business and big finance especially must find their way to the scrap heaps. As Philip Blond notes,

The final piece of the puzzle is for Conservatives to break with big business. We must end a model in which competition is reduced to a cartel of vast corporations maximising profits by discouraging competitors and minimising wages by joining with the liberal left to encourage mass immigration. A covert alliance between the liberal left and liberal right has destroyed incomes and identity at the bottom of the scale.

A society must be grounded on the basis of good order and social stability. This means that a balance must be struck. When government becomes too centralized, or when capital is so displaced that local communities are no longer self-sufficient then something has gone terribly wrong. The order of things has been replaced with the drive to gather wealth into the hands of the few in the name of economic liberty.

My only quibble lies not specifically with Kain, but with the generally accepted use of “economic liberty,” a term used, I think, to describe something more aptly dubbed “economic libertinism.” I regard liberty as virtue that exists as a mean, between libertinism and coercion; Distributism promotes economic liberty and, thereby, equality, where as capitalism promotes economic libertinism, or only “liberty,” and socialism, “equality.”

Kain concludes,

In short, a few things that might help check the sort of dangerous capitalism and growth of government could be:

1) The advent of guilds to supplant unions and limit corporate power and the spread of national corporations.

2) A return to local finance and procurement.

3) Protection of domestic industry.

4) Return of government functions to the local level and the end to “private” government at a national level.

5) Employee ownership of companies as opposed to a public, stock-based system. Limitations on the public sale of stocks would be necessary, and could be enforced, perhaps, through the guild system. Limitations on the growth of companies beyond agreed upon regions would also be necessary, though I admit such an effort would not be easy. Good, healthy competition must still be fostered.

Essentially, capitalism fails because it is too efficient, too perfect in its implementation, and too devoid of human qualities. Chesterton says it best:“Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”

Indeed, and too many thieves.

[Emphasis in the original.]

AND HOW! Besides, Distributism means an America with better beer!

One Response

  1. […] Nathan reminds me of another benefit of distributism: better beer! That should win some […]

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