A wonderfully written piece here by A. N. Wilson who, whilst not my usual cup of tea, captures the pernicious consequences of dehumanised capitalism, cherished of neo-liberal economists and ‘free-marketeers’ alike, brilliantly well. As I’m sure you’ll agree, he makes a better fist of articulating the wider problem than Douglas Carswell, for whom the commitment to liberty would appear to outrank any commitment to society at large.
Of course, this all chimes very closely with the economic analysis of a certain Red Tory – writing with Will Hutton here – who himself is heavily influenced by the distributism of G K Chesterton (if you’re interested then perhaps the best place to look is Chesterton’s An Outline of Sanity).
It hardly needs pointing out that Chesterton’s analysis took place in a different world, but the underlying principle remains the same; too few own too much, whilst too many own too little.
Whilst the days might be long gone of hoping to provide everyone with a bit of land and a house of their own as a means of offering genuine security, there is yet nothing at all to say that the idea can’t be moulded to fit the contemporary world: why shouldn’t the obstacles to ownership, those hurdles that stop vast swathes of people entering the market as equals rather than as waged slaves, be slowly broken down? Why shouldn’t the oligarchies that squeeze competition and distort the markets according to their own whims be reigned in? Why shouldn’t markets serve people, rather than people serve markets?
This would be the essence of any modern day distributist movement – not to deny the market, but to let more people get at it, whatever the ‘free-marketeers’ might say.