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Toward a Truly Free Market: A Distributist Perspective on the Role of Government, Taxes, Health Care, Deficits, and More (Culture of Enterprise) Paperback – July 10, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John C. Médaille is the author of The Vocation of Business: Social Justice in the Marketplace and an instructor at the University of Dallas. He writes and lectures frequently on economics. Médaille has more than thirty years’ experience in management at large corporations and as a small businessman, and he served five terms as a city councilman in his hometown of Irving, Texas.

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Product Details

  • Series: Culture of Enterprise
  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: Intercollegiate Studies Institute; 1 edition (July 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161017027X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1610170277
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #881,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Philip Dinanzio on August 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is one you have to read to learn about the Distributive solution to modern economic problems. My previous readings on this subject consisted merely of attacks on the present system, rather than a exposition of solutions in the modern economy. That being said, I do have a few areas of disagreement:

Medaille states that money is NOT a commodity, and does not have to be based on a commodity. I think this is historically inaccurate. He correctly states that fractional reserve banking enables bankers to create money (in the form of credit) out of nothing, and lend it at interest. Rather than just abolishing this practice as fraudulent, and establishing a free banking system with a commodity backed money, he advocates that the government just print money and lend it without interest for capital projects. As long as the increase in money supply keeps pace with the increase in production, inflation will be minor. This is not a power I would want in government. Even if prices don't rise, malinvestment will still occur due to wrong saving/consumption signals. Better to have private banknotes, with government ensuring value and prosecuting fraud. (eg. One dollar= 1/32 ounce of gold/silver/etc.) This will ensure that prices reflect a real savings/consumption ratio.

He also believes that all (or most) taxation should be a 100% tax on ground rents.
In this he follows Henry George. However, a tax that appropriates all ground rent would drive the capital value of land to zero, and not produce any revenue. The separation of the value of ground rent from the capital improvements would be extremely difficult to calculate. He also ignores the fact that landlords produce a useful function of allocating land to the most efficient user. Keeping land idle produces no revenue!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an outstanding work clearly laying out a system that neither relies on the almighty state to solve problems, nor lets giant corporations take over. It favors local economies,small businesses, and empowering communities to solve their own problems. Instead of having the state take over all property (socialism) or have a situation where only the top 5% actually own anything (present day capitalism) it puts the family in the center and supports using the market not just to make money, but to distribute ownership, property, and social goods more evenly. Of course there'd still be rich and poor. Sometimes called the ownership solution, in England Red Toryism, it is most commonly associated with Catholic social teaching called Distributism, altho one needn't be Catholic or even Christian to be a distributist. Odd it hasn't been more wide spread, especially on, say, the Colbert Report; Stephen being Catholic. Actually I believe face book has a Get-distributism-on-Colbert page to spread the word. No heavy jargon, clear, realistic solutions, down to earth, a real eye opener! Lets face it - our system ain't working, its time to try something else. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
You can spot what values political types favor by what words they use frequently. Conservative capitalists make “freedom” their mantra, while progressives have recently harped on “inequality.” John Médaille insists both dominant positions get it wrong, that our magic watchword should be “justice.” Médaille’s concise, plain-English introduction to Distributism, a morally motivated economics, upends facile college bromides and forces us to ask what purpose economics serves.

Distributist economic theory begins with a deceptively simple premise: if citizens are nominally free, but lack the means of living independently, that freedom is an illusion. Systems which concentrate land, labor, and money in a scant few bureaucrats’ hands rip life’s means from citizens’ control, moving power up the political pyramid. Importantly, every “mainstream” economic system does this; capitalism and socialism make taxpayers choose which servitude system we prefer.

Médaille spends his first hundred pages examining dominant economic theories, explaining what leading thinkers systemically overlook. Political leaders pitch today’s post-collapse economic debate as between capitalism and socialism (they misuse that latter term). But Médaille insists both strip ordinary workers of agency. “Socialism,” Médaille writes, “forms sort of a natural terminus for a capitalistic system, as the interests of the state bureaucrats and the corporate bureaucrats tend to converge.”

If your undergraduate economics course resembled mine, you spent countless hours graphing the supply-demand arc or mimicking the NYSE with monopoly money.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Overall, I was impressed by the author's ability to put very complicated ideas into simple terms. Without diving into moral arguments, he illustrated why Big Business and Big Government have an interdependent relationship and explained the practical dysfunction of a boom-bust business cycle. Insofar as he was able to illustrate that, he was successful in presenting the need for subsidiarity and solidarity: essential components of Distributism.

However, there were more than a handful of off-the-cuff recommendations that weren't very well thought out. He rightfully recommended taxing "economic rent" and getting rid of a model that pits capital against labor, but he doesn't fully explain how it would be sufficient, nor does he explore the differences in mobility between capital and labor and how that relationship affects business. The real world isn't as simple as he tried to make it.

In the end, if he wasn't completely successful in illustrating alternative solutions (even if they were a breath a fresh air), he certainly opened the door to understand why our current models are broken. He certainly gave me--someone with little education in economics--a fundamental grasp on these heavy-handed topics as I engage conservatives and liberals alike.
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