Monday, July 19, 2010

Quote of the Day

It’s campaign time again in the US. The issue of how political campaigns are financed has become a popular topic in recent years, with both of the major parties accusing each other of bad practice. Everyone knows that the ability to fund political campaigns has a direct influence on political policies. Our constitutional republic is supposed to act in the interests of the several states and the people, not those of corporations, union leaders, or other groups. However, as John Médaille says, we really live in a republic of PACs. As long as organizations with large bank rolls can exert influence on our government’s policies, putting their interests over those of the people, we will remain a plutocracy.

Distributists believe economic freedom is a key component to individual freedom and justice, and widely distributed ownership of productive property is essential to economic freedom. Establishing economic freedom requires making changes to the laws and policies that give preferential treatment to the big business over the small, or otherwise inhibit the widely distributed ownership of productive property. Large corporations and organizations currently use their economic power to influence government to ensure their continued control over capital. Can Distributism be applied to limit plutocracy while still allowing the people to effectively organize together to influence the government? I believe the answer is yes.

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Government is supposed to protect the common good, however, as long as corporations and organizations with large bank accounts can pressure politicians to protect their own interests, the common good will not be served. PACs exist to represent their members’ interests to the government. I do not go as far as to say that no businesses should be able to bring their concerns to the government, but there is an inherent injustice when, for example, small farmers have to compete with huge farming corporations with equally huge bank balances. We have already seen the results of this. Small farms have been declining. This is not because they cannot compete with large farms in their local markets. Government regulations imposed at the behest of large farms makes it very difficult for the small farms to survive. This can happen in any sector of society, and has been going on for a long time.

--David W. Cooney from the post Distributism and Campaign Finance Reform (emphasis mine)

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