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Thread: Economic/Political models

  1. #31
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post

    Ok, but I can do that today, in today’s current economic system. I can lend all the money I want to whomever I want, no one is stopping me. Or wait, does your Distributism model REQUIRE that I use my money to fund someone’s mortgage? What if I WANT to keep my cash in the mattress, do gubmnt goons force me to lend it out to my neighbor?

    But see, I dont have enough freed up money that I want to lend to one risky endeavor, a mortgagee. That is why I (theoretically) organize with others into a financial lending institution to spread my risk around to many mortgagees. That is collectivism at its finest, me contributing a small percentage and owning a small percentage of the lending institution. I guess your model would not allow that. Seems silly to me.
    OK, I worked 12 hours yesterday at a Pharma client's headquarters and then drove 5 hrs from Boston to home, and I haven't had my coffee yet, so I'm not going to come up with any intelligent arguments on my own yet, but this is a great article--"Distributism Is the Future" from The American Conservative. The #1 thing I want to impress is that it's the MEANS OF PRODUCTION that is being distributed with Distributism, NOT PRIVATE PROPERTY. Key quotes:

    As Chesterton put it in The Outline of Sanity: “The truth is that what we call Capitalism ought to be called Proletarianism. The point of it is not that some people have capital, but that most people only have wages because they do not have capital.”

    When “Chesterbelloc”—as G.B. Shaw named the pair—talked about property, their focus was on capital goods, not consumption goods. They would not be impressed by arguments showing that, while American workers may be totally dispossessed of the means of production, at least they have 40-inch LCD televisions and smart phones.

    distributism has a conservative aspect: it posits as a laudable end not some utopian experiment in untested social arrangements but a socio-economic system that we already know is workable, from both historical and contemporary evidence. Furthermore, because workers themselves are the owners of capital goods, they are less likely to be forced to abandon their communities and extended families in order to keep a good job. There of course may be efficiency trade-offs in choosing to stay put rather than moving to some distant but more profitable location to find some work. But under distributism, workers would evaluate these trade-offs for themselves, rather than having some global corporate entity send them, willy-nilly, thousands of miles from their family and community—or finding themselves suddenly unemployed, as the modern corporation is loath to give its workers even a moment’s notice before they are escorted out of their workplace and onto the street by corporate security.

    I suggest the issue comes down to one of vision: do we see the common person as essentially a passive being, happiest giving up control of his or her own life to corporate and government experts, who will care for us with benefit packages and guaranteed levels of consumption goods? Or is the ideal for each person to exercise judgment over his or her life’s course to the maximum extent possible, accepting the risks that go along with independence? If the latter, then shifting our legal framework to enable more people to live independent lives is a risk worth taking.


    I'll be back after a couple of cups of coffee.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    OK, I worked 12 hours yesterday at a Pharma client's headquarters and then drove 5 hrs from Boston to home, and I haven't had my coffee yet, so I'm not going to come up with any intelligent arguments on my own yet, but this is a great article--"Distributism Is the Future" from The American Conservative. The #1 thing I want to impress is that it's the MEANS OF PRODUCTION that is being distributed with Distributism, NOT PRIVATE PROPERTY. Key quotes:

    As Chesterton put it in The Outline of Sanity: “The truth is that what we call Capitalism ought to be called Proletarianism. The point of it is not that some people have capital, but that most people only have wages because they do not have capital.”

    When “Chesterbelloc”—as G.B. Shaw named the pair—talked about property, their focus was on capital goods, not consumption goods. They would not be impressed by arguments showing that, while American workers may be totally dispossessed of the means of production, at least they have 40-inch LCD televisions and smart phones.

    distributism has a conservative aspect: it posits as a laudable end not some utopian experiment in untested social arrangements but a socio-economic system that we already know is workable, from both historical and contemporary evidence. Furthermore, because workers themselves are the owners of capital goods, they are less likely to be forced to abandon their communities and extended families in order to keep a good job. There of course may be efficiency trade-offs in choosing to stay put rather than moving to some distant but more profitable location to find some work. But under distributism, workers would evaluate these trade-offs for themselves, rather than having some global corporate entity send them, willy-nilly, thousands of miles from their family and community—or finding themselves suddenly unemployed, as the modern corporation is loath to give its workers even a moment’s notice before they are escorted out of their workplace and onto the street by corporate security.

    I suggest the issue comes down to one of vision: do we see the common person as essentially a passive being, happiest giving up control of his or her own life to corporate and government experts, who will care for us with benefit packages and guaranteed levels of consumption goods? Or is the ideal for each person to exercise judgment over his or her life’s course to the maximum extent possible, accepting the risks that go along with independence? If the latter, then shifting our legal framework to enable more people to live independent lives is a risk worth taking.


    I'll be back after a couple of cups of coffee.
    How is the means of production not private property? Somebody owns all those stamp presses, excavators and ATMs. Would some giant version of the SBA do the distributing from the current owners to the new ones? Would the new owners have the right to buy each other out or employ each other on an at-will basis? What is to prevent, over time, the successful small scale capitalists from becoming large scale capitalists? Would this system require periodic re-leveling or would the tax code be used to prune back the people who did too well?

    Would sole proprietors or workers collectives have the scope and capital to produce the smartphones or attack submarines or liability insurance we need?

  3. #33
    Senior Member Williamsmith's Avatar
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    Just one question I would have Of prospective distributists. Is it possible given the explosion of population to meet the expectations that “economy of scale” has created having gone to big agribusiness.....or any business monoplolies for that matter? When prioritizing “small scale and family business” how does one continue to support a population that has basically erupted as a result of capitalism?

    I understand that Catherine is exploring a third option....not capitalism and not socialism/ communism and more importantly not a middle ground between the two. It seems to me to be a third option that does not lie between but tries to exist separately. Not in the governments hand and not in the elites hand. How that works...I must admit to shrugging my shoulders but I see examples from time to time....like small scale micro farms using self sustaining permaculture. I actually was on a path in that direction before deciding it was easier to sell my labor to get ahead.

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ultralight View Post
    Capitalist apologetics! Defend the faith!
    But thatís the beauty of capitalism! It doesnít require faith in the competence of government or the benevolence of our fellow man to work. I would much rather stake my economic future on the billions of daily decisions being freely made than trust some elite backed up by a police apparatus to decide my best interests for me.

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