Caldicot on Distributism

Caldecott has a go in Godspy here and here at reviving distributism as an ideal for how modern societies ought to be organized.  Caldecott says that distributism calls for a renewed emphasis on the importance of the family as the basic unit of society.  He also days that distributism calls for greater decentralization in politics and in the economy.  And, finally, he says that distributism calls for more restraint on consumption.  However, Caldecott’s version of distributism leaves out the most important part:  the redistribution of productive property so that every family owns a sufficient amount of productive property to make a decent fanily income with their own land or tools.

Distributists believed that there was something inherently unfair and unfree about an economy where the majority of people do not own the land and tools that they use to produce goods and services.  In both capitalism and state socialism the majority of the people do not own the land or tools that they use in production.  The distributists, therefore, proposed that land and tools be redistributed so that they werebroadly distributed throughout the society.

A version of distributism that leaves out the redistribution of productive capital becomes little better than a romantic revolt against modern technology and society, rather than a hard nosed examination of the economic conditions (broad distribution of productive capital) that make freedom possible and a serious attempt to reform society to secure those conditions in practice.


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