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Jobs of Our Own: Building a Stakeholder Society: Alternatives to the Market and the State Paperback – June 19, 2009
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About the Author
The Hon. Dr. Race Mathews has been an academic, federal M.P., state M.P., and minister and municipal councillor. He was Chief of Staff to Gough Whitlam as Opposition Leader in the Australian Parliament 1967-1972, and to Opposition Leaders in the Victorian Parliament 1976-1979. He has written and spoken widely on aspects of politics and public policy, including distributism and mutualism. He is currently undertaking a church history doctoral study of distributism in Australia.
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However, the last part of the book concentrated too much on Mondragon as if it was the ultimate example of Distributism. Although it is a good model, it is my opinion that Mondragon is becoming too monolithic and becoming part of the problem and that is the socio-economic plague of Global Capitalism. Finally, on Mondragon, it also has seem to move away from its roots in Catholic Social & Moral teachings. For me, that is another nail in the coffin of the Mondragon model.
It is also my opinion that there are many other areas, like guilds, of Distributism that must be investigated and implemented. There also must be a study of other business models that could be incorporated into Distributism.
What I am saying is there is not any one model, at the exclusion of all other models, that could be used as a model for Distributism. Plus, if any model does not incorporate Catholic Moral and Social teachings into it, they are not models that could be use.
Despite this source of disappointment however, this is a very useful book and a great contribution to a discussion gaining ever more currency these days in democratic socialist circles, especially in the UK (probably sparked off by the Conservative Party's alarming appropriation of traditionally centre-left, cooperativist ideas as part of their 'Big Society' rhetoric), about how new emancipatory approaches to work, control and property might be advanced that avoid, or at least minimise the inhumanity often produced by the twin behemoths of state and market. In a certain revival of the spirit of Proudhon, there is a growing interest among social-democratic libertarians, especially in the Anglo-saxon world, in ideas such as those Prof. Matthews explores in this book and it will be interesting to see how far mutualist and distributionist ideas manage to extend themselves into future Labour Party manifestos. I expect more work in this vein will follow, over the next few years, to close the gaps in the existing literature. As a useful complement to this text, I would also recommend that interested parties read Kevin A. Carson's 'Studies in Mutualist Political Economy' for a more theoretical discussion of some of these issues.