Distributist future

Posted on October 1, 2011 by


I’ve finally finished Toward a Truly Free Market, by John C. Medaille. It is an excellently readable book, and it did a wonderful job of offering both an introduction into basic economic concepts (that I sorely needed) and an explanation of core distributist policies.

At it’s core, distributism is about structuring society so that capitalism has enough capitalists to function properly. It accomplishes that through the dispersed possession of property — as opposed to the highly-concentrated possession of property that is the natural result of both laissez-faire capitalism and Keynesianism (redistributive capitalism, related to mercantilism). Laissez-faire capitalism results in the sort of dramatic and politically-unpalatable boom/bust cycles that terrorized our ancestors. Keynesianism attempts to mask these booms and busts through redistributive policies (to stabilize incomes) and the facilitation of debt-based economies.

Distributism, according to Mr. Medaille, offers the following steps for an end to the madness:

  1. Re-moralize the markets. Reinstate the consideration of justice and ethics in economics. Discourage usury and rent-seeking, while promoting the living wage.
  2. Re-localize the economy. Economies are created to support local communities, not to promote globalization.
  3. Re-capitalize the community. The poor, the middle class, the small farm, and the small businessman.
  4. Re-invigorate and re-localize the political order. Devolve power, and the collection of taxes, down to the lower rungs of government.

He warns convincingly that if we do not act soon, the only end result will be slavery. And slavery, particularly debt-based slavery, becomes quickly entrenched.