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Let's Discuss Distributism/Localism

 
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It's neither Capitalism nor Socialism, although folks constantly want to make it a variation of one of the two. But really, Distributism is neither--it is a third way of running an economy with an unfortunate name but common-sense set of principles--and a track-record as old as peasant farming cultures. It is a putative economic system designed to encourage the best of human efforts in a relationship with finance in a "small is beautiful" kind of way, while discouraging and disincentivizing the worst of what Westerners have seen in their economies in the last 150+ years.

Brought to name and fame (well, sorta!) in the 20th century, primarily by the two Englishmen G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, folks like me are finding out more and more about Distributism and trying to spread the word as we realize more and more how our current socioeconomic system is... very broken upside-down and backwards.

However, even the sympathetic often deride the descriptions of Distributism as unfeasible, based on too many unworkable theories/idealizations. I say, "No," although I am an idealist myself by nature. It has worked before, all over the world, without being named. And sure, it wouldn't be easy to switch any economy over to Distributist principles, but we should begin to try. We should start by letting the principles of Distributism guide our personal choices, and go on to form local associations as well. This would lead to influencing many others and hopefully an upward spiral where larger, systemic changes would be able to happen.

If you have thought about Distributism, I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you haven't believed it to be feasible or workable or relevant, I'd like to explore some ideas with you that might convince you to take a second look!

                                                                   
 
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My personal opinion is that many ideas that are workable fall apart if you try to expand them to large scale.
 
Rachel Lindsay
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This is my very favorite intro to the ideas of Distributism.

It's a book of essays--and one of them, "Make Your Backyard a Forest Garden", was how I first heard about Permaculture.

The Hound of Distributism: A Solution for Our Social and Economic Crisis, Ed. Richard Aleman

I will forever be grateful to that book for introducting me to both of these great systems/solutions/movements!
 
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I admit I looked into it briefly since you've been posting about it.

Honestly to me, Capitalism, Communism, and Distributism all sound pretty good when summed up by proponents. I tend to like to read the critics opinions too, and then see how they have worked in practice and within the global framework that exists.

Communism for example, really cool idea, really bad implementations made it fail really hard and created a giant arms race and put us all on the brink of world war for several decades.

Capitalism, works really well for a lot of people and throws others under the bus. The environment seems to have been one of the victims getting run over by the bus.

What happens when you try to bring Distributism into the fold? Where are the models of it functioning already? Can you apply it on local scales? Will it scale to function on a national or global level? Communism functions fairly well on a local scale, but when large resource economies come into play it seems to fail.

I'm not an economist, and every economist I've ever talked to has said lots of stuff that sounds good but seems to not really reflect reality, at least as I see it. But anyway I think that global economics are just so complex that actually trying to enforce a system onto everything is impossible. The real question to me is when and where does each system fail and how can we address those points of failure.
 
Rachel Lindsay
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L. Johnson wrote:I admit I looked into it briefly since you've been posting about it.

Thank you for your interest, and thank you for continuing this thread!

L. Johnson wrote:Honestly to me, Capitalism, Communism, and Distributism all sound pretty good when summed up by proponents. I tend to like to read the critics opinions too, and then see how they have worked in practice and within the global framework that exists.

Communism for example, really cool idea, really bad implementations made it fail really hard and created a giant arms race and put us all on the brink of world war for several decades.

Capitalism, works really well for a lot of people and throws others under the bus. The environment seems to have been one of the victims getting run over by the bus.

Yes, and the proponents of Distributism from the beginning have observed that Capitalism as we know it today and Marxism that is supposedly opposed to it are in fact two sides of the same coin; and that is because both systems work to keep property, business, and production out of the hands of the citizens. Capitalism = a few businessmen control all property and production, Communism = a few government officials control all property and production. The opposite of the few controlling everything is the many owning lands and businesses and producing goods and services.

L. Johnson wrote: What happens when you try to bring Distributism into the fold? Where are the models of it functioning already? Can you apply it on local scales? Will it scale to function on a national or global level? Communism functions fairly well on a local scale, but when large resource economies come into play it seems to fail.

Distributism is all about the local. "I have often said that the most efficient social and economic unit is one wherein the area of production tends to be co-terminous with the area of consumption; i.e., that things will be produced where they are to be consumed." --Fr. Vincent McNabb, Old Principles and the New Order
I appreciated Trace Oswald's earlier comment: "My personal opinion is that many ideas that are workable fall apart if you try to expand them to large scale." If nearly every human had a Permaculture garden providing for as many needs as possible, there would be no question of "scale" interfering with the good things being produced in each region, and continent, unto the whole globe. It's what we all wish for around here, I think. This Permaculture-type of thinking would be a part of the whole Distributist paradigm--each neighborhood and town mostly providing for itself is how things used to be, when unsustainability of fragile lifestyles wasn't a concern. "Distributism's main tenet was that property should be as widely distributed as possible, and business should be local." --Russell Sparks, "Chesterton as Economist", The Hound of Distributism


L. Johnson wrote: I'm not an economist, and every economist I've ever talked to has said lots of stuff that sounds good but seems to not really reflect reality, at least as I see it. But anyway I think that global economics are just so complex that actually trying to enforce a system onto everything is impossible. The real question to me is when and where does each system fail and how can we address those points of failure.

Yes, and Distributism by its nature cannot be forced. It is a philosophy that must be embraced, personally and civically. And there is a place for the legal system to do its work--e.g., handicapping mega-retailers with special taxes and tariffs, enforcing anti-trust legislation, and favoring small-holders with free legal representation and subsidies.

I think setting up a system anywhere based on Distributist principles is extremely doable, people just have to want to do it. And some do--look at the Slow Money movement, that's certainly Distributism to me! Anyone with a "shop local" sign in my town is a Distributist, just not knowing it. Co-operatives and guilds in all industries are examples of Distributist principles in action today. I am trying to align each of my actions and choices with Distributist thinking, even though I will never in my lifetime be able to vote "Distributist" on any ballot. But the more people choose Permaculture, and supporting local enterprise, and personal production rather than exploitative consumption, the more "Distributist" their parts of the world will be come--and thus the more sensible, humane, and good, in my opinion!
 
Rachel Lindsay
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“Growing food is not simply a quaint hobby; it is, rather, a serious economic endeavor. There is a growing area of agriculture that is focused explicitly on producing food in small plots, especially in urban areas. This discipline is known as permanent agriculture or ‘permaculture.’ Its advocates have demonstrated that small plots are not only highly productive, but that they can yield 2 to three times the amount of produce per unit of land as the average farm. Moreover, permaculture production techniques are based on low-input methods coupled with superior garden designs to achieve maximum results.... There is great potential here that has yet to be realized.”


--Tobias J. Lanz, “Economics Begins at Home” in Beyond Capitalism and Socialism: A New Statement of an Old Idea

Another book on Distributism explicitly mentioning Permaculture!

                                                                                         
 
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Everyone recognises that unfettered capitalism is a bad thing. But at the same time it is the only economic system that has a proven track record of driving prosperity, innovation and human wellbeing. The countries that have the very highest levels of happiness and well-being in their populations are those that have robust governmental oversight and regulation to prevent the gross inequalities that tend to arise in unfettered capitalism.

I would generally argue that where capitalism has led to inequalities it is a failure of government to protect it’s people.

The USA has long pursued an idealised form of free-market capitalism, which leave large swathes of the population at a disadvantage. Not all western developed nations have followed the same path.
 
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Wow, Rachel!

I found this thread really interesting.  And the idea.  I think it connects to my longing to live in a small town with a general store (that is also the post office and sells feed).  I had to leave that town to be near my daughter & family during the pandemic, and here I stay.  But I've found a house I can afford with a small piece of land. . . never mind all that.

Although I participate, far too much, in the digital economy and the nasty capitalist crappy-goods economy, I am cutting back.  Growing vegetables led me to permaculture.  Permaculture led me to permies.com.  I was derailed after moving from Vermont to the semi-urban part of the Hudson Valley, I am now back online looking at composting, gardening, chicken ideas (my chickens are in a too-small coop in my daughter's backyard at the moment).

I was only derailed for about two years, but it feels like permaculture has been going through a very large expansion!  I picked up a giveaway stinging nettle plant at a megamansion neighborhood nearby, when I noticed that her front garden was mulched with real wood chips. (That was seriously freaky.) Got to talking, her sister works at the native plant nursery in town, got more nettle from her sister in exchange for some of my ever-expanding comfrey supply.  I worked at a large nursery last year and the woman in the herb department was trying to grow out a permie consultation business.  I learned a lot from her and vice versa!

Perhaps it was because my circle was small in Vermont (a town of 666 souls), I didn't know more than one or two permies there.  But I see it all around me now, and I'm still actually living in a little city!

I think that once you have 3 or 4 permaculturists in easy proximity to each other, a tiny distributist community might be born.  (Forgive my ignorant blundering, for all I know about distributism I have read in this thread.)  Could this be true?  I am optimistic.  And since permaculture is global, producing miracles in third-world countries (I was just watching videos about Scotland where huge pieces of land have lost their Scots pines (bring in permaculture!)

I'm excited.  I'm 69 and having health problems, but still looking toward the future.  Lord knows we need help.
 
Anne Pratt
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Michael Cox wrote:

I would generally argue that where capitalism has led to inequalities it is a failure of government to protect it’s people.

The USA has long pursued an idealised form of free-market capitalism, which leave large swathes of the population at a disadvantage. Not all western developed nations have followed the same path.



So this is socialism, right?  I agree in large part - the European economies have protected lower-income people far, far better than we have.  (speaking as a US citizen)
 
Rachel Lindsay
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Thank you so much for weighing in! (It's such a great thing to be able to have folks discussing things like this that are so important to me!)

Michael Cox wrote:Everyone recognises that unfettered capitalism is a bad thing. But at the same time it is the only economic system that has a proven track record of driving prosperity, innovation and human wellbeing. The countries that have the very highest levels of happiness and well-being in their populations are those that have robust governmental oversight and regulation to prevent the gross inequalities that tend to arise in unfettered capitalism.


I have to point out that this all depends on what you measure, how you measure, and how long you measure. Capitalism isn't known for respecting the fertility of the soil and the health of ecosystems, for example, all of which are factors DIRECTLY impacting human wellbeing.  I once (okay, for most of my life!) defended Capitalism, but as a Permaculture enthusiast and Distributist I have to factor in an economic system's interaction with the local natural systems as a standard of prosperity and wellbeing. So Capitalism fails--and spectacularly!--when measuring with those parameters. And as to Capitalism driving "innovation"--ad quod finem, to what end is that innovation? Making more gadgets to chain people to desks, get them off the land, hypnotize them with sparkly media messages, and centralize control of material resources and real wealth? Hopefully that is not what you mean by "innovation" above, but it is what many people mean by it when they praise what Capitalism and Modernity have done.

Michael Cox wrote: I would generally argue that where capitalism has led to inequalities it is a failure of government to protect it’s people.


Distributist thought includes lots of ideas for (local) government regulation of big business and corporate entities, and handicaps for large enterprises vs. tax breaks and rewards for the little guy. Distributism is all about the little guy, the local markets, and people producing what they consume, based on the principle of Subsidiarity.

Michael Cox wrote: The USA has long pursued an idealised form of free-market capitalism, which leave large swathes of the population at a disadvantage. Not all western developed nations have followed the same path.

One of the main disadvantages of Capitalism, as Distributists see it, is that it keeps most families in a village/town from being able to own subsistence farms. The ideal is for the families to own the land and the means of production, not the corporations, and not the government. Our local regions should make decisions for themselves, govern themselves, feed themselves, care for themselves, produce for themselves, etc., etc. The closer any country's systems get to that, the more of the population will have what I consider true advantages.
 
Michael Cox
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Anne Pratt wrote:
So this is socialism, right?  I agree in large part - the European economies have protected lower-income people far, far better than we have.  (speaking as a US citizen)



No, I’m not talking about socialism.

If you thinking of a crude spectrum with pure socialism at one end and pure capitalism at the other, regulated capitalism is much near capitalism than socialism.

It’s uniquely US mindset that labels any restriction on capitalism as socialism.

As someone who lives in the UK - a whole heartedly capitalist country - it just feels bizzare when Americans point at us and go “socialism!”.
 
Michael Cox
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One of the main disadvantages of Capitalism, as Distributists see it, is that it keeps most families in a village/town from being able to own subsistence farms. The ideal is for the families to own the land and the means of production, not the corporations, and not the government. Our local regions should make decisions for themselves, govern themselves, feed themselves, care for themselves, produce for themselves, etc., etc. The closer any country's systems get to that, the more of the population will have what I consider true advantages.



So this is a movement that wants to ignore human nature and push everyone back to subsistence agriculture?

A large proportion of people in the world don't WANT to be subsistence farmers. A small number might be happy with it, but the overwhelming tendency through the last 200 years is for people to leave rural communities based on agriculture and seek opportunities for better employment and quality of life in cities.

We in the West bemoan sweatshop factories in the developing world… but they ALWAYS have people queueing up to work for them because working 12 hour shifts in a sweatshop for low wage beats the pants off subsistence farming back home in the country.

Subsistence farming in practice means a lifetime of backbreaking labour, with low (or more likely zero!) wages, and no prospects for self improvement, or improvement for your children.

Capitalism works because it aligns so well with human nature. How does this proposed system cope with a population who just don’t want what is being proposed?
 
Rachel Lindsay
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This post--my post below--has become a wall-of-text as you can see, but your points are so interesting I wanted to talk about them! Thank you!

Michael Cox wrote:So this is a movement that wants to ignore human nature and push everyone back to subsistence agriculture?


I don't want to invent a time machine and force everybody into the 1200s. I'll bet what you see as the best in Capitalism is exactly what I see exemplified better in Distributism.

Let's think about the non-farmers in hypothetical "Distributistville", in 2022. The people living there mostly own their houses outright, mortgage-free, because they are able to save up for them from reasonable earnings for a few years, rather than going into insane mortgage debt to international banks--because the laws of the land favor ownership. (People could still do this as recently in the U.S. as the 1960s even, I believe.)  Many people in Distributistville earn their living by working from home, perhaps online, or doing trades for the town, such as making pottery or shoes or whatever, and, yes, they are able to live on these wages because there are tax breaks and subsidies and a whole system in place giving more weight and worth to their goods and processes than to imports from China and the mega-retailers that have them on their shelves. (There are import restrictions and tax penalties and legal hoops mega-retailers have to jump through so there's only one in Distribustistville. Most people buy most of their food, etc. from one of the ten local markets.)

Think of any local business you patronize. What if not just the local consumers, but banks and legislation and everything were behind it, helping it flourish?  And then there would be ten of them in a little town, one for each neighborhood, because the little shops could really make it. We had loads of those "Mom 'n" Pop" shops in the US until the 1960s as well. (Do I detect a theme here?)

All of us raised in Capitalist countries are used to thinking about our money coming from wages earned away from our homes, and this money is then used in purchasing goods that are also produced far away from our homes. And that is called "prosperity" by many people. But the sweatshop folks making my shoes are not doing as well in their towns as I am, and in Distributistville the producers of the goods (shoes) would be doing as well overall as the purchasers of the goods (me). This was more normal until the last 200 or so years.

  • And because the factories making our goods aren't even in our own countries anymore, we are totally blind to where goods come from, and have no conception of how unconnected our lives are from our "prosperity." Our dollar value in money is not connected to local worth or true value, in my opinion. Most everything I buy is made by people who are not free, and I don't want my "prosperity" based on the exploitation of unfree people's labors.


  • Michael Cox wrote:A large proportion of people in the world don't WANT to be subsistence farmers. A small number might be happy with it, but the overwhelming tendency through the last 200 years is for people to leave rural communities based on agriculture and seek opportunities for better employment and quality of life in cities.



    Yes, not all people want to farm. We have always had occupations besides farming, and even big cities, everywhere, full of people not farming. People may be leaving rural communities--but is this because rural life is inherently bad to most people, or--could it be that for 200 years the system has been rigged to favor the factory owners who needed laborers in the cities to help them lure country people to the cities where they wanted them?

    I believe the Industrial Revolution did just that, i.e., rigged the economic system, and England's factories and mills in the Victorian Era, for example, did not improve the quality of life of the workers who left the land. They came because they thought there was no other choice, and perhaps laws were making it so that there was no other choice. Perhaps I will research this hypothesis further soon.

    Michael Cox wrote:We in the West bemoan sweatshop factories in the developing world… but they ALWAYS have people queueing up to work for them because working 12 hour shifts in a sweatshop for low wage beats the pants off subsistence farming back home in the country.


    Do they want the sweatshop wage, or do they want the cell phone and Coke that they can only buy with sweatshop wages? If they could trade their eggs and grain harvest for cell phones and Coke, would they perhaps stay on the farm?

    Michael Cox wrote:Subsistence farming in practice means a lifetime of backbreaking labour, with low (or more likely zero!) wages, and no prospects for self improvement, or improvement for your children.

    Permaculture says it doesn't have to! I will increase my practice of Permaculture in my urban lot and on my parents' land nearby, and work hard, but not break my back, using appropriate design and technique for better management and fuller production!

    Michael Cox wrote:Capitalism works because it aligns so well with human nature. How does this proposed system cope with a population who just don’t want what is being proposed?

    Well, maybe, but...what do we mean by "human nature"? There are the "better angels of our nature" as Lincoln pointed out, which we would presumably want our economic system to encourage, but since there is also greed, envy, etc., in us, which some systems reward and encourage, it behooves us to establish systems that discourage the worst in us and bring forth the best. It is so important to evaluate what the systems reward and encourage in human behavior. Slavery, for example, is as old as humanity, and often makes people "prosperous" but it's still wrong and laws should prohibit it. Distributism is an ethical economic philosophy, talking about what should be done rather that just what can be done or might be done.  
     
    Rachel Lindsay
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    Good news! Distributism has a new name now: "Localism"!

    It was given this name by a group of people that think and talk about it all the time, The Society of Gilbert Keith Chesterton. Here are all the details: Distributism Needs a New Name by Dale Ahlquist

    Read the whole piece, it's so good, but I must quote a couple of my favorite paragraphs:

    Mr. Ahlquist wrote:There are many people who want to take responsibility for their own lives, but they are increasingly frustrated by the feeling that everything is out of their control, and they cannot even say who is in control. They are weary of the complexities and complications brought on by bureaucracy and regulation, with no one being answerable for anything.

    Localism means having control over the things that most directly affect you. Another term for this is “subsidiarity.” (But that’s another word that always has to be explained.) It means keeping accountable those who have any power that affects your home, your children’s education, your trade. As Chesterton says, you should be able to keep your politicians close enough to kick them. It means keeping your dollars in your community, buying from your neighbor and not from a remote corporation (or a river in South America). It means owning your own piece of the community. It means reconnecting with the land and with what you eat. It does not mean everyone has to be a farmer, but it means everyone should be in touch with a farmer. It means more people doing more things for themselves, which makes them less passive, less dependent, less helpless, less hopeless.

    And there is nothing more local than the family. There is nothing more local than the home. By Localism, we mean an economy and a political system based on the family.



    When explained this way, I will bet it will make sense to a whole bunch more people. I think this is what we're most of us all about anyway--here's a better name for a fantastic set of ideas!
     
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    I love the idea of localism, distributism, locavore,local currencies all of the ideas that focuses on a sustainable community. However there still has to be some connectivity to those that live outside the circle. Communication, electricity, fuel, medicines, some medical care, machine parts. How would a distributive society or transitional town address those outside needs with an acceptable external currency. There is going to be an interface of some kind what does that look lke?
     
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    Robert Ray wrote:I love the idea of localism, distributism, locavore, local currencies all of the ideas that focuses on a sustainable community. However there still has to be some connectivity to those that live outside the circle.



    Oh, in a Localist/Distributist situation there would certainly be connection to the larger and larger regions! It's like Permaculture zones, only the economic version. Hypothetically, let's think of the neighborhood or town as Zone 1, and expanding out from there, inhabitants would certainly have connections and imports and such things--for example, I still want my chocolate although we can't grow cocoa here in my town!--but most needs of most people, their daily bread, so to speak, would be sourced in their closer economic zones, and fewer and fewer would be sourced out in the farther zones, but it wouldn't be nothing!

    Robert Ray wrote: Communication, electricity, fuel, medicines, some medical care, machine parts. How would a distributive society or transitional town address those outside needs with an acceptable external currency. There is going to be an interface of some kind what does that look like?



    I generally like to look to the past for some ideas on what a localist society could do today, although I don't think anyone could (or should) try to exactly replicate any particular past era.  I'm not thinking we all have to be medieval-era re-enactors, in other words! But I do think that persistently and widely successful ideas can be updated and put to use in our era; so, regarding an interface between the regions--that would require a currency that would be useful across several economic Zones. It would be something widely recognized as valuable, and highly portable--like gold or silver. This was something that worked well all over the world until very recent times, and I think something like that would work again very well if people had the choice.
     
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    Scale of an area makes a difference. My small town and circle of contacts regularly trade, trade skills just today a jar of pickled asparagus for a jar of canned tuna. Help me with definitions here. Party one has a skill or product and party two would like to acquire the skill or product. Party one wants to make an exchange and in that exchange needs to acquire the ingredients/material to make more product. Party two has a portion of the ingredients/material to create the product. A trade is made. It's local, it required no currency, it was made with ingredients acquired within a 100 mile radius. Is that trade Capatalism? Locavore? Sustainable? What we want to see in a transitional town? Is party one under any obligation to supply his/her limited quantity of product without compensation? Is Distributism just about land ownership? In that system is there control of how that land is used? Is there any mechanism to require or remove one that is unproductive of property distributed to a person.
     
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    Robert Ray wrote:Scale of an area makes a difference. My small town and circle of contacts regularly trade, trade skills just today a jar of pickled asparagus for a jar of canned tuna. Help me with definitions here. Party one has a skill or product and party two would like to acquire the skill or product. Party one wants to make an exchange and in that exchange needs to acquire the ingredients/material to make more product. Party two has a portion of the ingredients/material to create the product. A trade is made. It's local, it required no currency, it was made with ingredients acquired within a 100 mile radius. Is that trade Capatalism? Locavore? Sustainable? What we want to see in a transitional town? Is party one under any obligation to supply his/her limited quantity of product without compensation? Is Distributism just about land ownership? In that system is there control of how that land is used? Is there any mechanism to require or remove one that is unproductive of property distributed to a person.



    That trade would definitely fit under the heading of Localism/Distributism/Sustainable-Economy/Human-Scale-Enterprises/Small-Is-Beautiful-Lifestyles, and definitely be something we would all like to see more of! Rules of fair play and justice are going to govern these type of interactions, as they ideally should every other.

    Speaking ideally, Party 1 would see his collection of abilities and assets and his local economy as a partnership, where the good of the one is the good of the other, and act so as to make his local economy thrive, while also acting in his interests to meet his needs. Meet his needs, without trying to make exorbitant profits that are out of scale to a reasonably ample and comfortable life. (Aside: here we can see how different from Capitalism this is--there is such a concept in Localism/Distributism as "too much" or inappropriate profit/gain in an enterprise).

    This is why the early Distributists wrote so much about and highly praised the medieval Guild systems--groups of local men in the same trades that had formal contracts agreeing not to undersell each other and snatch any other members of the group's profits, etc. Each member of a guild (and his family!) was supported by all the others in the guild. The guilds had standards for their crafts and systems for apprentices to be trained in these standards and fraternal requirements...it sounds really incredible today, but it was actually quite common and normal for hundreds of years in Europe. Co-ops are one of the closest things we have nowadays, and I am all for more of those, too.

    Lest anyone think I am wishing for a magic wand or that these ideas are utterly fairy tales, I would like to say that I am very aware of the constant tendency in human beings to be more or less far from ideal, at all times. Localism is a system that explicitly respects the fact that humans have some pervasive, common tendencies that work against their best interests and the interests of their fellow men. It encourages the building of legal and societal structures to counteract tendencies toward greed, indolence, etc., and  to encourage the harmony of households and neighborhoods and small businesses in spite of these tendencies. No other set of economic ideas I know of has attention to human failings factored into them, and that is one of my favorite things about it.
     
    Robert Ray
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    A story I love is about the best boat builder in a village. He was sought after by all, but he worked alone and only produced a few a year. One customer was so thrilled to get his boat he tried pay over the asking price. The boat builder was so upset he told the customer I only want what I want, buy your boat elsewhere.
    Not all capitalists are making bank in their endeavors, so l hesitate to paint them all with that brush.
    I'm intrigued by the Mondragon Coop in Spain. Perhaps developing a coop would be a way to connect people with a like mind.
    I would argue that small town capitalism self-prunes bad actors/businesses in time. Again, economy of scale, in a bigger town bad actors have access to more victims.
    My understanding of property ownership in Distributism is that current property owners are taxed at such a high rate they sell off a portion to avoid the penalty. By doing this other are able to have property. My concern is that with that precedent what other properties belongings would be looked at next.
    Two farms, a permaculture gem and a monoculture mess. Same size yet taxed at a rate that makes it impossible to flourish. What would be your answer to the division of those properties that would be forced to divide the farms because of the inability to pay the taxman. A productive piece of property taxed at a higher rate than a non-productive piece. The efforts of the intelligent farmer who has worked to make his property more productive penalized for his works.
    "In the plan for establishing a distributist society — that is, a society of widespread private property ownership, The chief means proposed are a system of taxation, whereby concentrations of productive property will be subject to such a high rate of taxation that, in order to avoid this tax, owners will sell off the excess property, thereby bringing about a better distribution of property." (taken from the book The Restoration of Property)
    A person with a skill that nobody else has, would that intellectual property be taxed? Inventories are also mentioned. If I but ten items to sell because at buying ten I can give a better price but in having ten it appears in some cases i might be considered to having too many and need to reduce my inventory.
     
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