Redistributionism Right and Left

John Robb writes:

The global crisis continues to pick up steam and where/when it will end is anybody’s guess. It’s hard to imagine it ending well.

It didn’t have to happen. The crucial step, from what I can determine, is that we intentionally gutted the core feature of the global system’s post WW2 stability:

That the incomes of Americans rose with improvements in productivity.

That logic held between WW2 and 1974. After that, incomes were decoupled from productivity improvements. Incomes didn’t grow at all while the extra wealth generated by productivity improvements were concentrated in the capital markets.

Someone like Jim Pinkerton would say, the left redistributed from the middle class down the socio-economic scale.  And the so-called free market right redistributed up via capital markets (as Robb points out).  The reason the pro-market right ends up in redistributionism (whether intended or otherwise) is that 1)the market is a learned theory/praxis (particularly capital markets) and 2)to ground such a theory requires an organizational base, usually in the form of property.

Peter Barnes’ as well as Hernando deSoto’s work is predicated on this notion.  The expansion of property rights–rather than redistribution of income/wealth–is the fundamental insight of Catholic social and economic teaching, known as distributionism.  In integral terms, property then is the LR and the learning theory/capacity if UL and LL. In Barnes’ work is it expanded to the commons, public property, but it is the same basic insight.


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