On some evening in the early summer of the year 1900 (the precise date is unknown), Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert Keith Chesterton, both just entering into journalistic careers in London, were introduced by mutual friends at a restaurant called the Mont Blanc. From that meeting emerged the "twiformed monster" that George Bernard Shaw nicknamed the "Chesterbelloc."
Belloc was born on July 27, 1870, in France to a French father and English mother. Louis Belloc came from a well-to-do family and had studied law but did not practice it because of chronic ill-health. He died when his son was only two years old. Shortly thereafter, Elizabeth Belloc returned to England with the boy and his sister. From 1880 to 1887, he was sent to Cardinal Newman's Oratory School for a rigorous classical education in a rigorous Catholic environment. In 1893, Belloc entered Balliol College, Oxford, where he won a scholarship in history and became active in the Oxford Union, a debating society, of which he was later elected President. By this time he had already been set in radical (for the time) republican politics as well as in devout Catholic faith. Belloc won First Class Honors in History in 1895 but failed to win the competition for a Fellowship at All Souls. He lingered at Oxford for a time, through various shifts and expedients (lecturing, tutoring, and writing), married, and made further unsuccessful attempts to find an academic position. In the winter of 1899-1900, he gave up the search, moved to London, and became a journalist.
Chesterton was born in London on May 29, 1874, and was baptized according to the rites of the Church of England. His father Edward was respectable, middle-class (he owned a long-established real estate business), and Liberal. In 1887, Chesterton began attending St. Paul's School, while still living at home. In 1892, he entered the Slade School of Art and simultaneously attended lectures in English at University College. He left University College without a degree in 1895, worked for two publishing houses, and entered journalism by way of art criticism and poetry. In 1896, he met a woman with the improbable name of Frances Blogg, who became his wife in 1901. He became a full-time journalist in 1899, when he was employed by the Speaker, a Liberal, anti-imperialist weekly.
The similarities between the two men were already striking, and were to grow stronger through mutual influence; their differences were of the kind that complement rather than oppose each other. Both were devout Christians and democrats. Both opposed the war in South Africa, but neither was against war in principle, which earned them the enmity of both imperialists and pacifists. Both were poets, essayists, novelists, social critics, and religious apologists. By a curious coincidence, each wrote approximately one hundred books.
The principal difference between their literary careers was that Belloc was more of an historian and Chesterton more of a critic. History is of its nature a more political subject than criticism, and Belloc's historical and political ideas significantly influenced Chesterton (only, however, because Chesterton was already tending in the same direction), while Belloc characterized himself as ignorant of English literature, and said he learned from Chesterton everything he knew of it. Likewise, Chesterton's fiction is both better and better-known than Belloc's. Both men were as eloquent in speaking as in writing, and excellent debaters; but Belloc was rather acrimonious and humorless, whereas Chesterton was unfailingly jovial. Belloc's thought was clear, logical, and systematic; Chesterton's thought was romantic and paradoxical.
Belloc and Chesterton were both Liberals in sympathy, partisan affiliation, and activism. Belloc (who became a British subject in 1902) stood successully for Parliament as a Liberal in the general election of 1906, campaigning against protectionism, imperialism, oligarchy, big government, and regulation of public houses. He became a particularly obstreperous back-bencher: complaining about the secrecy of party funds, for instance, becoming increasingly convinced that the rich controlled both parties by way of their coffers. In the general election of 1910, he broke with the Liberal party and was re-elected as an independent. He supported the movement to reduce the power of the House of Lords, but when this issue resulted in new elections in the same year, he refused to stand again. He had become convinced that the power of the politicians and of party discipline left no room for the independence necessary for a truly popular representative. Electoral politics was a sham; everything was run behind the scenes, by and for the plutocracy.
In 1910, Chesterton's book on What's Wrong with the World pointed out the congruence of oligarchical interests and paternalistic social reform, and even broached the topic of restoring peasant proprietorship. This was followed in 1912 by Belloc's Servile State. His thesis was essentially that espoused by Sismondi and adapted by Marx, which is that capitalism, defined as the ownership of the means of production by a few, is unjust and unstable. Belloc argued, against Marxism, that socialism (i.e., the ownership of the means of production by the state) is not a feasible alternative to capitalism, because the capitalists, having already reduced the working classes to economic serfdom, will use social reform to reduce them to legal serfdom, by making them dependent upon a welfare state controlled by the capitalists. Therefore the only alternative is to redistribute ownership of the means of production, divided severally amongst the many, along the lines of the medieval peasantry and guilds. For this system he coined the term "Distributive State," whence was derived the term "Distributism."
In 1925, Chesterton founded a paper called G. K.'s Weekly; selections of his writings there were later published as The Outline of Sanity. Distributism became an organized force of sorts when the Distributist League was founded on September 17, 1926. Distributism never gained a wide following. Its adherents were minor intellectuals influenced about equally by socialism and Catholicism: men such as A. R. Orage, editor of the New Age, a Fabian converted to Distributism by way of guild socialism; A. J. Penty, an architect influenced by William Morris and John Ruskin, who left the Fabian Society because of its materialism, and advocated The Restoration of the Gild System (1906); Maurice Reckitt, an Anglo-Catholic and Christian Socialist; W. R. Titterton, whom Chesterton personally converted from socialism to Catholicism, and who advocated the deportation of Jews, Scots, Welsh, and Irish from England; Eric Gill, who also turned from socialism to Catholicism, and set out to live self-sufficiently on the land, without the benefit of any machines; Father Vincent McNabb, a Dominican priest who advocated the smashing of all machinery and the return of the whole population to the land; and Sir Henry Slesser, a Labour politician and yet another Fabian converted to Catholicism. Both G. K. Chesterton and Belloc, as already noted, were originally Liberals, but G. K. and his brother Cecil were Anglo-Catholics and briefly involved in the Christian Socialist movement. Cecil had gone on to join the Fabian Society, then converted to Roman Catholicism in 1913; Gilbert skipped Fabianism altogether, and finally converted to the Church of Rome in 1922.
Chesterton was the League's president, but Titterton did most of the organizational work. The Central Branch of the League met at the Devereux, a tavern near Fleet Street; it organized the League's major activities -- public lectures and debates -- and it became practically identical with the editorial board of G. K.'s Weekly. Subsidiary chapters, which were essentially reading and discussion circles, were quickly established throughout the British Isles and beyond, some as far away as Australia. The League reached its apogee in 1928, with over two thousand members.
One occasion when the Distributists did engage in political activism was to protest the granting of a monopoly to the London General Omnibus Company, at the expense of the many privately owned buses. More than a million people signed a petition against it, but the monopoly was finally established in 1933. The Distributists conditionally endorsed the Labour party, on account of Sir Henry Slesser, and they hoped to win over trade unionists to the guild idea; G. K.'s Weekly strongly supported the General Strike of 1926. However, as the unions showed themselves more amenable to bureaucratization and state dependency than to the guild system, the League turned against them in 1930. Frustrated by all ordinary channels, the Distributists turned to vague ideas of social revolution, a popular monarchy or dictatorship, and political representation along corporatist lines. The League disbanded, and the Weekly ceased publishing, after Chesterton's death in 1936.
Belloc had always kept a certain distance from G. K.'s Weekly and the League, because he was pessimistic about their prospects, but he continued to elaborate the Distributist program and interpretation of history in such works as The Restoration of Property and The Crisis of Civilization. He retired after a stroke in 1942, and died in 1953.
During their lifetimes, Chesterton and Belloc commanded attention for their unusual social and political ideas because of their great literary talents and reputations; they were on par with Wells and Shaw, the most famous literary spokesmen for Fabian socialism, with whom they kept up a persistent but friendly debate. However, Distributism plunged into oblivion after the deaths of its foremost spokesmen. Most literary critics have ignored or downplayed this part of their work, considering it quaint, eccentric, and unimportant.
The Distributists addressed many various themes, but the essence of their small but interesting movement, as marked by its name, was the unique alternative they offered to both capitalism and socialism. There have been many attempts to find a "third way" between these two contending systems, since the rise of socialist movements in the late 19th century. The three main alternatives on offer were welfare-state liberalism or social democracy, fascism or National Socialism, and Christian democracy, all pursuing their different ends by essentially the same means: corporatism (by which the government mediates between organized capital and organized labor) and the welfare state (by which the government takes from those who have more and gives to those who have less). The state leaves private ownership largely intact, but subjects it to a greater or lesser degree of public regulation and redistribution aimed at providing security for the masses. Of course, it was the liberal/social-democratic alternative that triumphed, in the end, in all Western countries.
It was in this historical and ideological context that Chesterton and Belloc formulated their own ideas. For them, the crucial political issues were economic. Like classical liberals, they were concerned with the security of liberty and property, and championed the right of the individual against the power and authority of the state; but, like the socialists, they were also concerned with the problem of economic inequality and championed the poor against the rich. Hence they wanted to compromise with neither capitalism nor socialism.
The problem with capitalism, in their view, was the incompatibility of political freedom with economic inequality. The inequality that concerned them was not primarily that of disposable income and enjoyment of consumer goods (as most people think of it today); rather they meant the possession of substantial property, and especially of capital. Chesterton once remarked that "what we call Capitalism ought to be called Proletarianism" -- meaning that in true capitalism everyone, or nearly everyone, would be a capitalist. As long as ownership of capital is restricted to a few, the owners, having such command of the means of production (upon which the lives of everyone in society depend) will have an overwhelming advantage in economic bargaining power, so that they can exploit the non-possessing class.
This exploitation causes severe strains on society, which they thought would inevitably result in the downfall of capitalism. In theory, the capitalist state is composed of free and equal citizens whose only legal relation is that of contract; but in practice, however, it is composed mostly of persons who, dependent for their subsistence on the will of other men, have no real independence of action. Moreover, capitalism condemns the great mass of society to insecurity. Men dependent on wages, without property of their own as a reserve, are destitute if they cannot work. Capitalism must keep alive, by non-capitalist methods, great masses of the population who would otherwise starve. This was the reason for Britain's Poor Law and ultimately of the welfare state. Furthermore, economic competition creates insecurity for the owners as well, so it is in their interests to have state regulation of the market to create cartels and monopolies.
There are only three regimes that could replace the doomed capitalist state and resolve these contradictions: collectivism, which places the means of production into the hands of the community as a whole, organized as a state; slavery or serfdom, in which the owners and workers are legally recognized as such and bound by status, to which differential rights and duties are attached; and the "distributive state," in which private property is reestablished on a wide scale, thus abolishing the proletariat by turning its members into owners. Distributism, therefore, is unique in that it is the only "third way" between capitalism and socialism that actually went to the heart of the problem. Instead of compromising between capital and labor, distributism would abolish them as separate classes.
Socialism, to the Distributists, was unsatisfactory because it only exacerbated the basic problem: "the Socialist says that property is already concentrated into Trusts and Stores and the only hope is to concentrate it further in the State." Socialism might provide stability once enforced, but it is still unjust because the basic condition of economic servitude is identical, whether one's employer is another individual or the state.
A minor political movement called Guild Socialism emerged in England in the 1910s and '20s, directly inspired in large part by the medievalism and anti-statism of The Servile State. It was the peculiarly English version of the more radical and violent anarcho-syndicalist movements that were fairly widespread on the Continent at the time. The idea was that labor unions, or guilds, would take over industry directly and run it democratically. Belloc rejected guild socialism, however, because it was only a non-essential change in the form of socialism. Without private ownership, the "guilds" or "syndicates" would actually be nothing but departments of the all-powerful collectivist state.
The people can only own the means of production and distribution severally, not altogether. Socialism would put all the eggs in one basket. No one could believe "that 12,000,000 men, say, carry the basket, or look after the basket, or have any real distributed control over the eggs in the basket." Necessarily, it will be controlled from the center by a few people. Therefore, the ownership of the means of production must be shared -- in the capitalist sense of the word "shares," i.e. as something divided and not pooled. Men can only control what they own individually. The people will act as a collective only in establishing the legal and political framework that will divide property and keep it divided.
Of course, Marx and his followers were wrong when they predicted that the economic "contradictions" in capitalism would inevitably cause its collapse and replacement by socialism. Most social reformers, because they are primarily concerned with obtaining security for the masses, are satisfied with reforms of the "bread and circuses" variety, which leave the ownership of property intact. The capitalists, in turn, accepted such reforms and adapted to them. Belloc foresaw this compromise, and predicted it would result in what he called the "Servile State."
This is a society based on coercive status rather than free contract, marked by the existence of an unfree populace, dependent in the first instance on employers and in the second instance on state charity, combined with a small group of plutocrats, themselves dependent upon state power to secure their position. The employees of big corporations will be, in effect and ultimately in law, industrial serfs. By the power of their wealth to influence the state, the capitalists will turn all these social reforms to their advantage by giving the people security -- that security which goes with slavery: the consideration which the slave-owner has for his human property. This security is bait on the hook of the loss of the liberty.
Seeing how the plutocracy exploited apparent idealism and seemingly well-intentioned reforms, the Distributists were as suspicious of idealistic social reformers as they were of the plutocrats. All too often, the plutocrat and the reformer seem to be secretly in partnership: above all, when the plutocrat exploits the labor of women and the reformer blathers about their "emancipation" from the family.
The Distributists, therefore, did not want to "reform" capitalism (by which, again, they meant the ownership of all capital by a few people): they wanted to abolish it. Unlike the Marxists, they believed that private property was the solution, not the problem. "The cure for centralization is decentralization," they said: "The natural action, when property has fallen into fewer hands, is to restore it to more numerous hands." Their political ideals may be summed up in two great words: Liberty and Property. The name initially proposed for their organization was, in fact, the cumbersome but eloquent one of "The League for the Preservation of Liberty by the Restoration of Property." Their ideal was "a society in which the means of production are distributed as property among the several units of the State -- the families and individuals which compose it."
The Distributist solution to the "class struggle" was not as essentially utopian as socialism. The goal was not equality of condition, narrowly defined, but of opportunity. Their idea of equal distribution precluded everyone "killing each other and searching each other's pockets to see whether there is half-a-crown or two shillings in them" -- all men would have a greater or lesser stake in the economy, as small proprietors and producers: freeholding peasants, artisans, shopkeepers. There would even be room for a few wage-laborers and employers, on the margins of society.
The Distributists had two purposes in mind when they defended liberty and property and, in doing so, identified each with the other. First, they saw property as a source of real and practical individual power, necessary to institutionalize abstract freedom. Second, they saw property as the fulfillment of man's spiritual needs and an expression of his personality.
Giving the ordinary man a vote need not give him any real power; but letting him have a family and a home of his own do give him power, a realm of private sovereignty. In fact the vote is meaningless without the means to exercise real power in the political realm. "Democratic socialism" is a contradiction in terms: when the government provides everything, one can hardly expect it to provide for opposition to itself. (Likewise, nowadays, socialists want "campaign finance reform" to stop people from using their property to oppose the socialists.) But above all, men can only be really free (that is, able to control their own lives) when they directly control the means of producing their own subsistence. Not indirectly and theoretically, by saying (for instance) that a factory "belongs to the people" -- but by actually owning individual shares in the factory.
Distributism aimed at improving the spiritual condition of the people as well as their material and political condition, by ensuring that men have enough material security, comfort and leisure to free them from drudgery and enable them to live a fully human life. But even more than this, it aimed at infusing ordinary life itself, including work, with spiritual value.
Spiritual control over one's environment is at least as important as physical control over the means of subsistence. The Distributists believed that a man feels happier, more dignified, and more like the image of God, when (for instance) the hat he is wearing is his own hat; and not only his hat, but his house, the ground he treads on, and so on. Property is something on which man imposes, and with which he expresses, his personality -- that he can shape in his own image. Without property, man is not only impoverished, but also dehumanized.
For that matter, man is also dehumanized by greed and commercialism -- the drive to acquire property without limit that subordinates all human concerns to the ruthless demands of cold, hard cash. The modern individualist is lost in a haze of free-floating abstractions, seeing liberty where men are really in servitude, self-reliance where men are really confined to antlike specialization, individual initiative where men are really bound to dull routine.
Craftsmanship and peasant agriculture were the Distributist ideals because they are creative, rather than merely productive, occupations, which have been destroyed by the soulless factory system. This is shown historically by the fact that there is no such thing as "Proletarian Art," while there most emphatically is such a thing as "Peasant Art." This is why the proposed economic arrangements of the distributive state revolved around the land and the guilds: that is, the restoration of the peasantry, and the establishment of popular control of the remaining industry.
Just as important, in the Distributist scheme of things, are the interrelated institutions of marriage, family, and home. Because every individual is incomplete, the family is the basic unit of society, in which male and female, young and old, are united as complementary parts of a whole. The human race's arrangements for reproducing itself are scarcely less important than its arrangements for producing its subsistence. These arrangements must be stable, well-protected, and above all, private. Just as the sacrament of marriage is a spiritual guarantee of the security of the family, the private home is its material (proprietary) guarantee. Indeed, "the recognition of the family as the unit of the State is the kernel of Distributism. The insistence on ownership to protect its liberty is the shell."
The home, like the small shop or freehold, is a place of privacy and individual power, for both men and women. Consequently it is absurd to speak of "emancipating" women from the home. "I would give woman, not more rights, but more privileges. Instead of sending her to seek such freedom as notoriously prevails in banks and factories, I would design specially a house in which she can be free." In the ideal distributive state, men too would be able to work at home -- on their own land or in their own workshops. The distributists' old-fashioned idea of woman's work is different from that of man's work, to be sure, but it is just as good and important. For both men and women, work should be creative and meaningful. Domesticity cannot be degrading, for what can be more fulfilling than the care and education of young human beings?
Beyond the family itself, distributists regarded the peasant community as the social ideal, one that is "communal but not communist." As always, preferring a concrete example to an abstract idea, Chesterton declared that "there are no two nobler words in all poetry than Public House." This provides yet a third place of freedom, outside of home and work, that nurtures "the masculine spirit of equality" -- the equality of genuine comradeship, spontaneous because it is traditional, in contrast to the false, forced "comradeship" of socialism.
Whatever the eccentricities of some of their followers, Chesterton and Belloc were not dogmatic medievalists. They were not out to smash all machinery, nor to turn everyone into peasants. In principle, they would admit that it is neither possible, nor entirely desirable, to restore the conditions of the Middle Ages. They recognized that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to abolish the machinery that came with the factory system. Distributism is not merely the ownership of the means of production in small units: "The two ideas of small craftsmanship, small husbandry, etc., and the distribution of ownership must not be confused. They have a common spiritual appeal, but they are not identical."
They envisioned a state of diversity, in which a restored peasantry would be primary, but not all-inclusive. They offered a "proportion" rather than a "pattern," for a pattern would be a utopian plan, implying all-powerful planners and a uniform, standardized society -- precisely the political, social, and esthetic evils they were opposing. Because the whole point of Distributism is to distribute power, the reform cannot be made by decree. People must be willing to assume the responsibility that comes with individual liberty and property. The main obstacle, they saw, is that wage-earners have lived under capitalism for so long that they no longer desire anything more than a higher position in the capitalist pecking-order. (One might add that living under socialism gives people a fear of responsibility.)
Therefore "it is vital to create the experience of small property, the psychology of small property, the sort of man who is a small proprietor." Even machinery can serve this purpose, as evinced by the Ford car: "the railway really was a communal and concentrated mode of travel like that in a Utopia of the Socialists. The free and solitary traveller is returning before our very eyes." The individual automobile allows individuals and families to go where they want, when they want, in their own private property. Ultimately, in the ideal society, they would be so happy and self-sufficient in their own homes and neighborhoods that they would not have to go anywhere; but the car is a genuine example of progress.
Still, they were blinkered by their distaste for the "centralized, impersonal, and monotonous civilization" of organization and standardization. They did not like the division of labor, mass production, and corporate ownership, and therefore were reluctant to look at modern means to their medieval ends.
They seriously wanted to restore a basically peasant society -- even if many, or even most, people would not be peasants. Living under one's own roof and on one's own land is the most perfect physical expression of freedom; and only on the land is it possible to be a true rugged individualist, in the sense of being reliant only on oneself for one's subsistence. They wanted to restore guilds (cooperative associations of small capitalists) as non-governmental curbs on competition: to prevent the growth of one at the expense of others, i.e. when the small independent producer is driven out of business. This would stop the replacement of small shops by chain stores and department stores. Positively, the guild would enable the guildsmen, when necessary, to pool their resources to purchase and collectively own capital instruments beyond the means of any one of them, to prevent the monopolization of industry by a few rich men.
The Distributists thought it necessary to restore small-scale property and enterprise because the divorce of management from proprietorship makes titles of ownership so abstract that they could be transferred from various large, faceless corporations to one huge corporation -- the State -- with no practical effect from the individual's point of view. To them, it made very little difference whether one is "employed at the Post Office on bold and revolutionary Socialist principles or employed at the Stores on wild and adventurous Individualist principles."
They were vague about the means to attain the Distributive State, but it was clear that there had to be a role for the government. As they saw it, the government was actively abetting the concentration of wealth, so it had to be turned around to foster the propagation of small property. They seem to have had in mind something like the Sherman Antitrust Act, prosecuted far more vigorously than was ever done in America.
Their advocacy of state action did not extend to the welfare state. Distributism, they insisted, "is a thing that could be done by people. It is not a thing that could be done to people. That is where it differs from nearly all Socialist schemes as it does from plutocratic philanthropy." Welfare makes people dependent on government; it gives them disposable income but not substantial property of their own; in short it only exacerbates the fundamental problem.
They believed that the kind of society they envisaged would exist if, and only if, informed by Christianity -- and specifically, by the Catholic Church. The Distributists, in their attempts to reconcile their roles as Catholics and democrats, were helped by their dislike of the tendencies of their age -- the concentration of economic and political power -- which turned them against "progress" and modern civilization. "There is nothing to be reached upon the present lines," Chesterton complained, "but a flat wilderness of standardization either by Bolshevism or Big Business." Since progress was not leading towards their own goals, they could reject it whole-heartedly, and they did not hesitate to embrace the Catholic past as the exemplar of their ideal.
That exemplar was medieval Christendom, whose apex was in the period circa 1000-1300 AD. Far from there being any necessary and fundamental quarrel between the doctrines of the French Revolution and those of the medieval Church, the Revolution was "essentially a reversion to the normal." It was not a revolt, but a reaction and a restoration. The social and economic results of the Revolution were entirely in the spirit of the medieval Distributive State and therefore of the medieval Church: abolishing feudal dues and breaking up large landholdings. Furthermore, "the peasant in his resurrection" revitalized the social, political, and religious life of France, all at once. This was confirmed by the rebirth of the Church, measured by the dramatic increase, since the Revolution, in the numbers of serious and devout believers, of the clergy, of monasteries and convents, and of missionaries.
The Distributists' idealization of agrarian society and the ancient, seasoned, high culture that it had supported; their alienation from the ugliness and Philistinism of the machine age -- these were straight out of the long line of conservative and Romantic anti-industrialism. Their romanticized feudalism was a stable, happy, harmonious and deeply spiritual society in which the Church was paramount and the peasants and artisans were secure and free. Craftsmanship made every man an artist, and every object of daily use a work of art; beauty, meaning and value infused all of daily life. What was new was their specific identification of the peasant (and secondarily of the artisan and urban tradesman) as the ideal type. They abandoned the glorious ideal of chivalry that had provided an heroic alternative to the rather mean and modest bourgeois.
On the other side, socialists, from St.-Simon to Wells and Shaw, were indifferent to the cultural vacuum of the machine age. They were bothered by the ugliness only insofar as it was bound up with poverty, and therefore (they believed) with the injustices and inefficiencies of private ownership of the means of production. They looked to the future, and saw the final culmination of the machine age, which would be orderly, hygienic, rational, scientific, efficient, etc. etc. -- but, from the reactionary point of view, even more soulless and inhuman than the present. It was against this notion of progress, as much as the concentration of wealth and power, that the Distributists revolted.
It is easy -- perhaps too easy -- to dismiss the naive and reactionary side of Distributism. Enamored of the ideal of the freeholding peasant, they were doomed to the futility of archaism. Their Romantic medievalism was, despite their best intentions and efforts, incompatible with modern conditions. We are far too numerous, and our material standards of living are far too high, for subsistence farming and handicrafts to have more than a marginal existence anymore. This presents us with two problems: that of projecting a spiritual and esthetic vision, not onto the medieval past, but onto the technological present and future; and that of more widely distributing the ownership of large industrial enterprises.
The second problem is actually fairly easy to solve. Minor changes in the tax code created the IRA and 401(k), and now more than half of all Americans have become stockholders -- without, apparently, anyone intending to effect a revolution in the pattern of capital ownership. Of course this is only a beginning, but a very hopeful one. We can look forward to a day when the great majority of people own capital and derive a significant proportion of their income from it; and ultimately, perhaps, a day when just about everyone lives on dividends, all work is done by machines, and no one is ever sentenced to a life of drudgery. This requires the separation of ownership and management, and is, therefore, imperfect from the Distributists' point of view; but it makes possible a more desirable outcome: a society in which the determining number are rentiers -- gentlemen of leisure, capable of sustaining a far higher level of culture than a peasantry.
© 2000 by Karl Jahn
Pension fund “socialism”
Louis Kelso Made Simple
Capital Ownership Group
Center for Economic and Social Justice
The Kelso Institute