Friday, July 29, 2016

An Economic Third Way

For many in the South and elsewhere, the arrival of international corporations to a town is looked upon as a joyful moment; ‘Now economic progress can REALLY begin!’, they think to themselves.

Not only is this not the case, but these corporations, whose loyalty is to themselves alone, also bring with them agendas that deliberately undermine the traditions of the ‘backwards’ locals.

 . . .

Where a few decades ago one heard in the globalist agenda the names of Rockefeller and Rothschild, today one hears more often Goldman Sachs. As the Australian columnist Angus Whitely, in the above quoted article, also commented, Goldman Sachs is filling political positions in the USA and elsewhere. Craig Isherwood of the Citizens Electoral Council of Australia, when commenting on Turnbull becoming Prime Minister in October 2015, stated that his background with Goldman Sachs is a “black mark”, the bank having a record of causing “misery and economic destruction throughout the world”. The Greek debt crisis is cited as an example. (“Is Malcolm Turnbull another Goldman Sachs hit man?”,

Goldman Sachs does not hide its role as a factor in politics. Goldman Sachs Australia and New Zealand states that its “corporate advisory team” advises corporations and governments. Goldman Sachs in what is called among plutocrats “good corporate citizenship” is proactive in engineering social change.

In the world of corporate globalism “social change” is inherently whatever destroys the traditional foundations of a society, with the aim of creating a world without boundaries, where people, resources and capital can be moved internationally without hindrance. Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, is particularly noted for his homosexual advocacy. In 2012 he joined the Human Right Campaign to support same-sex marriage. Jason Farago, writing for The Guardian was scathing of Blankfein’s pro-gay activism, questioning its sincerely, and regarding it as a PR stunt:

“As Karl Rove taught us in 2004, same-sex marriage is an uncommonly useful tool to distract citizens from questions of economic justice or political responsibility. Eight years later, the public view of equal rights for gays and lesbians has shifted. But the use value of same-sex marriage in the political sphere remains: it shifts the focus of political discourse away from tougher, more fundamental questions of economics and power. And in this moment of anti-elitist consolidation, that is just as the lords of finance would like”. (Jason Farago, “Goldman Sachs’s CEO shows gay marriage is a no-risk trade”, The Guardian, 7 February 2012,

Malcolm Turnbull, like New Zealand’s John Key, imbibed the liberal moral relativism that is an essential part of corporate culture which the plutocrats avidly promote across the world. As Blankfein stated when endorsing same-sex marriage, “equality is just good for business”. Turnbull has a specific focus in promoting same sex marriage. (See: Turnbull has long been an outspoken supporter of abortion liberalisation, while touting his Catholic background. (“Turnbull defends abortion”, 8 November 2008,

Turnbull is also an avid Republican, having served as Chairman of the Australian Republican Movement. Such traditions as monarchy are seen an anachronistic in the “progressive” world of globalisation, where trading blocs are to take the place of blocs based on shared culture and ethnic kinship.

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But groveling at the feet of the corporate oligarchs for jobs is not the only option for those who oppose the communist, government-controlled model.  There is still the distributist model of wide-spread ownership of productive property.  Here is what Dr Ovidiu Hurduzeu, a Romanian economist and advocate of distributism, had to say about it in a recent interview (note: the reference below to ‘Christian-orthodox’ is another way of saying ‘Orthodox Christian’):

Why distributism?

To understand the importance of distributism, we need to compare it to both communism and capitalism, the two systems that distributism is opposed to. In a distributist society there is wide and equitable distribution of property and ownership. In communism you have collective ownership and collective redistribution of property. People do not have economic freedom; they are wage-slaves to the state. In the so called "free, democratic and capitalist" society, the capital, and most of the property, belong to a small class called ‘capitalists’, while the mass of the citizens are obliged to work for the few capitalists in return for a wage. Distributism does not separate ownership and work any longer. It seeks to establish an economic and social order, where most people have real, debt-free productive property. (In capitalism, the "property" of the common person is mortgaged or purchased on credit; it is merely a rented good). In practical terms a distributist order is achieved through the widespread dissemination of family-owned businesses, employee ownership, cooperatives, and any other arrangement resulting in well-divided property.

 . . .

What distributist principles of organizing an economy are most suitable to the orthodox countries? Is a "Christian-orthodox economy" still possible?

A Christian-orthodox economy is not only possible; it is the only way that could lead to the transformation of our societies for the better. When communism collapsed, the liberals injected the virus of a plutocratic economy and rampant individualism into our societies. If communists dispossessed the populace in the name of collective ownership and a communal monopoly, the liberals created a dispossessed "lonely crowd" that was forced to work for subsistence wages in the name of the "free market". Both communism and the "new capitalists" instituted master-slave relations in the former Soviet bloc. That is unacceptable from a Christian point of view. As Christians, we cannot accept the neoliberal tenet that "there is no such thing as society" (Margaret Thatcher). Individualism and ruthless competition are utterly unchristian. A Christian orthodox society is a cooperative one in which loving our neighbors is the norm, and the common rules are enforced in a way that maximizes personal responsibility. Due to their communal organization, there was simply no poverty among the first Christians; they had no fear of becoming slaves in order to support themselves. Today, a distributist society should challenge the neo-liberal economic model in the way the cooperative society of the first Christians challenged the slave-based economic order of the Roman Empire. We are not talking here about idealism, utopia or socialist solutions in the form of welfare and punitive taxation. We do not want to repeat the cycle of disempowerment and dependency. We need to provide the conditions for social justice through a widespread distribution of property, the remoralization of the markets, and recapitalization of the poor.

Does Romania have an intellectual tradition of non-liberal economic thought? What value does this heritage have for today's economists?

Indeed, Romania had a solid intellectual tradition of non-liberal economic thought. A mention must be made to the agrarian economists Virgil Madgearu (one of the leaders of the National Peasant Party), Mircea Vulcanescu (one of Romania's greatest thinkers ever, he died in prison as a Christian martyr), and Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, the founder of the ecological economy. They belong to different economic schools and yet they share the same fondness for agrarian and Christian values. Today's Romanian economists are too busy following orders from the West to pay any attention to the great Romanian economists of the past.

How can the distributist principles be implemented in real economic policies? Are there any political forces in Romania that want to bring the distributist ideas into reality?

The country needs a new "Green rising" to complete what the Romanian agrarians left unfinished. "If the Peasants' Party is to be victorious in elections” - wrote Virgil Madgearu – “the shape of things would be changed.” The National Bank would no longer be the economic fortress of the Liberal oligarchy. Trusts would no longer enslave and exploit the state. Their selfish and venal leaders would no longer be enthroned in overseeing positions over the country's destiny. Civil liberties, nowadays suffocated, and stolen civil rights would be fully restored, and the constitutional-parliamentary regime would become a reality, benefiting the development of popular masses as well as civilization."

Unfortunately, I do not see any real chance for Romania of adopting sweeping changes like the ones envisaged by Madgearu in the 1920’s. There are no political forces in today's Romania strong enough to challenge the dominance of liberalism.

Do you see any relevance of the distributist model to Russian society in general, and the Russian economy in particular?

I think that distributism is germane to Russian realities and not a foreign import like communism and liberalism. And it is the only economic model that can vanquish the Liberals on their own ground (the economy). Russia, like the Third Rome, should not forget the lessons of Byzantine recovery. When confronted with a series of serious crises in the 7th century, the Byzantine Empire adopted a brilliant distributist strategy. As a consequence, it went from near disintegration to being the main power in Europe and the Near East. The pillar of this strategy was the peasant-soldier who became a producer rather than consumer of the empire's wealth. Fighting for their own lands and families, soldiers performed better. As staunch Christians, the Byzantines survived by simplifying their social, political, and economic systems within the constraints of less available resources. They moved from extensive space-based development to simplified, local, intensive development. (That's the lesson the Soviet Union did not learn, and failed as a result.) "In this sense, Byzantium” - writes Joseph A. Tainter – “may be a model or prototype for our own future, in broad parameters but not in specific details."

Today's Global Empire is an integrated hyper-complex system that is very costly to human society. It has reached the limits of its expansion and faces collapse because it tries to solve its problems in the same outdated way: investing in more complexity and expansion. So far its growth has been subsidized by the availability of cheap human and natural resources, as well as a "world currency" that the Global Empire totally controls. A multipolar world and a finite planet make investment in complexity no longer a problem-solving tool – the costs exceed the benefits. If Russia could adopt distributism and follow the Byzantium-like strategies of intensive development, the Third Rome can save herself and become a genuine "prototype of our future".

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