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Due to the polarization in politics, I have done a lot of pondering and meditating (ponderating? lol) and have found myself led further and further away from the staunch Conservatism I had found myself in since early adulthood in a several areas.. One area is in the realm of economics. 

Last week I stumbled upon a socio-economic theory developed by late 19th/ early 20th Century Catholic thinkers, with two main proponents being GK Chesterson and Dorothy Day (Catholic Workers Movement), called "Distributism". It was refreshing to me and I believe strikes a balance between freedom and social responsibility. Has anyone else here heard of or studied it? What are your thoughts?

For those who haven't, you can read a synopsis of wiki here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributism

and go more in depth here:

http://distributistreview.com/

If and when you have time, thoughts would be appreciated.

 

Edited by BookofMormonLuvr
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5 hours ago, BookofMormonLuvr said:

Do to the polarization in politics, I have done a lot of pondering and meditating (ponderating? lol) and have found myself led further and further away from the staunch Conservatism I had found myself in since early adulthood in a several areas.. One area is in the realm of economics. 

Last week I stumbled upon a socio-economic theory developed by late 19th/ early 20th Century Catholic thinkers, with two main proponents being GK Chesterson and Dorothy Day (Catholic Workers Movement), called "Distributism". It was refreshing to me and I believe strikes a balance between freedom and social responsibility. Has anyone else here heard of or studied it? What are your thoughts?

For those who haven't, you can read a synopsis of wiki here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributism

and go more in depth here:

http://distributistreview.com/

If and when you have time, thoughts would be appreciated.

Interesting topic, but I'm not sure I really see too much difference between capitalism and distributism, so I invite anybody to educate me. 

"This helps support distributism's argument that smaller units, families if possible, ought to be in control of the means of production, rather than the large units typical of modern economies."

In early America this is exactly how capitalism began - inventors such as Ford and Edison started production as a family-based business, and stuff grew from there. When it grew big, it became a system of capitalized companies. 

Distributism promotes the idea of decentralizing ownership. This is what capitalism does. It has provided the most decentralized ownership that has probably ever existed in the history of the world. Anyone in the US can own almost any large business they want - all they have to do is call up a stock broker and buy some stock. This is one of the things that has made capitalism the most successful system in the history of the world - that and being combined with Christian ethics. 

The main problem with capitalism as I see it, is that it really has to be somewhat regulated, or the bullies of the elementary school yard become the bullies of the corporate world, and choke out desirable competition, and even better, new ideas. America is one of the wealthiest countries the world has ever known exactly because of free-market capitalism combined with a Christian-influenced legal system. 

I like some of the distributist ideas, but who is going to be doing "the distributing?" Free market capitalism lets the market determine that - and usually that is the most efficient option available to the market.

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I have read and studied the writings of Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton and found their writings astute and edifying, except when they talk about economics.

To answer your last question, the state appears to me to be responsible for distribution under the system favored by Belloc and Chesterton in the early 20th Century. At this time I prefer the free market. I don't like the expression you used, "free market capitalism", because if there is some kind of legislation favoring capitalism, the market is not free, but manipulated, in favor of those who would make wealth by means of capital. There are three kinds of wealth producing assets: land, labor, capital. I don't see why the state needs to interfere to favor any of these three ways of accumulating the necessities of life. Why should capital be preferred above land or labor?

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6 hours ago, BookofMormonLuvr said:

Due to the polarization in politics, I have done a lot of pondering and meditating (ponderating? lol) and have found myself led further and further away from the staunch Conservatism I had found myself in since early adulthood in a several areas.. One area is in the realm of economics. 

Last week I stumbled upon a socio-economic theory developed by late 19th/ early 20th Century Catholic thinkers, with two main proponents being GK Chesterson and Dorothy Day (Catholic Workers Movement), called "Distributism". It was refreshing to me and I believe strikes a balance between freedom and social responsibility. Has anyone else here heard of or studied it? What are your thoughts?

For those who haven't, you can read a synopsis of wiki here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributism

and go more in depth here:

http://distributistreview.com/

If and when you have time, thoughts would be appreciated.

 

Yes, the real tragedy is that these people thought that it was possible to baptize democratic socialism and give it a new name.

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2 minutes ago, Jim Stiles said:

Yes, the real tragedy is that these people thought that it was possible to baptize democratic socialism and give it a new name.

That's not the conclusions I have come to so far in my reading. It actually advocates decentralizing government as opposed to making government the vehicle of industry (which socialism does).

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16 minutes ago, 3DOP said:

I have read and studied the writings of Hilaire Belloc and G.K. Chesterton and found their writings astute and edifying, except when they talk about economics.

To answer your last question, the state appears to me to be responsible for distribution under the system favored by Belloc and Chesterton in the early 20th Century. At this time I prefer the free market. I don't like the expression you used, "free market capitalism", because if there is some kind of legislation favoring capitalism, the market is not free, but manipulated, in favor of those who would make wealth by means of capital.

From your choice of wording I assume you were talking to me. "Free market" is a description of "free market" forces being allowed to operate in order to choose, sell, & buy products and services. It does not mean the market is not regulated. As long as regulations apply to everyone, the market is still considered "free" but simply is operating within another constraint. In other words if insurance is regulated so that pre-existing conditions cannot be used to determine who can buy health insurance, then all the health insurance companies have to sell their insurance in the market within this "even" playing field. I actually believe the market should be subject to this type of "manipulation" and view that as one of the goals the government should have - to regulate businesses so they are in an even playing field. Without such regulation you get bullies such as RCA who use their economic power to sue, and close distribution channels to startups such as Philo Farnsworth who invented a radio with a picture ie TV, which was a huge threat to RCAs radio empire.

Quote

There are three kinds of wealth producing assets: land, labor, capital. I don't see why the state needs to interfere to favor any of these three ways of accumulating the necessities of life. Why should capital be preferred above land or labor?

It shouldn't. The free market should be allowed to operate to determine the most efficient use of resources, except to the extent that society determines there should be limits on this freedom. Too much freedom might allow someone to buy a prime fishery and destroy it in order to mine a resource or develop buildings, etc. Too much freedom in the labor market may allow companies to fire employees for any reason without repercussion or responsibility. Our system says if your fire someone like this, you at least get to help pay for their unemployment. The Glass-Stegall Act was an example of a regulation in the capital market which probably should have been kept, but was repealed under George W's administration, which probably either led to or contributed to the baking excesses which led to the 2009 crash. There are lots of reasons to place limits on the "freedoms" of the "free market" which I believe are desirable. These usually don't prevent the market from operating in a "free" environment, but do provide additional constraints for it to operate within.

One of the reasons distributionists probably don't like capitalism is that laissez-faire free market policies allow too many excesses, abuses, and are sometimes result in unfair outcomes. Whether you want to call a regulated free market economy free or not, doesn't really matter to me. Yes, regulation "manipulates" the market, but it is supposed to still provide a level playing field for everyone in the market.

What you seem to be talking about is regulation favoring one form of resource over another. That I agree is not a free market, since the market forces themselves are being manipulated. The term "free market capitalism" generally does not imply capital resources are favored by regulation over other resources. It means capital is allowed to flow to whatever resources are needed in the most efficient manner.

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6 hours ago, BookofMormonLuvr said:

That's not the conclusions I have come to so far in my reading. It actually advocates decentralizing government as opposed to making government the vehicle of industry (which socialism does).

Some socialists are in favor of decentralized government and decentralized control of the means of production.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

Edited by Jim Stiles
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10 hours ago, BookofMormonLuvr said:

Due to the polarization in politics, I have done a lot of pondering and meditating (ponderating? lol) and have found myself led further and further away from the staunch Conservatism I had found myself in since early adulthood in a several areas.. One area is in the realm of economics. 

Last week I stumbled upon a socio-economic theory developed by late 19th/ early 20th Century Catholic thinkers, with two main proponents being GK Chesterson and Dorothy Day (Catholic Workers Movement), called "Distributism". It was refreshing to me and I believe strikes a balance between freedom and social responsibility. Has anyone else here heard of or studied it? What are your thoughts?

For those who haven't, you can read a synopsis of wiki here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributism

and go more in depth here:

http://distributistreview.com/

If and when you have time, thoughts would be appreciated.

 

Sounds like an idea which Sojourners would support -- https://sojo.net/ .

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3 hours ago, Jim Stiles said:

Some socialists are in favor of decentralized government and control of the means of production.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

Is that somewhat like Christian Atheists?

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