Sunday, May 29, 2011

Capital Kills Its Own Market - Hilaire Belloc

Hilaire BellocImage via Wikipedia

Some quotes from Hilaire Belloc, in an essay re-published recently in The Distributist Review:

Those are the two principal material disadvantages of capitalism as we now have it. They are translated, in the actual world, into the terms “Unemployment” and “Insufficient purchasing power.” So long as control is in few hands and gets into fewer and fewer hands-these evils must grow larger and larger.

But the spiritual disadvantages of control by few and yet fewer men, over the process of production, transport and the rest, are  even worse than the material disadvantages.

These spiritual disadvantages take three main forms. First there is loss of choice.....

Second ... is the counterpart of this: an increasing uniformity in the pattern of existence.....

The third ... is that the mass of men fall under the will of a few.....

On the loss of the habit of economic freedom:

When any bad process begins there is, in its first stages, a memory, a tradition, of better things. The old and better state of affairs still possesses what physical science calls “acquired momentum.” So it is with freedom when monopoly of control is growing up. All the older people can remember real competition and a fairly good division of property.

A human generation is short. When it has lost what it once knew, habit turns the new conditions into matters of course till the new conditions come to seem almost part of the universe. At least it becomes impossible for men to imagine what the older and better state of affairs was like.

Now this habit in any evil, but especially the habit of dependence, is what makes evil permanent; and as things are now going there is a rapidly increasing dangers that his condition of dependence upon a few, and of accepting monopoly of control over our lives, will become second nature. If we allow that to happen by allowing the gradual decay of individual property and freedom to continue unchecked, it will be impossible to return. That is the real danger when we pass the point after which reform becomes practically impossible because the mind cannot conceive it.

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