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Left Field Here: Distributism - What does everyone think?

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mkregel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 05:46 PM
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Left Field Here: Distributism - What does everyone think?

Also known as distributism and distributionism, distributivism is a political philosophy similar to agrarianism. The means of production should be distributed as widely as possible among the populace; they should neither be hoarded by a oligarchy, nor controlled by the government. Certainly the means of production should not be held by the government in the name of fictitious communal entities, but should be held by individuals in their own hands, or in the case of land, under their own feet. For those projects beyond the scope of an individual or family, a guild system is recommended

I'm all for it - myself! You can count in Dorothy Day and G.K. Chesterton as followers (the latter being the designer of it all.)

What do you think? Here's a great page on the subject

http://mdemarco.web.wesleyan.edu/gkc/distrib/
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cprise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:28 PM
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1. The 'carfree' city concept uses this to an extent
The streets are small (human-scale) and the buildings are 3-4 stories enclosing sizable yards. The interesting thing is that the buildings are mainly residential but tend to have the 1st floors reserved for shops. This tends to keep most of your shopping within a 10 minute walk. Each district is also surrounded by considerable undeveloped land, which could be farms. http://www.carfree.com/district.html

A French auto company called MDI has designed small 100-mi. cars that store energy in the form of highly-compressed air. The manufacturing is organized by franchise: Each factory is kept to a limit in size and must be locally-owned. http://www.theaircar.com/MiniCats.html

There are many people who produce biodiesel fuel for their car right in their garage: http://biodiesel.infopop.cc

What I do not agree with is the notion that production should never be controlled by government. A few industries have an inherent monopolistic quality, and so public accountability is necessary (because private monopolies are accountable to no one). Naturally, this only matters in a democracy.

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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 06:51 PM
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2. Sounds like someone...
took a microeconomics course. Sounds great in theory, but breaks down in practice.

First problem is that there's always someone who doesn't like the rules, and will screw things up. Monopolies, monopsonies, and oligarchies are natural evolutions of uncontrolled markets. Even Adam Smith knew that. Guilds are no better than modern corporations at tending to try to make themselves as anti-competitive as possible.

Second problem is just how are these "guilds" going to come up with the capital to build an offshore drilling rig or semiconductor factory? An auto assembly plant? We're talking billions here.

Way back when, Europe had guilds and they just couldn't finance expansions or new technologies. One answer was the state-sponsored trading companies, capitalized and/or supported by the King. The other answer was the joint stock company, invented by the Dutch to tap into the vast amount of private capital that was just too widely distributed to take into workable partnerships.
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