Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So, you ask, what's all this about economics and social ethics lately?

A few things:

0. I'm not a communist! I'm a capitalist... with qualms. My tentative thesis: capitalism rests on the free-market mechanism (FMM), but is self-defeating as soon as it is applied in a necessarily limiting social context (i.e., capitalism requires market-external intervention), whereas distributism protects the FMM but in a radically different form (i.e., the ecological analogue of 'distributed cognition/processing'). Since both theories consist in the FMM, there cannot be a clash between them, unless/until the former rejects the structure of the latter in favor of politically abetted concentration, a concentration which denatures the 'neural' tissue of the FMM. Capitalism emphasizes the mechanism of the FMM at the expense of a sustainable structure, while distributism emphasizes the structure of how the FMM can persist.

1. I don't capitalize "distributism". It's too tendentious/pugnacious, otherwise. Marxism, Darwinism, Georgism, etc. Okay. But let's stick to socialism, capitalism, distirbutism, institutionalism, solidarism, etc.

1a. Georgism and distributism, dear cousins!

2. Even mentioning "distribution" scares otherwise receptive conservative/traditionalist minds, so distributism needs a new name. I propose: "[Darwinian] niche capitalism" or "radically parallel-process capitalism" or "ecomodular capitalism".

3. I'm not a bought-and-sold distributist. Not yet, anyway. I really am just reading in all directions, and basically making up for a mediocre economic education along the way. I'm a big fan of the free market and, as an American, I'm hugely biased towards capitalism. I am gravely dissatisfied, however, with the historically regular and increasingly manifest link between "capital concentration" and "political centralization" (and vice versa!) If, however, the Magisterium indicates that neoclassical liberalism (NL) is heresy, let NL burn.

4. As John Médaille argues, economic reform is only possible after political reform, and political structure follows economic dynamics. The rise of federal hegemony over states' rights is a parallel development of the corporatist centralization of capital in the USA. Likewise, the dismantling of federal debt and welfare statism can only come by (re)distributing the political power to the states, cities, and boroughs of the USA. In turn, once these local (!) powers regain their power, they will regain their revenue responsibility in the republic. Away with kicking problems upstairs to Uncle Sam!

4a. There is a crucial link between states' rights and truly free markets, since (classical) federalism is just political distributism. This is why I believe the "Austrian–distributist" debate among Catholics is a new kind of De Auxiliis for the Church. If they are ever going to find each other (as kissing cousins, indeed), Austrianism and distributism will do so in the domain of states' rights, at least in the USA.

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