THE Global Justice Movement Website

THE Global Justice Movement Website
This is the "Global Justice Movement" (dot org) we refer to in the title of this blog.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Distributism Yet Again, IV: The Paradox of Property

Yesterday we discovered that classic distributism managed to get into an irreconcilable paradox. That is, given that you presumably cannot finance new capital formation unless you cut consumption and accumulate money savings, only people who can afford to save are able to purchase new capital. In other words, the rich get richer.

On the other hand, if you are seeking to restore private property for some, you cannot logically destroy it for all, regardless of your justification. That is, you cannot say to the rich man that you propose to make him insecure in his property by taking it away so that you may make the poor man secure in what he would then possess. This would make the poor man relatively rich (at least, compared to what he was before), and thus subject to confiscation and redistribution to benefit the formerly rich man who was stripped of his wealth to benefit the formerly poor man.

The only ones who benefit from this approach to social betterment are the ones doing the redistributing, the re-redistributing, and so on: government bureaucrats, who by this means seize power in the State and extend and maintain control over every aspect of the lives of the citizens. Thus, the classic distributist could only sit back and wait for some cataclysm to destroy civilization, which could then be rebuilt to form the Distributist State.

What would actually happen, of course, is that civilization would collapse and, just as happened after the fall of Rome, history would follow the same course that got us into the mess in the first place. Until and unless people give up the fixed idea that the only way to finance new capital formation is to cut consumption and save, capital formation will continue to be a monopoly of the rich, regardless of the level of technology, or how beautiful small might happen to be.