Distributism:A Catholic System of Economics
#31
(08-28-2009, 10:32 AM)CollegeCatholic Wrote: Why do you want to teach them the basic tenets of distributism? 

I think you're better off having them study the social encyclicals (Rerum Novarum, Quadresiga [sp] Annos, and Centesimus Annos), and go from there.

I would also suggest that the kids learn actual economics before they start learning about economic systems (mid-way through high school to the end  is best, if you ask me).

It seems that I was unclear:  this is NOT for my students, but for me personally.  I need it explained in 8th/9th grade terms because of my own lack of education in this field...
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#32
(08-28-2009, 10:37 AM)Pilgrim Wrote:
(08-28-2009, 10:32 AM)CollegeCatholic Wrote: Why do you want to teach them the basic tenets of distributism? 

I think you're better off having them study the social encyclicals (Rerum Novarum, Quadresiga [sp] Annos, and Centesimus Annos), and go from there.

I would also suggest that the kids learn actual economics before they start learning about economic systems (mid-way through high school to the end  is best, if you ask me).

It seems that I was unclear:  this is NOT for my students, but for me personally.  I need it explained in 8th/9th grade terms because of my own lack of education in this field...

Oh, lol.  Sorry.

PM sent as to how to get to Belloc.
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#33
(08-28-2009, 10:42 AM)CollegeCatholic Wrote:
(08-28-2009, 10:37 AM)Pilgrim Wrote:
(08-28-2009, 10:32 AM)CollegeCatholic Wrote: Why do you want to teach them the basic tenets of distributism? 

I think you're better off having them study the social encyclicals (Rerum Novarum, Quadresiga [sp] Annos, and Centesimus Annos), and go from there.

I would also suggest that the kids learn actual economics before they start learning about economic systems (mid-way through high school to the end  is best, if you ask me).

It seems that I was unclear:  this is NOT for my students, but for me personally.  I need it explained in 8th/9th grade terms because of my own lack of education in this field...

Oh, lol.  Sorry.

PM sent as to how to get to Belloc.

No problem.  Given that I'm a teacher, it was a natural mistake when coupled with my post's lack of clarity...  :)

Thanks for the PM!
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#34
(08-28-2009, 10:17 AM)Pilgrim Wrote: From what I gather from the above replies, Belloc has been removed from the boards.
So we believe...
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#35
(08-28-2009, 09:37 AM)Rosarium Wrote:
(08-28-2009, 09:24 AM)dgoodmaniii Wrote: How do you figure?  How can a capitalist society implement, say, that the just wage *cannot* be set by the market?  (RN 63; QA, p. 36; CA 15).  Or that some industries not only might, but *ought* to be owned by the state?  (QA, p. 55)  Or that, while ownership of private property is a right, the use of that property is subject to state control?  (RN 25; QA, p. 24-25; CA 30)  Or that free competition is not a just way to run the economic affairs of a nation?  (QA, p. 44)  Just for starters.
It is all about free will. Capitalism leaves most things to free will. A Catholic can live as a Catholic in a capitalist based society.

If you are going to cite things, please do so in a way I can follow. What is RN and SQ and CA besides Registered Nurse and Quality Assurance and California?

Given that we're talking about social teaching, I thought it was clear that RN would be Rerum Novarum, QA would be Quadragesimo Anno, and CA would be Centesimus Annus.  In any case, those are the references.

Quote:Yes, some people do. If one is called unCatholic or a heretic for not accepting distributism, then it is raised to a religious ideal.

And no, economics is not essential.
According to the social encyclicals, Catholic social teaching is "an essential part of the Christian message," as taught in Centesimus Annus.  How that social teaching is implemented, of course, is not, but distributism is simply an attempt to implement it.  Benedict XVI agreed in Caritas in Veritate, holding that Catholic social teaching "s a particular dimension of this proclamation [of Christ]: it is a service to the truth which sets us free."  CiV 9.  That's why it's inconsistent when traditionalists are capitalists; because while Catholic teaching on other matters is so vehemently (and rightly) adhered to, to be a capitalist the teaching on social and economic matters must be ignored.

You're wrong that distributist principles have never been implemented.  As mentioned earlier, in the discussion of corporatism, a great deal of what was implemented in interbellum Austria and Portugal was distributist in nature.  The present-day economies of Emilia-Romagna in Italy and the Mondragon Cooperative in the Basque country are also quite distributist.  All have been extremely successful.  For an overview of a work detailing many examples of real-life distributism at work, look at Jobs of Our Own.

The Distributist Review is replete with such examples; you'll find a lot more detail about Emilia-Romagna and Mondragon there, as well.  John Medaille is the author to look for; he's an excellent theorist, but he really shines when he goes into practical matters, more than any other author on the Review.

Quote:Only personal freedom to do what one must is essential.
So you'd be okay with a socialist government, then, as long as they let you go to Mass?

Quote:Any system imposed is no better than communism. By looking at what a distributist society would be, and how much would have to change, someone would have to get involved to change it. Yes, they'd think they were doing good, but then again, everyone who violates the rights of others believes that.
All systems are imposed.  My government imposes a mongrel capitalism on me right now; does that mean that it's no better than Stalin?

Yes, laws would be required to form a distributist society.  But that's not the same thing as saying that thugs with submachine guns would run around taking things from rich people and handing them over to ghetto-dwellers.  There are *lots* of proposals for how a distributist society could be implemented; *all* of them are extremely gradual, and *none* of them involve immediate or compelled confiscation of property.

Again, hyperbole can be fun, but it doesn't add much to a rational discussion.

Quote:[I]n history, most Catholic societies were monarchies.
Define "most."  By population and land area, you're probably correct, but you're ignoring a lot of nuance.  For example, if you'd told a twelfth-century Catholic king that he had a right to force every parent in his country to send their children to government-supported institutions for six hours a day nine months out of the year, where they would be required to imbibe instruction at state expense independent of the influence of the Church, he would have laughed at you.  However, our republican governments take such power, and many more, for granted.  He also had very little power, as a king, compared to our current governments.

In any case, what's your point?  Chesterton was a vocally democratic distributist; Belloc was a vocally monarchist one; most distributist and corporatist thinkers have been, ideologically, neither.

Quote:I think the government should do as little as possible. The governments of the world have shown themselves to be most inefficient. You are describing communism here, and in the next sentence. I know distributism isn't communism, but implementing it would be no different.
Let's see; communism involves an egalitarian, classless, or stateless society in which an amorphous "people" owns the means of production.  It advocates the establishment of a communist society by violent revolution.  Distributism, on the other hand, recognizes distinctions in level of wealth; social class; the vital role of the state in a well-ordered society; and individual families owning the means of production.  It advocates the establishment of a distributist society by gradual, non-violent reform.  It sounds like distributism is almost the antithesis of communism, rather than anything like it.

Quote:The question remains, exactly how would this be implemented without committing the same crimes as the communists?
There are far too many practical proposals to go over them all here, and the implementation would vary greatly from place to place according to local circumstances.  However, our governments already peacefully influence social development through the use of tax incentives, both positive and negative, which seems like a good place to start.  Requiring everyone to pay for public utilities in the proportion that they actually use them would be a good step, too, most especially the "freeways," which are the only thing making it possible for big, capitalist businesses like Wal-Mart to stay in business.  See Free Markets, Free-ways, and Falling Bridges.  Also, stopping the ways that our government actively helps big business is a great idea.  Subsidizing Wal-mart is a good example, not to mention the trillions of dollars of government bailouts that we've wasted over the last year.

Notice none of these involve AK-47s and roving distribution squads.  If you ever do find a proposal that does, however, please let me know; I'd like to refute it myself, as would every other distributist on the planet.

Praise be to Christ the King!
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#36
(08-28-2009, 11:38 AM)dgoodmaniii Wrote:
Quote:Only personal freedom to do what one must is essential.
So you'd be okay with a socialist government, then, as long as they let you go to Mass?

Socialism is the only economic system condemned by the Church, and given your interest in this, I'm going to assume you know that. You are stooping to personal attacks now, which is even more counter productive to any discussion.

As far as distributism and communism, there is no way to impose distributism on a pre-existing society without cooperation from everyone involved.

I know distributism isn't communism, but to impose it on the government of say the USA, it would be no different from the imposition of communism on Russia or China.

Also, your examples fail. The USA has had big businesses way before government assistance like you mention.

Face it, distributism is possibly a good idea, but it relies on on the will of the people and it cannot be imposed on any existing system without violating the law of God.

I'm not arguing for or against distributism; I don't really care about economic systems, but the claims it is "Catholic" or somehow desirable to impose. It however does not offer the freedoms I prefer in the government (if the government is going to be the one controlling it), so I'd prefer the government keeping its nose out of private businesses at all times.

This is why many Catholics don't identify as distributists; because it is only an ideal and impractical for imposition. If one wants to start a new state, then maybe it can be done.
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#37
(08-28-2009, 11:38 AM)dgoodmaniii Wrote:
(08-28-2009, 09:37 AM)Rosarium Wrote:
(08-28-2009, 09:24 AM)dgoodmaniii Wrote: How do you figure?  How can a capitalist society implement, say, that the just wage *cannot* be set by the market?  (RN 63; QA, p. 36; CA 15).  Or that some industries not only might, but *ought* to be owned by the state?  (QA, p. 55)  Or that, while ownership of private property is a right, the use of that property is subject to state control?  (RN 25; QA, p. 24-25; CA 30)  Or that free competition is not a just way to run the economic affairs of a nation?  (QA, p. 44)  Just for starters.
It is all about free will. Capitalism leaves most things to free will. A Catholic can live as a Catholic in a capitalist based society.

If you are going to cite things, please do so in a way I can follow. What is RN and SQ and CA besides Registered Nurse and Quality Assurance and California?

Given that we're talking about social teaching, I thought it was clear that RN would be Rerum Novarum, QA would be Quadragesimo Anno, and CA would be Centesimus Annus.  In any case, those are the references.

Quote:Yes, some people do. If one is called unCatholic or a heretic for not accepting distributism, then it is raised to a religious ideal.

And no, economics is not essential.
According to the social encyclicals, Catholic social teaching is "an essential part of the Christian message," as taught in Centesimus Annus.  How that social teaching is implemented, of course, is not, but distributism is simply an attempt to implement it.  Benedict XVI agreed in Caritas in Veritate, holding that Catholic social teaching "s a particular dimension of this proclamation [of Christ]: it is a service to the truth which sets us free."  CiV 9.  That's why it's inconsistent when traditionalists are capitalists; because while Catholic teaching on other matters is so vehemently (and rightly) adhered to, to be a capitalist the teaching on social and economic matters must be ignored.

You're wrong that distributist principles have never been implemented.  As mentioned earlier, in the discussion of corporatism, a great deal of what was implemented in interbellum Austria and Portugal was distributist in nature.  The present-day economies of Emilia-Romagna in Italy and the Mondragon Cooperative in the Basque country are also quite distributist.  All have been extremely successful.  For an overview of a work detailing many examples of real-life distributism at work, look at Jobs of Our Own.

The Distributist Review is replete with such examples; you'll find a lot more detail about Emilia-Romagna and Mondragon there, as well.  John Medaille is the author to look for; he's an excellent theorist, but he really shines when he goes into practical matters, more than any other author on the Review.

Quote:Only personal freedom to do what one must is essential.
So you'd be okay with a socialist government, then, as long as they let you go to Mass?

Quote:Any system imposed is no better than communism. By looking at what a distributist society would be, and how much would have to change, someone would have to get involved to change it. Yes, they'd think they were doing good, but then again, everyone who violates the rights of others believes that.
All systems are imposed.  My government imposes a mongrel capitalism on me right now; does that mean that it's no better than Stalin?

Yes, laws would be required to form a distributist society.  But that's not the same thing as saying that thugs with submachine guns would run around taking things from rich people and handing them over to ghetto-dwellers.  There are *lots* of proposals for how a distributist society could be implemented; *all* of them are extremely gradual, and *none* of them involve immediate or compelled confiscation of property.

Again, hyperbole can be fun, but it doesn't add much to a rational discussion.

Quote:[I]n history, most Catholic societies were monarchies.
Define "most."  By population and land area, you're probably correct, but you're ignoring a lot of nuance.  For example, if you'd told a twelfth-century Catholic king that he had a right to force every parent in his country to send their children to government-supported institutions for six hours a day nine months out of the year, where they would be required to imbibe instruction at state expense independent of the influence of the Church, he would have laughed at you.  However, our republican governments take such power, and many more, for granted.  He also had very little power, as a king, compared to our current governments.

In any case, what's your point?  Chesterton was a vocally democratic distributist; Belloc was a vocally monarchist one; most distributist and corporatist thinkers have been, ideologically, neither.

Quote:I think the government should do as little as possible. The governments of the world have shown themselves to be most inefficient. You are describing communism here, and in the next sentence. I know distributism isn't communism, but implementing it would be no different.
Let's see; communism involves an egalitarian, classless, or stateless society in which an amorphous "people" owns the means of production.  It advocates the establishment of a communist society by violent revolution.  Distributism, on the other hand, recognizes distinctions in level of wealth; social class; the vital role of the state in a well-ordered society; and individual families owning the means of production.  It advocates the establishment of a distributist society by gradual, non-violent reform.  It sounds like distributism is almost the antithesis of communism, rather than anything like it.

Quote:The question remains, exactly how would this be implemented without committing the same crimes as the communists?
There are far too many practical proposals to go over them all here, and the implementation would vary greatly from place to place according to local circumstances.  However, our governments already peacefully influence social development through the use of tax incentives, both positive and negative, which seems like a good place to start.  Requiring everyone to pay for public utilities in the proportion that they actually use them would be a good step, too, most especially the "freeways," which are the only thing making it possible for big, capitalist businesses like Wal-Mart to stay in business.  See Free Markets, Free-ways, and Falling Bridges.  Also, stopping the ways that our government actively helps big business is a great idea.  Subsidizing Wal-mart is a good example, not to mention the trillions of dollars of government bailouts that we've wasted over the last year.

Notice none of these involve AK-47s and roving distribution squads.  If you ever do find a proposal that does, however, please let me know; I'd like to refute it myself, as would every other distributist on the planet.

Praise be to Christ the King!


What can you tell me about this Basque company?  I seem to remember someone posting on them around here before and it turned out they were engaging in anti-competitive behavior related to who they gave discounts to that would violate US anti-trust laws.  There was also some question about whether they were getting tax breaks unavailable to others, and also whether they were really "self managed" or actually managed through a huge board of directors. 

Are you aware of these questsions? 
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#38
(08-28-2009, 12:20 PM)Rosarium Wrote: Socialism is the only economic system condemned by the Church, and given your interest in this, I'm going to assume you know that. You are stooping to personal attacks now, which is even more counter productive to any discussion.

I apologize if you felt insulted; I had no intention of personally attacking you.  I was just trying to show that what you said led to conclusions that I didn't think you'd agree with.  Namely, you clearly wouldn't be okay with a socialist government even if it let you do what was necessary for your salvation; I know this, because you are clearly a faithful Catholic.  Therefore, you shouldn't just accept any government if it lets you do what was necessary for your salvation.

Also, you're wrong; capitalism has also been condemned, because its foundational principles have been condemned.  I've cited to several of those condemnations already; you've ignored them, instead insisting that "imposing" distributism would be the same as imposing communism.  In so doing, you've also ignored what I said about implementing a distributist economy within current government structures.

Quote:Also, your examples fail. The USA has had big businesses way before government assistance like you mention.

Yes, we had big businesses before Wal-Mart.  But how does that make them fail?  I'm just saying that we should stop supporting big business, not that big business is impossible without support.

Do you have anything at all to say regarding the Church's condemnation of capitalism's principles, or about the innumerable ways of implementing distributism without the violent revolution of communism?

Praise be to Christ the King!
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#39
+AMDG

(08-28-2009, 12:22 PM)epalinurus Wrote: What can you tell me about this Basque company?  I seem to remember someone posting on them around here before and it turned out they were engaging in anti-competitive behavior related to who they gave discounts to that would violate US anti-trust laws.  There was also some question about whether they were getting tax breaks unavailable to others, and also whether they were really "self managed" or actually managed through a huge board of directors. 

Are you aware of these questsions? 

Google is your friend.  So is scribd, which will give you a detailed document regarding Mondragon's organization and operation.

Still, it's quite possible that Mondragon's business model violates US anti-trust laws; but it's not bound by US anti-trust laws, which are almost entirely useless anyway.  (Can anyone name a significant large business prevented from exercising oligopolistic power by our antitrust laws since they broke up AT&T?)  However, they are certainly worker-managed, as some of the links available will show clearly.  As to whether they get tax breaks, I'd say that they ought to, as they're helping workers become proprietors rather than propertyless wage-slaves or dependent upon government largesse without doing anything productive.  I personally would be more concerned if they *weren't* getting tax breaks than if they were.

Praise be to Christ the King!
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#40
Quote: What can you tell me about this Basque company?  I seem to remember someone posting on them around here before and it turned out they were engaging in anti-competitive behavior related to who they gave discounts to that would violate US anti-trust laws.  There was also some question about whether they were getting tax breaks unavailable to others, and also whether they were really "self managed" or actually managed through a huge board of directors. 
I asked those questions.  It appears that it is all true.  So my points stand.

1.  This company is a leech and a parasite.  It is utilizing government resources (e.g. roads) without fully paying for it (tax breaks).  If every company adopts this model, then how can this work, since there is no host left over to suck blood from?

2.  This company is a monopoly.  Monopolies are usually guaranteed a profit, though it comes from at the expense of consumers.  However in this case being a monopoly doesn't appear to be enough;  they need tax breaks.  So all the "success" stories you hear about this company, keep in mind it is a monopoly.  If we get rid of our anti-competitive laws in the U.S., does that mean other companies will also be allowed to monopolize also?

3.  The "worker directed" governance is just a feel good phrase.  There is no difference between how this company is run, and how worker owned businesses are run in a capitalist system.  This company is run by a board of directors.

My big question was why don't we just promote worker ownership in companies instead of pusing for all this government control?  What is the difference between a worker owned company in a capitalist system (I gave the example of PCS in Canada) and Mondragon?  Actually we know, Mondragon needs government tax breaks and a monopoly in order to survive.

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