Friday, June 5, 2015

Distributism - Third Way Politics


A third-way that works.

Hillaire Belloc and GK Chesterton
Hillaire Belloc and GK Chesterton

Distributism is an economic and political philosophy that is an alternative to both capitalism and socialism.

Opposed to laissez-faire capitalism, which distributists argue leads to a concentration of ownership in the hands of a few, and to state-socialism, in which private ownership is denied altogether, distributism was conceived as a genuine Third Way, opposing both the tyranny of the marketplace and the tyranny of the state, by means of a society of owners.
Distributism is an economic system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by as many private owners as possible for the purpose of self-reliance for its citizens.
Distributism is concerned with improving the material lot of the poorest and most disadvantaged. However, unlike socialism, which advocates state ownership of property and the means of production, distributism seeks to devolve or widely distribute that control to individuals within society, rejecting what it saw as the twin evils of plutocracy and bureaucracy.
The ownership of the means of production should be spread as widely as possible among the general populace, rather than being centralised under the control of the state (state socialism) or a few large businesses or wealthy private individuals (laissez-faire capitalism). As Chesterton said, “Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists.”
Some have seen it more as an aspiration, which has been successfully realised in the short term by a commitment to the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity (these being built into financially independent local cooperatives and small family businesses).
Naturally, it follows that Distributism favours the principles of industrial democracy and the cooperative model of business.

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