From local economic development bodies to President Trump, many folks have bought into the idea that the new Holy Trinity of science, technology, and industry (to use Wendell Berry’s words), especially as embodied in large corporations, is the key to obtaining a good life for a community. But this is not so, for a number of reasons. Let us look at a few.
First, the large corporate model excels in specialization, so that each worker has only a few tasks to repeat throughout the day. This is harmful to the body and the mind: the body, as it stands or sits most of the day in the same position; the mind, as it generally remains idle, thinking little, deciding little.
Second, and related to the first in some ways, it is stressful. There are reasons why the population of the States is so heavily medicated, and this economic system is one of them. From rush hour traffic, to the uncertainty of one’s employment, to the never-ending competition with other companies and even with one’s own co-workers, mankind following this way of life is bombarded with tension on such a regular basis that he is falling to pieces before our eyes.
Third, it is ugly. Concrete and metal rectangles all across the landscape do not reflect the beauty that flows from God the All-Holy Trinity (the True Holy Trinity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost) and cannot lead us to Him, Who is our life.
Fourth, large corporations generally uphold causes that are contrary to Christianity. For instance, all the corporate ‘anchors’ that cities are so eager to attract nowadays, like Best Buy, State Farm, IBM, Ford Motor Co. - even companies that have a Bible Belt heritage like Wal-Mart and CenturyLink - received a perfect or very high score from the pro-lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender (LGBT) Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index in 2017 for their support of the LGBT lifestyle, as reflected in their policies regarding benefits, training, hiring, and so on (The Index may be read here: http://www.hrc.org/campaigns/corporate-equality-index).
Fifth, their ruthless pursuit of profits leads to an obsession with efficiency, which in its turn leads to a dehumanization of the worker (his being treated like a machine) and his eventual replacement with robots, A. I., etc.
It is not necessary to live this way. There have been many eloquent defenders of a “third way” between corporate capitalism and communism (which are two sides of the same Godless, materialist coin): the English Distributists like Chesterton and Belloc, the Southern Agrarians like Andrew Lytle, Richard Weaver, and the aforementioned Wendell Berry, and other voices like Allan Carlson, Rev William Barnes of Dorset, and Wilhelm Roepke. What they advocate is a return to the wide distribution of productive property amongst the people: land, tools, machines, small shops, etc., which would secure a livelihood to them in a manner much more humanely than Big Government and Big Business (again, two wings of the same bird) can provide.
But it is necessary not simply to put the property in their hands, but to make sure it does not easily leave them. If it can be easily alienated from them, then the corporate system will be revived without much effort. Some sort of legal protection is needed. A good ensample that could serve as a blueprint of sorts is found in Leviticus chapter 25, where land could be lost or sold if one fell into debt and so on, but it would return to the owner every fiftieth year, the Year of Jubilee:
‘And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family’ (v. 10, KJV).
Giant corporatism is not the way to the good life. We have tried to sketch a few features of both above, but the last word on this matter needs to go to Father Seraphim Rose of blessed memory who described what he called the “Old Order” in the little book Nihilism. His description will make for a fine guidepost as we try to get there:
‘The Old Order was the soil, nourished by Christian Truth, in which men had their roots. Its laws and institutions, and even its customs, were founded in that Truth and dedicated to teaching it; its buildings were erected to the glory of God and were a visible sign of His Order upon earth; even the generally "primitive" (but natural) living conditions served (unintentionally, of course) as a reminder of man's humble place here, of his dependence upon God for even the few earthly blessings he possessed, and of his true home which lies beyond this "vale of tears," in the Kingdom of Heaven. Effective war against God and His Truth requires the destruction of every element of this Old Order . . .’ (St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 2009, p. 75, copied from http://oodegr.co/english/filosofia/nihilism_root_modern_age.htm#IV., opened 23 Jan. 2017).
Holy Ælfred the Great, King of England, South Patron, pray for us sinners at the Souð!
Anathema to the Union!