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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Get Acquainted With Distributism

Advertisement For Nankin Mills, A Ford Village Industry

There is more to the world than Capitalism and Socialism.
What vicious lack of ingenuity leads most of us dull and laggard thinkers to conceive of the vasty universe as subject to a mere 2 economic realms?

The American Conservative:
... Hilaire Belloc [and]... G.K. Chesterton, couldn’t have agreed more, and they both directed much of their energies into disparaging what they deemed to be the “Servile State,” an economic system whereby an unfree majority of nonowners work for the pleasure of a free minority of owners.

Belloc and Chesterton were supporters of distributism. Distributism is not a form of socialism or communism. Rather, it envisions an economy with the widest use of private productive property. Distributism is best viewed as a humane microcapitalism. While the American version of it is found in Jefferson’s agrarian society, the Russian version of it is found in Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “democracy of small places.” Belloc and Chesterton were not opposed to capitalism per se, but they saw unrestrained capitalism to tend toward state-sustained monopolies. When Chesterton quipped, “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists,” he had in mind a robust economy of small businesses and family farms.

The pastoral ideal of village and farm runs through the writings of many prominent Catholic literary figures. What does one think J.R.R. Tolkien was up to when he gave us those ecoguardians of the forest, the Ents, in his Lord of the Rings trilogy? The smokestack, assembly line, and A-Bomb nauseated Tolkien. What was the Ring itself but greed and power and audacity all rolled up into one formidable symbol? The only industrial power in Middle Earth is Mordor, that vast wasteland, where “nothing lived, not even the leprous growths that feed on rottenness." ... 
... Middle Earth fans may not recognize it, but Tolkien was providing a critique of modernity...

The article is by 
Arthur W. Hunt III is associate professor of communications at The University of Tennessee at Martin. His new book is Surviving Technopolis: Essays on Finding Balance in Our New Man-made Environments.

I believe this was also a part of the impetus behind Henry Ford's attempts at dispersed and small Village Industries that relied upon water power, and of which only a few examples still exist around Michigan.

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