The American Conservative ran this interesting piece a few weeks ago: “Pope Francis Needs Distributism.”
In light of being accused of Marxism, which he deplores, but in light of his distrust of capitalism, he needs a third way. That third way is often referred to as “Distributism.” Wilhelm Roepke referred to it as “the humane economy.” They’re not the same thing, but the overlap is great. Other third ways: the “gift economy” (something I’ve never fully understood) and agrarianism.
There are many attractive features of these third ways, but there’s one thing I’ve always found lacking, from Belloc to John Crowe Ransom: How do we implement this “third way”?
If we implement it through government action, the immediate result is a power shift: the government actors who are in charge of the change acquire additional power at the expense of everyone else. As the government action increases, the shift in power increases. With this shift in power comes a shift of money, resulting in more inequality. Just witness the huge economic boon that Washington, D.C. has been experiencing since 9/11 (also recall that property prices in Washington, D.C., I’m told, didn’t decrease during the Great Depression . . . another era of expansive government action).
Money, Simone Weil observed, is power’s “master key,” but raw power, the kind that doesn’t require a key, is stronger than money, and it brings the money with it, resulting in even greater disparities in the allocation of wealth.
So if government is disqualified from doing it, what will bring about that third way?
I’ve been searching for that answer for over twenty years, and I still haven’t found it. I love that third way, and I want to see that third way come into existence, but I don’t know how that third way can possibly exist, absent a renaissance in Every Man that stands up and insists government gets off our backs and then conducts himself in a noble way under the pressure of God and community.
I simply don’t see it happening.Bookmark it: del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList
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