Distributism

 :: General :: Theory

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Distributism

Post by RedSun on Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:56 pm

I've recently been reading about distributism, and a lot of distributist ideas seem quite good, such as the guild system, subsidiarity, &c. They're also big fans of cooperatives, so not as reactionary as I'd first thought. What are your opinions on distributism?

_________________
'Make the question of the people a question of the nation; then the question of the nation will become the question of the people!'
--Vladimir Lenin
avatar
RedSun
_________________________
_________________________

Tendency : Revolutionary Syndicalist
Posts : 246
Reputation : 143
Join date : 2011-11-05
Location : Canada

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:09 pm

Distributism is basically an overtly religious (specifically Catholic) form of market socialism, though it's far less developed relative to other conceptions of market socialism. For example, its theoreticians don't seem to understand the importance socializing the means of production and finance has for stabilizing the model.

My view of distributism is that, like market socialism, it fails to achieve remunerative justice and production exclusively for use. Unlike market socialism, however, it is somewhat theocratic—which is troubling for a variety of reasons.

_________________
RSF Executive Committee (Chairman)
"The dogma of human equality is no part of Communism . . . the formula of Communism: 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs', would be nonsense, if abilities were equal."
—J. B. S. Haldane Hammer Sickle

"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
—Mikhail Bakunin Red Star
avatar
Celtiberian
________________________
________________________

Tendency : Revolutionary Syndicalist
Posts : 1523
Reputation : 1615
Join date : 2011-04-04
Age : 30
Location : Florida

http://www.wix.com/executivecommittee/home

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by RedSun on Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:29 pm

Alright (although I'd say less that market socialism inherently fails to achieve remunerative justice and more that market socialists have failed to address the issue).
Regarding the related topic of the guild system: do you know how this is intended to work and do you consider it a good idea?

_________________
'Make the question of the people a question of the nation; then the question of the nation will become the question of the people!'
--Vladimir Lenin
avatar
RedSun
_________________________
_________________________

Tendency : Revolutionary Syndicalist
Posts : 246
Reputation : 143
Join date : 2011-11-05
Location : Canada

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by Celtiberian on Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:40 pm

RedSun wrote:Alright (although I'd say less that market socialism inherently fails to achieve remunerative justice and more that market socialists have failed to address the issue).

Market socialist theoreticians, in my experience, consider the communist conception of remunerative justice to be infeasible, illegitimate, or both. So they generally are aware of the issue, but dismiss it.

Regarding the related topic of the guild system: do you know how this is intended to work and do you consider it a good idea?

It is my understanding that guilds were a sort of proto-union system established by medieval artisans and merchants. I think unions serve an important purpose within capitalist market economies, but they aren't above criticism.

_________________
RSF Executive Committee (Chairman)
"The dogma of human equality is no part of Communism . . . the formula of Communism: 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs', would be nonsense, if abilities were equal."
—J. B. S. Haldane Hammer Sickle

"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
—Mikhail Bakunin Red Star
avatar
Celtiberian
________________________
________________________

Tendency : Revolutionary Syndicalist
Posts : 1523
Reputation : 1615
Join date : 2011-04-04
Age : 30
Location : Florida

http://www.wix.com/executivecommittee/home

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by starryplough on Sat Mar 17, 2012 3:20 am

A load of catholic reactionary rubbish that would recreate a pre-capitalist society. Pure reaction.

starryplough
___________________________
___________________________

Tendency : Maoist
Posts : 7
Reputation : 4
Join date : 2012-03-17
Age : 26

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by Modgardener on Sun May 13, 2012 1:07 pm

In principle distributism looks good, and elements can be incorperated into a socialist society. The only problem as starryplough has commented is a society completely based on distributism it could lead to a pre-capitalist society and would do very little to eradicate greed and self interest from society.
avatar
Modgardener
___________________________
___________________________

Tendency : Ecosocialist with syndicalist tendencies
Posts : 67
Reputation : 66
Join date : 2012-05-11
Age : 54
Location : South West England

http://rickheyse.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by Socialist Warrior on Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:24 am

Distributism has the same flaws and inefficiencies as capitalism, for it still must retain an intermediary capitalist "middle man" between the consumer and state. In the distributist system, autonomous guilds would still require an overseer to make sure employers were not abusing their privileges and that they were not producing poor quality products. This is wasteful when the state itself can be the employer, produce its own goods, and make sure things are functioning well without the use of middle men.

_________________
avatar
Socialist Warrior
___________________________
___________________________

Tendency : The Juche Idea
Posts : 16
Reputation : 16
Join date : 2013-01-10
Location : England

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by easttnskin on Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:23 am

reasonradionetwork.com/20111201/the-orthodox-nationalist-matt-johnson-on-the-antipodean-hour%E2%80%94distributism

While Distributism is not perfect by any means, it was still a very revolutionary concept for Christian socialized economics. I find it to be very similar to Mutualism. I think, had it been perused into actual implementation, it would have become more socialized, rather than revert back towards capitalism.

_________________
autonomousnationalistnetwork.wordpress.com
avatar
easttnskin
___________________
___________________

Tendency : National-Anarchism/Christian Nationalism
Posts : 11
Reputation : 5
Join date : 2013-02-01
Location : Knoxville, TN

http://autonomousnationalistnetwork.wordpress.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by Celtiberian on Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:25 am

easttnskin wrote:While Distributism is not perfect by any means, it was still a very revolutionary concept for Christian socialized economics. I find it to be very similar to Mutualism. I think, had it been perused into actual implementation, it would have become more socialized, rather than revert back towards capitalism.

Certain conceptions of distributism are more reactionary than others. G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc were the first to incorporate worker cooperatives into the model—which were previously associated primarily with the socialist and communist tradition—and represented the more radical faction. Still, I wouldn't even say the Chestertonian school shares much in common with mutualism because it doesn't contain any instrument by which to ensure a more egalitarian distribution of the social product. In addition to providing affordable credit to worker collectives, Proudhon's Bank of the People was to serve as a depot wherein workers would exchange products according to the socially necessary labor time required to produce them. Mutualism is also the product of a progressive, secular Weltanschauung, which further separates it from distributism.

As a consequence of being thoroughly rooted in Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum, the likelihood of distributism reverting to capitalism is rather high. But, as I mentioned earlier in this thread, it is an objectionable theory for various other reasons as well. From an economic and ethical perspective, the Christian socialism of men like Edward Bellamy is far more defensible.

_________________
RSF Executive Committee (Chairman)
"The dogma of human equality is no part of Communism . . . the formula of Communism: 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs', would be nonsense, if abilities were equal."
—J. B. S. Haldane Hammer Sickle

"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
—Mikhail Bakunin Red Star
avatar
Celtiberian
________________________
________________________

Tendency : Revolutionary Syndicalist
Posts : 1523
Reputation : 1615
Join date : 2011-04-04
Age : 30
Location : Florida

http://www.wix.com/executivecommittee/home

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by easttnskin on Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:59 am

Granted, distributism lacks the labor theory of value. However, it shares the affinity for mutual credit, personal property, and worker associations. Yes, distributism is rooted in establishing a better relation between workers and owners and did not advocate a complete restructuring of the distribution of the means of production. However, distributism came about in response to unrestricted capitalism and usury. I think had distributism been able to progress it would have moved towards a better egalitarian market and distribution of the means of production.

I'm not saying distributism is the end-all be-all of social equality, but I do believe it is a good stepping stone in that direction, especially for traditional Christians, who generally come from a very neo-conservative background.


_________________
autonomousnationalistnetwork.wordpress.com
avatar
easttnskin
___________________
___________________

Tendency : National-Anarchism/Christian Nationalism
Posts : 11
Reputation : 5
Join date : 2013-02-01
Location : Knoxville, TN

http://autonomousnationalistnetwork.wordpress.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by Celtiberian on Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:47 pm

easttnskin wrote:Granted, distributism lacks the labor theory of value. However, it shares the affinity for mutual credit, personal property, and worker associations.

Indeed, but distributism also lacks mutualism's emphasis on the free federation of communes and property in land being predicated on active personal use.

Yes, distributism is rooted in establishing a better relation between workers and owners and did not advocate a complete restructuring of the distribution of the means of production. However, distributism came about in response to unrestricted capitalism and usury. I think had distributism been able to progress it would have moved towards a better egalitarian market and distribution of the means of production.

The reason I mentioned the Rerum Novarum is because that document sanctifies private property and explicitly condemns social ownership of the means of production. Since distributism bases itself in Pope Leo XIII's social doctrine, it's unlikely its theoreticians would have come to advocate the institutional arrangement necessary to achieve stability and justice. In other words, distributism contains internal contradictions which would lead to the resurrection of bourgeois social relations.

As for the possibility of an "egalitarian market" being constructed, in The Poverty of Philosophy Marx describes precisely why it's impossible for a market to exchange products at their value. As much as I admire Proudhon's work, mutualism would suffer the same fate as Robert Owen's experiment in egalitarian exchange.

Ultimately, economic competition and generalized commodity production must be abolished if an equitable distribution of the social product is to be realized.

I'm not saying distributism is the end-all be-all of social equality, but I do believe it is a good stepping stone in that direction, especially for traditional Christians, who generally come from a very neo-conservative background.

I agree that distributism possesses an instrumental value, for the reason you cite.

_________________
RSF Executive Committee (Chairman)
"The dogma of human equality is no part of Communism . . . the formula of Communism: 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs', would be nonsense, if abilities were equal."
—J. B. S. Haldane Hammer Sickle

"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
—Mikhail Bakunin Red Star
avatar
Celtiberian
________________________
________________________

Tendency : Revolutionary Syndicalist
Posts : 1523
Reputation : 1615
Join date : 2011-04-04
Age : 30
Location : Florida

http://www.wix.com/executivecommittee/home

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by Coureur des Bois on Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:10 am

Distributist reporting in.

Celtiberian wrote:Distributism is basically an overtly religious (specifically Catholic) form of market socialism, though it's far less developed relative to other conceptions of market socialism. For example, its theoreticians don't seem to understand the importance socializing the means of production and finance has for stabilizing the model.

My view of distributism is that, like market socialism, it fails to achieve remunerative justice and production exclusively for use. Unlike market socialism, however, it is somewhat theocratic—which is troubling for a variety of reasons.
Production in the Distributist theory is to be for use and not for mass profits. The organisation of society in self-reliant local communities with the focus on agriarianism and the guild system is to create an organic unit that will meet each other's end. The guilds are there to assure a just access to a specific trade, to protect each member's labour and to assure a just remuneration from it. The "theocracy" in it, which means the inclusion of the priest as part of the organic community, is there because the Distributists were Catholics and this concept was rooted in the religion. It is not necessary in a secular form of Distributism and can be easily discarded.

It is my understanding that guilds were a sort of proto-union system established by medieval artisans and merchants. I think unions serve an important purpose within capitalist market economies, but they aren't above criticism.
Guilds were established in the medieval times, to the dismay of the merchants. In France, after the revolution, there was a law passed (the Le Chapellier Law) which abolished the corporation system in place under the monarchy (which means the dissolution of all guilds, cooperatives, mutuals, unions...), but the law never touched the "boss clubs". With the social protection of workers outlawed and with the maintain of organised capitalist clubs, the French working class started its impoverishment, building the base for the future industrial revolution and the replacement of the feudal nobility by the merchant class.

Nothing is above criticism.

Modgardener wrote:In principle distributism looks good, and elements can be incorperated into a socialist society. The only problem as starryplough has commented is a society completely based on distributism it could lead to a pre-capitalist society and would do very little to eradicate greed and self interest from society.
I hardly believe greed and self interest can be eradicated. It can be controlled, but it can never be completly erased. Human nature is a total dick. Which lead to the modern industrial capitalist system, as I mentionned above, was the abolition of the old guild system, from which Distributism takes inspiration.

Socialist Warrior wrote:Distributism has the same flaws and inefficiencies as capitalism, for it still must retain an intermediary capitalist "middle man" between the consumer and state. In the distributist system, autonomous guilds would still require an overseer to make sure employers were not abusing their privileges and that they were not producing poor quality products. This is wasteful when the state itself can be the employer, produce its own goods, and make sure things are functioning well without the use of middle men.
Distributism has not the same relation to the State as marxists. Most Distributists argue for a smaller State and a lesser to no dependance on the State (never advocating its abolition though, except in the case Dorothy Day). One of the points of guilds is to ensure a good quality of products by training the members of the trade, certifying the quality of their products through the rank system based on experience and proof of quality production, and to ensure monopolies would not be created.

Guilds are runned by the people who perform the trade associated to it, which means they know what they're talking about and they have experience in it - something that can be harder to find in State bureaucrats who have to manage everything with no direct personal relation to the trade they manage.

Celtiberian wrote:The reason I mentioned the Rerum Novarum is because that document sanctifies private property and explicitly condemns social ownership of the means of production. Since distributism bases itself in Pope Leo XIII's social doctrine, it's unlikely its theoreticians would have come to advocate the institutional arrangement necessary to achieve stability and justice. In other words, distributism contains internal contradictions which would lead to the resurrection of bourgeois social relations.
From a historical perspective, Rerum Novarum has been the kickstart of the cooperative movement in French Canada.

The widespread ownership of property would place individuals on more equal terms to each other. Having property, and therefor the fruits from it (be it from small private property or by being part of a cooperative), makes you more economicaly autonomous. Bourgeois relations are when a worker has to slave away to a boss or a bank to survive, which is the case when there is no possibility of access to property or credit like in capitalist society where property and credit are monopolised by a minority of people. Restricting access to means of self-sufficiency creates bourgeois relations because the worker is forced to sell his labour to the one who will give him some coins (a part of his production) to simply survive.
avatar
Coureur des Bois
___________________________
___________________________

Tendency : Social Nationalist
Posts : 5
Reputation : 5
Join date : 2013-10-08
Location : République de Laurentie

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by Celtiberian on Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:02 am

Coureur des Bois wrote:Production in the Distributist theory is to be for use and not for mass profits.
Distributist theory explicitly endorses the continuation of generalized commodity production, meaning labor is conducted for market exchange—not use. In other words, production is subordinated to the law of value within the model, and would consequentially exhibit many of the shortcomings of capitalism (e.g., periodic crises, an irrational allocation of resources, and distributive injustices) if implemented.

The organisation of society in self-reliant local communities with the focus on agriarianism and the guild system is to create an organic unit that will meet each other's end.
The development of industrial agriculture under capitalism has rendered agrarianism obsolete, although I can imagine returning to some tenets of pre-capitalist agriculture should they prove to be more beneficial to human and animal welfare. A revival of family farms on a large scale, however, is not on the horizon for technologically developed civilizations.

The guilds are there to assure a just access to a specific trade, to protect each member's labour and to assure a just remuneration from it.
The function guilds serve within Distributism is featured in revolutionary syndicalist theory, in the form of workers' councils. The difference is that syndicalist theoreticians and activists acknowledge the necessity of social ownership and planned production for achieving an equitable commonwealth—incidentally, the guild socialist movement, to its credit, also acknowledged that necessity.

The "theocracy" in it, which means the inclusion of the priest as part of the organic community, is there because the Distributists were Catholics and this concept was rooted in the religion. It is not necessary in a secular form of Distributism and can be easily discarded.
If you're comfortable discarding its theocratic element, why not discard its other theoretical deficiencies as well? Its exponents' unfounded belief that stability and justice are attainable within a regime of private property and market exchange, for instance.

I hardly believe greed and self interest can be eradicated. It can be controlled, but it can never be completly erased. Human nature is a total dick.
I don't believe Modgardener was implying that greed and self-interest could ever be entirely eliminated from the human condition, but rather that Distributism affords those ignoble traits too prominent a role in man's economic relations relative to socialism.

Distributism has not the same relation to the State as marxists. Most Distributists argue for a smaller State and a lesser to no dependance on the State (never advocating its abolition though, except in the case Dorothy Day).
You misunderstand the Marxist position on the state. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels defined the state as an instrument of class domination, not as an apparatus for governance over a geographical territory. As Terry Eagleton explains:

"What Marx hoped would wither away in communist society was not the state in the sense of a central administration. Any complex modern culture would require this. In fact, Marx writes in the third volume of Capital, with this point in mind, of 'common activities arising from the nature of all communities.' The state as an administrative body would live on. It is the state as an instrument of violence that Marx hopes to see the back of. As he puts it in the Communist Manifesto, public power under communism would lose its political character. Against the anarchists of his day, Marx insists that only in this sense would the state vanish from view. What had to go was a particular kind of power, one that underpinned the rule of a dominant social class over the rest of society. National parks and driving test centres would remain. . . . [P]olice, law courts, prisons [and] even paramilitary squads [are indispensable]. The latter, for example, might prove necessary if a gang of terrorists armed with chemical or nuclear weapons was on the loose, and the more tender-minded species of left-winger had better acknowledge the fact."
Terry Eagleton, Why Marx Was Right (London: Yale University Press, 2011), pp. 196-198 (bold emphasis added).

Thus, to the extent Distributists seriously desire the elimination of the bourgeoisie, they too are advocating on behalf of a stateless society—again, in the Marxist sense of the term.

From a historical perspective, Rerum Novarum has been the kickstart of the cooperative movement in French Canada.
There is, to be sure, an extensive history of religious inspiration for communal communities and cooperative workplaces, and I try my best not to trivialize that fact. Nevertheless, the Catholic Church's hierarchy in general, and the Rerum Novarum in particular, are counterproductive to the attainment of a viable socialist mode of production (be it market or planned in orientation) due to their designating private property sacrosanct.

The widespread ownership of property would place individuals on more equal terms to each other.
As would socializing the means of production.

Having property, and therefor the fruits from it (be it from small private property or by being part of a cooperative), makes you more economicaly autonomous.
Indeed, but not equally so. For example, workers of a cooperative oil rig would have considerably more income with which to influence politics and/or cultivate their potential as individuals than would workers in a humble retail cooperative.

_________________
RSF Executive Committee (Chairman)
"The dogma of human equality is no part of Communism . . . the formula of Communism: 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs', would be nonsense, if abilities were equal."
—J. B. S. Haldane Hammer Sickle

"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
—Mikhail Bakunin Red Star
avatar
Celtiberian
________________________
________________________

Tendency : Revolutionary Syndicalist
Posts : 1523
Reputation : 1615
Join date : 2011-04-04
Age : 30
Location : Florida

http://www.wix.com/executivecommittee/home

Back to top Go down

Re: Distributism

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 :: General :: Theory

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum