Here is an interview from The Guardian. Blond has the ear of David Cameron, calls himself a Red Tory, and is launching a new think tank in the fall. Do his ideas translate to the US?

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Mark T. Mitchell
Mark T. Mitchell teaches political theory at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. He is the author Michael Polanyi: The Art of Knowing and The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place, and Community in a Global Age (Potomac Books, 2012). He is co-editor of another book titled, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. Currently he is writing a book on private property. In 2008-9, while on sabbatical at Princeton University, he and Jeremy Beer hatched a plan to start a website dedicated to political decentralism, economic localism, and cultural regionalism. A group of like-minded people quickly formed around these ideas, and in March 2009, FPR was launched. Although he was raised in Montana and still occasionally longs for the west, he lives in Virginia with his wife, three sons and one daughter where they are in the process of turning a few acres into a small farm.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Everything sounds so very practical and good and then, the sentence about a “Recent appointment to a major think tank” rears its ugly head and then, all bets are off. Slow Death By Think Tank. The graveyard epithet of the Timid New World.

  2. No, Phillip Blond is basically a academic nonentity and therefore a glorified spin doctor. What he says at the moment it will have as much to do with the next Conservative government as compassionate conservatism in the US had to do with the War on Terror.

  3. The great thing about Phillip Blond is that as someone who has been trained as a philosopher he asks the simple but important question “What is the point, or purpose of this.” Like an earlier predecessor R. H. Tawney, the English economic historian, did in his 1931 book “Equality.”, Phillip Blond asks us what is the function, or purpose, of an economy and he tells us it is straight forward. It is to allow all to flourish. However, in the case of the mixed market and state economic systems in developed countries he declares most of them to have turned out not to be like this but to be a mixed blessing. The Invisible Hand of Adam Smith he states has produced some great benefits but also some pretty horrendous social dysfunction statistics with the United States being the worse closely followed by Britain. Clearly he says something is wrong. Capitalism is meant to be a mechanism for matching and meeting people’s needs. It is manifestly failing to do this when you get a huge recession like the Sub-Prime Crash. What is the point he asks of all this Rugged Individualism when it results in a stupid out-of-control greed that crashes economies. What is the point of a capitalism that makes so many dependent upon and subservient to the state for welfare because it doesn’t adequately provide? Phillip Blond’s answer to his questions is as you all know to devolve and decentralize capital so that individuals can have more control and financial security in their lives, in other words to have a better chance of flourishing. Remarkably he has done this as a Christian who has finally rebelled against all those Christians of the past and present who ease their conscience by pretending that greed is good if a businessman, or woman, is supplying goods to the market. Today we require more than trusting the Invisible Hand of a select few! As Tawney once dramatically said; “Freedom for the pike is death to the minnows!”

  4. I think I can probably be more concise about the relevance of Phillip Blond’s ideas to the United States. All his ideas can in a sense be rolled up in to one. Capitalism is Ambivalent. It can be used for either social (the generous side of our natures) or sociopathic (the selfish side of our natures) purposes. The Sub-Prime Fraud induced recession and the current health care debate perfectly illustrate this ambivalence. Americans and Britons don’t do ambivalence very well but the sooner we do the better off we’ll be.

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