Thursday, 18 October 2018

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Distributism As A Means of Achieving Third Way Economics (Part 3)

THIS is the third in a five part series about Distributism. The original was written by Richard Howard in 2005 and appeared on the web-site – http://www.hsnsw.asn.au/index.php – of the Humanist Society of New South Wales..

This article should be read directly on from part 1 http://nationalliberal.org/distributism-as-a-means-of-achieving-third-way-economics-part-1 and part 2 http://nationalliberal.org/distributism-as-a-means-of-achieving-third-way-economics-part-2

Distributism remains a key influence on National Liberal ideas. This is because Distributism offers social and economic self-determination for our people – or a form of personal freedom. Distributism recognises that both socialism and capitalism are very similar because both systems place the means of production into the hands of a minority at the expense of the masses. In capitalism, land and capital are controlled by a small number of powerful business people, while in socialism that same power was held by a small number of politicians. In these scenarios, the vast majority of citizens had little control over their own economic fortunes.

We invite our readers to share their thoughts when this article is reproduced on our Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/groups/52739504313/ It goes without saying that there are no official links between Richard Howard, the Humanist Society of New South Wales and the National Liberal Party. Readers will note that this article uses the phrase ‘Third Way.’ Here it is used in a context that distinguishes it from capitalism and socialism – indeed, it refers to an economic position that goes way beyond both capitalism and socialism.

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Distributism As A Means of Achieving Third Way Economics (Part 3)

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“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s the other way around.”
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Distributism versus socialism
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In Das Kapital, Karl Marx’s analysis of capitalism led to his Labour Theory of Value – that the value of a good or service lay exclusively in the labour required to produce it. From this premise Marx concluded that those who made a profit from employing others had unjustly appropriated the surplus value of this labour – the difference between what workers were paid and what the product of their labour was sold for. Marx’s solution was the collectivization of the means of production, distribution and exchange – including property and the elimination of the supposedly parasitic class of employers and property-owners – so that workers would all receive the benefit of this surplus value rather than have it taken from them.
While superficially sounding reasonable, we can now look back on a century of untold misery and tyranny as various efforts to implement Marx’s ideas led not only to the destruction of whole societies, but ironically to the impoverishment and death of countless millions of the very workers that Marxism purported to champion!
The oft-repeated truism is that communism is fine in theory but fails in practice, as it does not account for human nature. In fact, I would argue that this is not only arrant nonsense but almost an oxymoron!
State socialism was a failure because Marx’s analysis was flawed – because his theory was just wrong.
Valid theories work in practice. Its invalid theories that don’t work!
Understanding where Marx went wrong is central to understanding the ideological underpinnings of distributism because the founders of the movement – Belloc, Chesterton and others – were themselves mostly socialists who developed distributism in response to the theoretical problems which they had come to see Marx’s analysis.
The most fundamental issue is the Labour Theory of Value.
That doing work is a path to improving value cannot be disputed. To take wood and brick and concrete and tiles and build a house creates a product that has greater value than that of the materials that comprise it. That making a pair of shoes from leather and stitching creates a product, which obviously has more value than the leather and stitches themselves. That creating steel out of iron ore produces a product of much greater value than the simple cost of its constituents is equally self-evident. In each case, the added ingredient is labour. So far, so good for Marx.
But let’s take this analysis a little further. How is this increased value realized? Only at the point of sale.
Up to the point when someone else is prepared to hand over the cash, that house, that steel bar, that pair of shoes has an expected value, but the value is only actually set at the point of sale. Between building a house and selling it, interest rates could rise and demand for housing drop, lowering its expected value. Between mining iron ore and smelting, new producers could flood the market with product, decreasing price by increasing supply relative to demand. In the time it takes to make several hundred pairs of shoes, fashions could change or an early start of summer shift demand to open sandals, decreasing the value of the cobbler’s shoes.
The common factor in all cases is demand. Labour contributes to value but it is demand that sets it.
And what if a deranged cobbler made two hundred left shoes rather than a hundred pairs of shoes? Labour and material contributions are the same but try to sell them and he’ll quickly discover that two hundred left shoes have a fraction of the value of one hundred pairs.
Once again all that differs is demand. Since most people have two feet, most demand is for pairs of shoes!
If demand rather than labour content is the basis of value, then Marx’s whole edifice falls apart. Employers, salesmen and property owners aren’t necessarily exploiting workers, because if demand and not labour is the basis of value, their activities are contributing to demand just as much as workers.
If the bourgeoisie aren’t by definition parasitic exploiters, then the whole concept of class warfare becomes a nonsense.
If class warfare is a nonsense then what can revolution achieve except cruelty, injustice and a changing of ruling elites?
Yet, if Marx’s analysis is wrong, the very real issues that he sought to address remain unanswered.
In an age in which State socialism has been discredited, the tendency is to see this as a vindication of what went before, to simply throw the baby out with the bathwater.
That it is untrue to say that employers, landlords and middlemen necessarily exploit workers is not to say that their involvement is exclusively beneficial. That the value of a good or service is not solely based on its labour content is not to say that, all other factors being equal, it does not substantially derive from it.
And most importantly, while I argue it is false to claim that surplus value is unjustly appropriated by those employers, landlords and middlemen who are contributing to the value of a good or service, it is undoubtedly true that those who work for them, rent from them or sell to them would be financially better off if they could keep the financial benefit of this transaction – the surplus value – for themselves.
This in a nutshell is what distributism is all about.
Distributism is not trying to make the poor rich by making the rich poor, but empowering the poor and the not-so-rich to accumulate more of the demand-based value of their labour, more of the demand-based value of their produce, more of the demand-based value of their accommodation.
Achieving this by giving as many people as possible the means to employ themselves or own dividend-paying equity in their employer, to have the opportunity to sell their produce directly to consumers and to be able to buy their own home is distributism’s aim.
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Trump Isn’t Another Hitler. He’s Another Obama. (Part 4)

THIS IS THE LAST in a series of articles looking at current US President, Donald Trump. Written by Caitlin Johnstone for the US on-line publication Medium – https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/trump-isnt-another-hitler-he-s-another-obama-51ea7db498b4 – the broad thrust of her argument is that Trump is no different to Obama as they’re both in hoc to the US Military-Industrial complex.

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The only real difference between Trump and Obama is that of presentation. Obama was media savvy and media friendly. Trump, on the other hand, is not. He’s abrasive, straight talking and to the point. He’s politically incorrect and appears that he runs the White House like he runs his personal businesses.

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However, he’s just the latest in a long line of presidents – both Republican and Democrat – who works for the Yankee Dollar. As President, he’s a mere figurehead. The real power resides with the US Military-Industrial complex. They’re pulling the strings and are responsible for the never-ending round of US imperialist adventures. They claim that they act to preserve the US way of life, freedom and democracy. But this is a lie – they’re only making the world safe for big business.

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This article should be read directly on from part I http://nationalliberal.org/trump-isn%27t-another-hitler-he%27s-another-obama-part-1 part 2 http://nationalliberal.org/trump-isn’t-another-hitler-he’s-another-obama-part-2 and part 3 http://nationalliberal.org/trump-isn’t-another-hitler-he’s-another-obama-part-3 It goes without saying that there are no official links between Caitlin Johnstone, Medium and the National Liberal Party. If you wish to comment on this article, check out our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/52739504313/

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Trump Isn’t Another Hitler. He’s Another Obama. (Part 4)

These young people really are our best new humans. They are so committed to the highest interest that they would put aside their self-interest to do so. Do you know how rare that quality is in a human? And these young people are being taken from us young, whether that be by death or by destroying their beautiful minds as they are warped by the war machine into thinking that evil is good. Taken and used to pump up the egos of a selfish few.

In a healthy culture, the highest interest would dictate the desires of these young men and women. Unfortunately, the “highest interest” which should be assessed by the will of the people, is not being heard. It is not being enacted. The will of the people has repeatedly said that it does not want to send these young people off to kill another country’s young people to shore up the share portfolios of a few cancerous beings. The will of the people consistently says no to that, but it has been corralled by a small group of bloodthirsty vampires, parasites who will happily lay any amount of young bodies to waste to win their tiny dick battles until they are finally satisfied with the amount of zeroes on their bank statements.

Spolier alert: they never will be.

Americans talk about “seeing through the partisan bullshit” of US politics like it’s some kind of magical superpower, but it’s not. Both parties act in slightly different ways toward the exact same ends, working together like the jab-cross combinat ion of a boxer (1) to advance the same warmongering, corporatist oligarchic agendas, and there’s no reason to believe any of them about anything. America has two corpratist war parties who serve a plutocratic class of elites; one of them wears a cowboy hat, the other has pink hair. That’s it. That’s all you need to see to free yourself from the illusion.

Please stop attacking one another for the evils that have been inflicted on you by this small group of sociopaths, America. Stop buying into the two-party good cop/bad cop schtick that the elites use to turn urban Americans against rural Americans and turn your anger toward your real enemies.

(1) https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/dems-and-gop-work-together-like-a-boxers- 1-2-punch-to-knock-you-out-edbbefc92bf8

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Distributism As A Means of Achieving Third Way Economics (Part 2)
THIS IS THE second part of an article written by Richard Howard way back in 2005. It originally appeared on the web-site – http://www.hsnsw.asn.au/index.php – of the Humanist Society of New South Wales.
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The National Liberal Party feels that Distributism offers a way of ensuring economic self-determination for our people. This is because Distributism regards property ownership as a fundamental right and that property and the means of production should be spread as widely as possible. This is in stark contrast to property and the means of production being controlled by the state – Socialism – or by an elite of powerful owners – Capitalism. Here, it can be seen that both Capitalism and Socialism equate to centralisation whilst Distributism equates to freedom.
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We invite our readers to share their thoughts when this article is reproduced on our Facebook site https://www.facebook.com/groups/52739504313/ It goes without saying that there are no official links between Richard Howard, the Humanist Society of New South Wales and the National Liberal Party. You can read the original article here http://hsnsw.asn.au/Distributism.html Readers will note that this article uses the phrase ‘Third Way.’ Here it is used in a context that distinguishes it from capitalism and socialism – indeed, it refers to an economic position that goes way beyond both capitalism and socialism.

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Distributism As A Means of Achieving Third Way Economics (Part 2)

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“Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s the other way around.”
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Distributism Defined
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Distributism is a political philosophy based on the contention that a just and sustainable social order can only exist in which the ownership of property and the means of production, distribution and exchange are widespread.

The Distributist Movement thus seeks to achieve this end both by means of the democratic political process and by non-state mutual organizations of individuals that facilitate widespread private ownership through not-for-profit lending for private purchase and co-operative enterprise.

In Britain of the 1920s and 30s, the distributists sought the restoration of family and individual liberty by a revival of smallholder agriculture and small business and an end to grasping landlords, by attacking monopolies and trusts and denouncing what they saw as anonymous and usurious control of finance.

Opposed to laissez-faire capitalism, which distributists argued leads to a concentration of ownership in the hands of a few and to state-socialism in which private ownership is denied altogether, distributism was conceived as a genuine Third Way, opposing both the tyranny of the marketplace and the tyranny of the state, by means of a society of owners.

Like socialism, distributism is concerned with improving the material lot of the poorest and most disadvantaged. Unlike socialism, which advocated state ownership of property and the means of production, distributism seeks to devolve or widely distribute that control to individuals within society, rejecting what it saw as the twin evils of plutocracy and bureaucracy.

Early 20th century distributism saw the concentration of ownership in a few hands as the primary source of social ills but saw the removal of control from all private hands as even worse.

Subsequent history certainly seems to have supported their contention.
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The National Liberal Party Says Shop Local In Alford!

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Trump Isn’t Another Hitler. He’s Another Obama. (Part 3)
THIS IS the third of a four-part series looking at US President Donald Trump. It was written by Caitlin Johnstone for the US on-line publication Medium. You can read the original – and full – article here: https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/trump-isnt-
Caitlin Johnstone believes that – at heart – there’s not much difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama, especially when it comes to foreign policy. The NLP agrees with this view. Indeed, we feel that many of America’s politicians are in the
pocket of the US Military-Industial complex. And the sole aim of the US Military-Industrial complex is to impose the ‘American way’ (rampant capitalism, crass materialism and consumerism) on sovereign nations, by any means necessary.

Recently, the Middle East has been on the receiving end of this form of US imperialism. Iraq and Libya have been made ‘safe’ but Syria has proven to be a harder nut to crack. Now the US the Military-Industrial complex has Iran in its sights.

It doesn’t matter who’s in ‘charge’ of America – it was Obama, it’s now Trump and it might have been the ‘War Hag’ herself, Hillary Clinton – the result is always the same. Indeed, as Caitlin Johnstone has noted elsewhere:

As I’ve been saying all year, Plan A for the US-centralized empire is not to do to Iran what was done to Iraq; Plan A is to do to Iran what was done to Libya and Syria. It’s important to be clear on this so we know what to watch for. The modern approach to destroying a noncompliant government is to use sanctions, propaganda, covert ops and alliances with extremist factions to plunge the disobedient nation into chaos, all of which this administration is currently doing. This is far more efficient and media-friendly than a full-scale ground invasion and the regular deliveries of flag-draped coffins which necessarily come with it. The antiwar movement needs to adapt skillfully to opposing a form of warfare which relies more on drones and CIA ops than the traditional forms of conventional warfare, because they are just as deadly and devastating, as a swift glance at Libya and Syria makes evident.
You’d think for all their perfectly justified hatred of Obama’s warmongering, the populist right would do a better job of spottingthose exact same patterns re-emerging in the current administration, especially when some of those patterns involve a group Hillary Clinton herself took off the US terrorist list.’

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Trump Isn’t Another Hitler. He’s Another Obama. (Part 3)

It doesn’t really matter who the President of the United States is. It was Obama, it’s now Trump and it might have been Hillary ‘War Hag’ Clinton. They all serve the the US Military-Industial complex.

THE MAGA crowd tells me their guy has de-escalated the Syrian situation in an attempt to paint him as less pro-war than his predecessor, but that’s not even true either. Until US troops actually leave Syria, all this administration has done is kill a bunch of people (many of the civilians)(1), occupy parts of a sovereign nation, and refuses to leave. Why are those troops still there when Syria and its allies are perfectly capable of handling any remaining traces of ISIS as they have been? No good reason, that’s for sure.


This is not the fault of the American people, the American people consistently vote against interventionist wars (as evidenced by the fact that winning presidential candidates have to campaign against them), and while they may be guilted by the tribe into flag-waving once the troops are there, they consistently say no to every request for consent for more empire-building wars. In my recent article (2) about how the CNN/CIA narrative is running the same script for Iran as they did for Libya and
Syria, most of the pushback I received was from good people who wanted to make sure I knew that they didn’t consent to military intervention, they were simply offering their support for the people of Iran.

Which is about as naïve and sweet as a kid wanting to help the nice old man find his puppy. I understand you wanting to help find the puppy America, but for God’s sake please don’t get in that man’s van.

So the will of the American people has been heard loud and clear. They do not consent to more regime change wars and more military interventions. They do not want that.

Through the trickery of the mainstream media though, they are paced by fear-mongering and guilting into a reluctant, bargaining, “Well okay then…” consent which is quickly turned into flag-waving enthusiasm because you have to support your
troops, don’tchaknow? And I get that! Everyone knows a seriveman or woman; you don’t want to make them feel sad or like their life is being wasted. That’s such a tragedy! Who wants to make that conscious?

Let’s be clear, too; the troops are often from some of the finest of working and middle-class families across the States, families whose strong sense of morality about right and wrong led their young sons and daughters to make the courageous decision to enter the armed forces. These young men and women were born with the most exemplary of desires. They want to make the world a better place and they are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to do so. People love these families and
they love their children.

(1) https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/08/america-is-bombing-the-hell-out-of-syrian-civilians/
(2) https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/us-empire-is-running-the-same-script-with-iran-that-it-ran-with-libya-syria-2bb37b5c5af

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Liberty & Nation Says Scrap The Cap!

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Liberty & Nation Says Scrap The Cap!

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THE NATIONAL LIBERAL PARTY has long campaigned against the Tory 1% pay cap imposed on Britain’s public sector workers. Indeed, over the past year we’ve produced several special e-posters to highlight the plight of nurses, paramedics and other NHS workers.


In March of this year, health workers got the news that they would get a 6.5% pay rise over three years. This would work out at 3% in 2018-19 and then 1.7 percent in both of the following years. They would also get a 1.1% lump sum in the second year. Those at the very bottom of the NHS pay scale would get a higher increase.

This news was applauded by many, but we need to look beyond the headlines to get the full picture. With this in mind, we quote from the Scrap The Cap Facebook site – https://www.facebook.com/ScrapTheCapNHS/posts/1926224284263746 – which has long argued that the pay cap has effectively served as a pay cut for workers in the National Health Service:

‘In an age of pay restraint which has lasted longer than World War II, the real value of our salaries has fallen by over 14% since 2010. It is little wonder that there are more than 78,000 vacancies in NHS England alone.

This is unsustainable.

It is clear that the government is not listening. Despite the attempts of trade union negotiators, the Department of Health has stuck to its guns in refusing to scrap the 1% pay cap.

We call on all our health unions to ballot their members over this derisory 1% pay offer. While taking industrial action is a last resort, given the lack of movement from the government, we feel that we have reached that point.

Some of us are turning to food banks and pay day loans just to make ends meet. As the service staggers from one crisis to the next, staff shortages are plugged by underpaid workers picking up extra shifts.

We cannot go on like this.

If we want to stand up for the service, we must also stand up for ourselves.’

Although this was obviously written before the pay increase announcement in March, we feel that the above text provides valuable context and explains why NHS staff were so opposed to this particular Tory policy.

Many Health Care workers are in two minds about the Tory offer.

On the one hand there’s enormous relief that the government has seen sense. It has seemingly acknowledged the worth and value of NHS workers and has seen fit (in financial terms) to recognise this. Indeed, some unions like Unison have recommended that staff accept the offer – http://www.unison-scotland.org/2018/06/25/unison-scotland-recommends-yes-vote-in-nhs-pay-offer/ – and will announce the result of the vote sometime after the middle of next month.

On the other hand, some folks smell a rat. Unsurprisingly they wouldn’t trust Theresa May (or any other Tory for that matter!) as far as they could throw her. They’re wondering if this pay award will come with strings attached, such as extra work or a change in working conditions. Indeed, will the government give with one hand and take away with the other?

For the moment the jury is out. However, one thing is clear to Liberty & Nation – the voice of the National Liberal Party – and that’s the National Health Service is not safe in the hands of the Tories. The vast majority of Britons deeply appreciate the NHS. They still want it to be ‘free at the point of delivery.’

However, others don’t share this view and regard the NHS as a potential future cash cow – especially if many services are Privatised. These people have no love or loyalty for either their people or nation. They only love themselves and their only loyalty is to money.

It is against this background that the National Health Service recently celebrated its 70th anniversary. If the NHS is to survive another 70 years everyone both the general public and NHS workers will have to remain vigilant.

• Also check out:

From The Liberty Wall – National Liberal Trade Unionists – Scrap The Cap! http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-national-liberal-trade-unionists-%e2%80%93-scrap-the-cap

Caledonian Voice Says Scrap The Pay Cap For Scottish Public Sector Workers! http://nationalliberal.org/caledonian-voice-says-scrap-the-pay-cap-for-scottish-public-sector-workers

English Voice Says Scrap The Pay Cap For English Public Sector Workers! http://nationalliberal.org/english-voice-says-scrap-the-pay-cap-for-english-public-sector-workers

Ulster Voice Says Scrap The Pay Cap For Ulster’s Public Sector Workers! http://nationalliberal.org/ulster-voice-says-scrap-the-pay-cap-for-ulster%e2%80%99s-public-sector-workers

Welsh Voice Says Scrap The Pay Cap For Welsh Public Sector Workers! http://nationalliberal.org/welsh-voice-says-scrap-the-pay-cap-for-welsh-public-sector-workers

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