Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jay Walljasper — The Conservative Case for a Commons Way of Life

“There is less difference than many suppose between the ideal socialist system, in which the big businesses are run by the state, and the present capitalist system, in which the state is run by the big businesses. They are much nearer to each other than either is to my own ideal; of breaking up the big businesses into a multitude of small businesses.”
— G. K. Chesterton
The Conservative Case for a Commons Way of Life
Jay Walljasper

Interesting post on Distributism, but not sure what this has to do with the commons though.


Dan Kervick said...

I hate to be such a naysayer about this kind of stuff. But the life we lead in modern economic society is incredibly complex and intricately organized, at both national and global levels; and structures of sociopolitical power and decision-making are crucial. That complex modern world world is not going away. We are not going to devolve at the global level into a more primitive form of existence, and so many and varied contemporary dissident dreams of bucolic decentralization, cooperative utopias, gifting and sharing, informal commons life and rustic shire-style primitivism are escapist fantasies. It's not that these simpler, alternative forms of economic organizaion can play no role; and it's not that they don't already play some role. It's just that they are not going to displace the main flow of organized complexity and sophisticated exercises of power.

It's a sometimes scary, irremediably complicated world we live in. That world is not going away. If people don't like various aspects of it, and oppose features of the oppression, explotation and degradation to which it sometimes gives rise, then they need to grow up, drop the bohemian pipe dreams and think about better ways of organizing the world, and about the mobilizing the policial means for achieving those better ways, given that there are very serious and powerful people who think differently.

Tom Hickey said...

I agree, Dan, probably surprisingly to some in that change generally is rather slow, iterative, and incremental. Except at major turning points, generally as a result of some significant shock to the status quo. This is a lively possibility now, for several reasons that we are all acquainted with.

But radicals have a role to play as visionaries and experimenters, too.

Roger Erickson said...

His actual statements may be grossly simplistic, & about limiting conditions, but his thesis seems to be a useful discussion point which is quite relevant.

One limit: the 99% will eventually exert tighter tolerance limits on the Robber Barons

Second limit: recurring Robber Barons will always seek to put tighter tolerance limits on the pesky 99%.

It's not a stretch to say that the two views aren't that far apart, from a systems view. It is, however, still a stretch to say that any human culture has a lock on finding sub-methods to permanently capture and capture more optimal coordination methods.

The more we grow, the more subtle the tuning process is. This task will presumably never end. It will only get more refined, in the intervals between resets.

Anything between local wars and the next Big Bang, er Big Probability Event.

For once I agree with Dan Kervick. These are the interesting times we have to live in. Just have to make the best of it for both ourselves and our 7th generation yet unborn .... by any means possible.