Monday, May 05, 2008

Fundamental Law of Distributism

More from Beyond Capitalism and Socialism-a new statement of an old ideal:

The economic primaries are but two: Production and Consumption. Other activities such as exchange, distribution, transport, market, price-fixing, money-value, are never primary even when practically necessary. The area of production should be as far as possible coterminous with the area of consumption. The utilitarians were wrong in saying things should be produced where they can be most economically produced. The true principle is: things should be produced where they can be most economically consumed. (my emphasis added- JC)

Makes some sense-but I can imagine even now that there will arguments against this. However, just to answer some, there are hidden costs to cheap goods produced by cheap labor. Just today, the The Distributist Review discusses how some costs of goods are just passed on to the taxpayer. Cheap production and distribution isn't always so cheap. However, production of goods in the community (even better in the household) of consumption holds both the producer and the consumer more accountable.

Another thought about this whole monetary system (which is designed so that someone can be constantly dipping into your pockets) goes back to barter and credit. Here's the scenario: I have eight people living in my household right now. Just say we all need a solid, long-lasting pair of shoes. In today's market, that shoe would cost, say $50-$100. If we all need them at once, that comes to a pretty piece of change that I need upfront. Why can't I pay in installments-with pork? I'll supply the cobbler's family with pork at a certain level-as long as the shoes last! Because-the better the shoe, the better the value.

I'm sure we all know some people who barter, yet as a wide-spread economic system, only 3rd-world countries practice it in any meaningful form. Certainly I understand that my scenario has its limits, but think about it. One reason people don't barter today is that most people have nothing to barter with-because they work for someone else.

Just some thoughts...

Oremus pro invicem!

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