Friday, 24 May 2024

Towards a ‘Distributist’ Economy
As we have pointed out in an earlier article the idea, that a greater spread of business ownership throughout the workforce would improve productivity, personal happiness and the spread of wealth, is a key principle in National Liberal economic thinking.
That is why we welcomed the recent comments from the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg in favour of a ‘John Lewis’ economy. Although we have our differences e.g. over Europe, tuition fees and sticking to pledges, on this point we can agree. What he meant by that phrase was an increase in the number of employee owned companies, largely through share ownership. Unlike the PM’s support for greater shareholder control (which would primarily still be absentee investors), a firm like John Lewis is a form of cooperative. It is a little known secret but there are already there are over 1.4 million Co-operatives across the globe, with over 1 billion members. In the UK there are 5,450 independent co-operative businesses in the UK, working in all parts of the economy, a small but significant force (see

Go further
We would go further than the Lib Dems and support a whole-scale move towards a ‘Self-employed, Partnership and Co-operative economy’ i.e. A ‘Distributist’ economy. All of them are examples of worker ownership, the former a ‘pure’ one being sole owners but, where the business requires numbers, then a co-operative fulfils the principle.
We would also go further than Nick Clegg and ensure that the tax system operates to favour Co-operatives and the self-employed. This is a solution to our long term prosperity that ‘Liberals’ (National or otherwise) can get behind. If you fall within the above economic sector let us know what you think?
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