no third solution

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On Distributism

January 16th, 2009

I can sympathize with the Distributionist ideology, having been fortunate enough to have read Hillaire Belloc’s The Servile State in graduate school. Belloc examines the power struggle of the 18th and 19th centuries in England, but the overarching theme remains the same. There are few material differences between the State-granted privelege that caused the commons crisis then, and the State-granted priveleges to which John Medaillle alludes in Distributism, the Wave of the Future

The Distributist, however, know instinctively that [big businesses] are too big to succeed, or at least succeed without massive government support. We knew instinctively that the claimed “economies of scale” were in fact dis-economies covered up by power, privilege, and subsidy. There has been, for 100 years, a vast body of literature on why this is so, but is a literature normally absent from the curriculum of most schools of economics and unavailable to most of the public.

Medaille favorably cites Kevin Carson’s Industrial Policy: New Wine in Old Bottles, which I’m ashamed to admit, I barely glanced at. The failure of the current economy, Carson suggests, is due to the fact that the old production-push-distribution models barely worked, even in the “best” of times:

[E]ven when everyone maxed out their credit cards and tapped into their home equity to replace everything they owned every five years. And we’ll never see that kind of demand again. So there’s no getting around the fact that a major portion of existing plant and equipment will be rust in a few years.

This is the nexus of State-capitalism, inflationary monetary policy, and teh dread malinvestment which is a necessary consequence of the latter, and insofar as the two are inextricably wed, the former as well.

no third solution

Blogging about liberty, anarchy, economics and politics