m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

An Answer for Antoine Valentim

by M. C. DeMarco

[This was a response to "Some of the Problems with Distributism" by Antoine Valentim, which is no longer available on-line.]

First, the political problem of "redistribution" has nothing to do with the viability of Distributivism as an economic system. Distributivism merely states that property should be distributed - it does not take credit for the slow Dark Ages decay that brought about the distributivist system of the Middle Ages, and likewise it need not have a particular stand on how to achieve a distributed economy today.

To borrow a hippie bromide, there is no way to distributism, distributism is the way. I find nothing Bolshevik in repossessing ill-gotten goods; however, it's not the 1800's anymore so there really aren't robber-barons to be divested in the classical way. I believe the most immediate, effective and promising route to distributivism would be to outlaw the vicious legal fiction of "incorporation".

Next, the issue of "hog-scratchers" is also political rather than economic. Any economic system will have its misfits who for whatever reason don't play by the rules or fall on hard times. Capitalism is rife with its "useless eaters", yet governments (and in the past, fraternal or religious organizations) have decided to support those people by non-capitalistic means. A distributivist state could do the same, with the same moral dilemmas, even, as you suggest, letting the hog-scratchers sink into wage-slavery, of all things.

Lastly, distributivism, like other economic systems, is morally loaded. "For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee." Just as one man should not live off the labour of another, a man should not live off the labour of a machine. I can't believe you meant that robot thing seriously, though.

One disturbing thing about your "Problems" is the constant reference to government intervention. I consider modern government intervention in social matters like retirement and unemployment a sign of the decay of society under Capitalism. One reason for replacing Capitalism is this very flaw in it which leads to Socialism and worse.