John Medaille’s book, Toward a Truly Free Market: A Distributist Perspective on the Role of Government, Taxes, Health Care, Deficits, and More, is now available from ISI Books. You can see the details and purchase it here at the ISI page. Scroll down to read an interview with the author. Or you can order it from Amazon here.

Here’s the description from the ISI site:

For three decades free-market leaders have tried to reverse longstanding Keynesian economic policies, but have only produced larger government, greater debt, and more centralized economic power. So how can we achieve a truly free-market system, especially at this historical moment when capitalism seems to be in crisis?

The answer, says John C. Médaille, is to stop pretending that economics is something on the order of the physical sciences; it must be a humane science, taking into account crucial social contexts. Toward a Truly Free Market argues that any attempt to divorce economic equilibrium from economic equity will lead to an unbalanced economy—one that falls either to ruin or to ruinous government attempts to redress the balance.

Médaille makes a refreshingly clear case for the economic theory—and practice—known as distributism. Unlike many of his fellow distributists, who argue primarily from moral terms, Médaille enters the economic debate on purely economic terms. Toward a Truly Free Market shows exactly how to end the bailouts, reduce government budgets, reform the tax code, fix the health-care system, and much more.

If you have been an FPR regular, you know that John Medaille is a clear thinker and a clear writer. His new book promises to be thoughtful and thought-provoking. If you’ve been wondering about this thing called distributism, buy this book.

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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.

14 COMMENTS

  1. I was privileged to read a pre-publication version of the book (and to sing my praises on the back cover), and can attest that this book is a truly original and absolutely essential analysis of the economy. John’s great (if classical) insight is that economics is properly thought of as a branch of politics, that is, more properly as “political economy.” He rightly notes his debts to Aristotle and Aquinas in making this argument. He argues persuasively that we do not – and can not – have a “free market” in the abstract, without some kind of guiding principle of the good. A truly free market seeks to support the lives of free citizens, and thus must be guided by principles that ensure high degrees of familial and local autonomy, and which undergirds a society in which ownership of productive property is widespread. As such, John implicitly (and at points explicitly) rejects the radically individualist assumptions at the heart of neo-classical economics, just as he rejects the collectivist assumption that has been at the heart of its equally false combatant. He proposes a true human anthropology that understands us to be individuals within communities, most basically the family, as well as the neighborhood, the town, the region. Our two leading economic formulations – radical individualism and radical collectivism – today claim to exhaust the whole of economic thought. John’s book rightly rejects them both, and provides a sound, rigorous, theoretically-rich and example-filled alternative.

    The book is subtle as well as bold, and I cannot do justice here to its intricate arguments, but I strongly recommend that FPR readers buy and read this book. If there is to be an actual political movement that will get beyond the superficial sloganeering that characterizes too much of today’s politics – Left and Right – it will need clear thinking about and reform of our current economic situation along the lines of what John Medaille valuably provides in this excellent book.

  2. Patrick, thank you, once again, for your very generous comments.

    Marchmaine, I’d do that, if I understood what that meant.

    If anybody here gets XM Radio, I’ll be interviewed tomorrow morning at 8:15 EST on The Young Turks program.

  3. I’m proud to say that I ordered the book from ISI the moment it was available. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book and in particular the three fictitious commodities chapters which I’ve already several times and see as forming the backbone of the analysis. Mr. Medaille, your essays led me to FPR and your comments have always been a illuminating; congratulations on your book release! I look forward to hearing the Young Turks interview.

  4. Jason, burial procedures have been taken away from custom and handed over to positive law, a law controlled by a small group, who arrange things to their advantage. I think one commenter was worried about a “guild of casket makers” controlling the market in the same way. However, even if there were such a guild, it would be, like guilds of old, a corporate charter under public control, and people would know who to blame for outrageous costs and regulations. Knowing where to place the blame is the first step for knowing how to effect the cure.

  5. Congratulations Medaille. I suppose I’ll have to buy two copies of it. One to read and assign its proper place of infamy within the library and the other to use in walloping Cheeks from behind after he comes out to fight the fire I start in his mailbox with some Buffalo Chips and a little Kayntuck Sour Mash. I hope its thick and heavy. Cheeks is not to be merely winged, he needs rough treatment.

  6. Congratulations on publishing your book John. I look forward to getting it in the mail. Long Live Equitable Republicanism!

  7. I’ve bought the book and started reading it. The language is wonderfully clear and straightforward, unlike any other econ text I’ve read.

    Up to the chapter on land, where I’m starting to miss something….

    Could I call on the prof for a clarification? Are you speaking of land purely in a business context, as in land for factories and stores? The process of speculation seems to apply to both residential and commercial property, but your list of the factors that affect the sale price of land seems to apply only to commercial property.

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