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Third Ways: How Bulgarian Greens, Swedish Housewives, and Beer-Swilling Englishmen Created Family-Centered Economies--And Why They (Culture of Enterprise) (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 15. Oktober 2007

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Interview with Allan C. Carlson
author of Third Ways

Briefly tell us what you mean by a “Third Way”?

The term represents the search for an economic system that was neither communist nor freewheeling capitalist. Third Way systems were committed to the ideals of democracy—including economic democracy—and pluralism. Unlike liberal capitalism, these systems refused to treat human relationships and labor as commodities like any other. Unlike communism, these systems defended private property in land and basic goods and underscored the dignity and rights of individuals and families. Unlike both liberal capitalists and Communists, they treasured rural culture, family-scale farming, gender complementary, and the vital household economy.

Were “Third Way” economic systems frivolous thought experiments? Or were they ever actually tried? What were the results?

These were real experiments. In the young democracies of post World War I Eastern Europe, for example, agrarian or peasant parties came to power. Their common program affirmed that farm land should belong to those who work it, meaning land redistribution from the old nobility to peasant families. More surprisingly, they also favored targetted industrialization, free trade, cooperatives, constitutionalism, equitable tax reform, republicanism, decentralized governance, pacifism, educational reform, and public service by youth. Alas, despite promising beginnings, most of these regimes succumbed to ruthless militarist, fascist, and communist coups. Meanwhile, in the United States and Sweden, maternalist movements successfully built “family wage” regimes premised on the breadwinner/ homemaker/child-rich family model. They thrived for decades, only to fall before new feminist challenges in the 1960’s.

You write about the “First Green International” and link it to conservative, pro-family values. What was this Green International?

The “Green International” took form in 1923. Formally called the International Agrarian Bureau, it was based in Prague. The organization promoted the cooperation of agrarian parties across international boundaries. One specific project aimed at creating a Danubian free trade zone in Central and Eastern Europe.

A recurring phrase in your book appears to be “the family wage.” What is a “family wage”? Did it ever really exist?

A “family wage” regime rests on a restructuring of the labor market to restrict female labor and favor the payment of a family-sustaining wage to fathers. Recognizing the complementary nature of men and women and celebrating fulltime motherhood, this system intentionally used both custom and law to reserve the better paying jobs for men. It treated women’s market labor as secondary in nature. Family wage regimes also favored publicly-provided widow’s pensions and the training of girls in the domestic arts. This book describes the blossoming of family wage regimes in both the United States and Sweden between 1900 and 1970.

One of your chapters might be called the story of “Desperate Swedish Socialist Housewives.” Where did they come from? Why were they desperate?

The “desperate” housewives of Sweden were democratic socialists who favored their own version of a family-wage system. During the first two-thirds of the 20th Century, they pushed through policies favoring the full-time mother and homemaker, including: tax policies passed on income splitting; universal state child allowances; the mandatory training of school girls in housekeeping and child care; and the payment of a family-sustaining wage to fathers and husbands. They grew desperate during the 1930’s—and again in the late 1960’s—when “equity” feminists led by Alva Myrdal challenged their influence in the Social Democratic Party.

You describe at length “Distributism,” the economic ideas of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. What were its key principles? What relevance does Distributism have to today?

The key principle of Distributism was that private property was so important, that every family should have some. Chesterton and Belloc argued that both capitalism and socialism favored the consolidation of property, among a small number of financiers in the former case and with state control in the latter. The Distributists opposed all monopolies. They favored taxation and regulatory policies that would deliver home ownership, small family farms, independent retail shops, cooperatives, and a share of ownership for workers in necessarily large industries. In a globalizing era, their call for attention to the fate of small property has gained new relevance.

Your book examines the effort by Christian Democrats to build an economic system on the ideal of “homo religiosus.” What does this term mean? How would this system differ from a market economy?

The Christian Democratic economist Wilhelm Ropke rejected the libertarian concept of “economic man,” labeling both “the cult of productivity” and the worship of an abstract “standard of living” as disorders of “spiritual perception.” In their place, he offered “religious man” as the proper framework for economic theory. While staunchly defending private property and free markets, Ropke insisted that a successful market economy required a strong moral and ethical framework. This could only be the product of “family, church, genuine communities, and tradition.” Like the English Distributists, Ropke favored regulatory measures to prevent the formation of monopolies and to encourage home ownership, small-shops, and family farms. He also favored creation of a limited family-centered welfare state, including widow’s benefits, health insurance, and public pensions.

Your book describes the Russian economist, Alexander Chayanov, and his theory of “the natural family economy.” What did he mean by that term? How important was his work?

Chayanov argued that family-scale or peasant agricultural systems operate on their own set of rules, which are radically different from those found in capitalist or communist regimes. He showed how both marriage and the presence of children were the driving forces behind the “natural family economy” of the peasant farm. Chaynov constructed an alternative micro-economy for this unit, premised on biological determinism, subsistence rather than accumulation, the “self-exploitation” of the peasant family, and the powerful influence of the consumer/worker ratio within each home. While Joseph Stalin destroyed his work (and claimed his life in 1939), Chayanov’s distinctive micro-economics has found new relevance in the era of post-Communist globalization.

Why have“Third Way” economic systems tended to disappear?

Part of the reason lay in the relative decency of Third Way advocates in an age dominated by violence and moral monsters. Chayanov, for example, offered a non-Marxist alternative for post-1917 Russia that was premised on democracy and social justice for the peasant majority. He failed to anticipate the rise and brutality of Stalin. The agrarian democracies of Eastern Europe also placed their faith in constitutionalism and democracy. Alas, their enemies—Communists, fascists, militarists, hyper-nationalists, anti-Semites, royalists, and monopolists—were more ruthless, ready to destroy democracy and murder the elected peasant leaders who stood in their way. Meanwhile, the innate decency of the Swedish socialist housewives as child- and home-centered women allowed them to fall victim to the radical social-engineering schemes of a hard left regime.

A curious phrase keeps recurring in your book: The Servile State. Where does this term come from? Is it still relevant to our time?

Belloc crafted the term, explaining that “the effect of socialist doctrine upon capitalist society is to produce a third thing different from either of its two begetters—to wit, the Servile State.” Making the same point, Chesterton used an alternate label: the Business Government, which would “combine everything that is bad in all the plans for a better world….There will be nothing but a loathsome thing called Social Service.” My book argues that the modern welfare states of Europe and the United States have enhanced the servile status of many workers, linking state benefits to a minimum wage. Coerced work has also become a reality for many young mothers, as the Business Government—in league with equity feminists—seeks to eliminate the full-time homemaker. Other signs of the contemporary spread of the Servile State range from the erosion of property rights in the U.S. to the triumph of the oligarchs in post-Communist Russia, where an oil-funded welfare system combines with state-favored monopolies to deliver another version of the Servile State.

Your conclusion says that building a “Family Wage” economy may be a better goal for the 21st Century? Why this change in terminology? What would a Family Way economy look like?

With the fall of Communism in the old Soviet Empire and its eclipse even in China, the old terminology no longer works. In face of the resurgent Servile State, a new model is needed. I propose a “Family Way.” Such an economy would treat the family grounded in marriage, not the individual, as its fundamental unit. Real property would be so treasured that every household would have some. Where outside employment was necessary, it would favor the payment of a “family wage” to the head-of-household so that the other parent—normally the mother—might devote herself to children and home production. It would give strong legal and financial protections to family-held businesses. This economy would favor small farms and independent shops. It would favor home offices for doctors, lawyers, accountants and other professionals. It would encourage families to create home businesses, to garden, to engage in modest animal husbandry and to homeschool their children. And it would frown on advertising that relied on the vices of lust, sloth, greed, gluttony, envy and pride.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Allan C. Carlson is president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society and international secretary of the World Congress of Families. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan appointed him to the National Commission on Children, on which he served until 1993. Over the last ten years he has advised various congressional leaders and presidential candidates on how to craft family-friendly policies and legislation.


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HASH(0x99cef870) von 5 Sternen The Third Way - Towards a Family-Centered Economics. 6. September 2008
Von New Age of Barbarism - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
_Third Ways: How Bulgarian Greens, Swedish Housewives, and Beer-Swilling Englishmen Created Family-Centered Economies - And Why They Disappeared_, published in 2007 in the Culture of Enterprise Series by ISI Books, by leading family scholar Allan C. Carlson is a fascinating examination of some of the early attempts to promote a sort of "third way" economic system that differed and was opposed to both liberal capitalism and communism and that was centered on the family. The third way was frequently aligned with agrarian interests, advocated widespread ownership of private property, and in particular placed a strong emphasis on the family, frequently calling for the creation of a "family wage". The third way also differed from fascism and Nazism in its commitment to democratic institutions and pluralism. The third way emphasized "natural" communities of family, village, neighborhood, and parish and was frequently linked to religious interests. In particular, following the papal encyclical of Leo XIII, _Rerum Novarum_, both G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc developed an economic system they referred to as Distributism to oppose what they perceived as the excesses of both capitalism and socialism and the dread mergence of the two in the "Servile State" as envisioned by Belloc. This book offers a fascinating examination of some of these economic developments with their emphasis on private property, small-scale ownership, agrarianism, and in particular the role of the family and the household economy.

The book begins with a "Preface" in which the author explains the developments of the twentieth century in which Communism emerged as a significant force to compete with economic liberal capitalism. During the Cold War era, individuals were frequently pushed into taking a side on this encompassing issue; however, the author notes that in the 1920s and 1930s some individuals had developed alternatives to both capitalism and socialism. Some of these individuals had sided with fascism or Nazism, but others were committed to a more peaceful "third way", such as the Distributists associated with Chesterton and Belloc. Ultimately, the third way saw itself as the only opportunity to preserve human liberty in the face of the coming mergence of both capitalism and socialism in the Servile State (or what may today be called "state capitalism") as predicted by Belloc. Many of these individuals actively promoted the family and called for the renewal of a "family wage" and many were associated with religious movements.

The first chapter of this book is entitled ""ChesterBelloc" And the Fairy Tale of Distributism" and focuses on the third way system developed by both G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc (both English Catholics). The author begins by noting some of the reactions of various authors to the ideal of Distributism, noting that authors have not been particularly kind to this ideal of Chesterton and Belloc. Even friendly commentators have frequently derided Distributism as being unrealistic; however, it should be pointed out that Belloc's prediction of the growth of the "Servile State" (a coming mergence of both capitalism and socialism in the power of the state) has proven particularly prescient. The author considers the relationship this system had with Roman Catholicism, noting the importance of the papal encyclical _Rerum Novarum_ of Leo XIII. The author notes in particular the importance of the right to property expressed in this encyclical. The author next turns to Chesterton and Belloc, noting each of their roles respectively in promoting the system of Distributism, emphasizing the thinking that grew up around A. R. Orage and his journal _The New Age_. The author explains the ideas of Chesterton and Belloc concerning the role of private property, the importance of a widespread distribution of property, and the emphasis on agrarianism, the family, and the small-scale. The author also notes some of the prescriptions of Chesterton and Belloc in fighting against monopoly and the emerging state. The author also discusses the Distributist League (noting amusingly the importance of alcoholic beverages for members of this league) and its role in discussing the ideas that came to be called Distributism. The author also discusses some of the influence of Distributism and also its ultimate failure. The second chapter of this book is entitled "The Wages of Kin: Building a Secular Family-Wage Regime". Here, the author discusses the role of the "family wage" (the wage needed of a breadwinner to support himself and a family), noting the importance that the family wage came to play and the role of labor in supporting this idea. The author discusses the origins of the notion of the "family wage" in scholastic "just price" theory and its role in the thinking of various economists including Smith, Malthus, and Marx. The author notes the opposition of some feminists to this notion, showing how women came to play a larger role in the workplace as they left the home. The author also discusses the emergence of the welfare state and its role in subjugating women by making them dependent on the state as pointed out by certain feminist critics. The author also discusses the role of children in the workplace and the importance of the family wage for maintaining liberty. The third chapter of this book is entitled "Alexander Chayanov and the Theory of Peasant Utopia". Here, the author discusses the ideas of Russian economist Alexander Chayanov and his theories concerning the role of agriculture and the peasantry. The author notes the traditional importance of the peasant in Russian life before the coming Bolshevik revolution as well as the growth of populism. The author discusses Chayanov's utopian books that present a "decentralized, oddly progressive, democratic Russian state". The author contrasts Chayanov's thinking with that of both Marx and Ricardo and explains how Chayanov (who although an initial supporter of the Russian Revolution) eventually came into conflict with the Soviets and Stalin eventually put him into a gulag. The fourth chapter of this book is entitled "Green Rising: The Promise and Tragedy of Peasant Rule in Eastern Europe". This chapter discusses the role of Distributist ideas in Eastern Europe emphasizing agrarian reform and peasant rule. In particular, Alexander Stamboliski (a Bulgarian Green) came to play a prominent role in the peasant rising in Bulgaria in the interwar period. The author discusses the ideas of Stamboliski and his conflicts with various groups including the Marxists and why his ideas ultimately failed. The fifth chapter is entitled "Last March of the Swedish Socialist Housewives", which explains the importance of the role of the housewife in Sweden and the thinking of various feminists about this role. The author discusses in particular the thinking of Ellen Key (who proposed a Nietzschean supermother) and Alva Myrdal (who offered a feminist critique of the housewife). The author notes the importance that home economics came to take on for the movement of the housewives and how socialist housewives frequently allied themselves with more conservative groups in their goal to preserve this institution. The sixth chapter is entitled "Karl Polany and "The Economy Without Markets"". This chapter discusses the ideas of Karl Polanyi author of _The Great Transformation_ and concerns itself with his opposition to markets. Polanyi praised capitalism, but at the same time maintained that the liberal free-market rested upon state interference. In particular, Polanyi had a complicated relationship to both liberalism and conservativism (as those words are understood both in the United States and Britain) and although regarded as a liberal in the United States has been praised by conservative thinkers such as Robert Nisbet. In particular, Polanyi predicted liberalism's economic collapse and expressed unease over the idea of "homo economicus" that reflects much conservative thinking on the subject. The seventh chapter is entitled "Seeking a Moral Economy: The Christian Democratic Movement". The author begins by discussing the notion of the "culture war" as expressed by Pat Buchanan in the United States, but showing how this notion is rooted in the Germanic idea of the "kulturkampf" in which the German empire launched an assault on religious liberty and family. The author discusses the opposition of many Christians to the French Revolution and the emergence of the Christian Democrats as an attempt to face the French Revolution. The Christian Democrats were strongly influenced by Catholic elements which opposed the Enlightenment and expressed an opposition to the excesses of the state as well as a respect for the family. However, Protestants too came to play an important role in the Christian Democratic movement (especially in that Christians realized they must put aside their differences that had led to a series of religious wars in order to fight a common enemy that had emerged from the French Revolution). Among the Protestants, Abraham Kuyper of the Netherlands played an important role in forming an Anti-Revolutionary Party. Another individual sometimes associated with the Christian Democrats is the liberal economist Wilhelm Ropke who advocated for a humane economy and proposed a notion of "homo religiosus". The author explains the troubled relationship between the Christian Democrats and the fascists, the decline of the Christian Democrats with the coming of a new libertine morality in the 1960s and some of the corruption of their original ideals. The author also explains why no strong Christian Democrat movement committed to social justice has emerged in the United States. The book ends with a chapter entitled "Conclusion: Dreams, Realities, Illusions". Here, the author explains why the third way movements have ultimately failed with the coming of Belloc's Servile State and the complicated relationship between the third way and the welfare state. The author notes the naivety and intellectual decency of many involved in the third way (in their commitment to honesty and pacifism) and contrasts this to the more violent approaches taken by many states in the twentieth century. The author then discusses the failure of the "Second Way" (or Soviet Communism) and the rise of a Servile State and a form of "Mafia Capitalism" in its midst. The author also notes how third way proponents frequently were more opposed to the influence of the state and were more "anti-tax" than many economic liberals. The author finally discusses how a "Family Way" must be restored in an effort to bring change and combat the Servile State or the "Business State".

This book offers a fascinating examination of certain economic alternatives to both liberal capitalism and communism. Most of these alternatives were developed in the period between the world wars when it still seemed possible to combat the coming mergence of the Servile State. As such, they offer some hope for those of us today who wish to combat the slavery imposed by the Servile State.
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HASH(0x999a02d0) von 5 Sternen Third way policies, not economics 11. Oktober 2010
Von D. J. Taylor - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is one of the most exciting books I have read in a long time. British and American readers are seriously under-educated about the religious history and politics of Continental Europe, and here the clash between the democratic policies of physically and family-grounded thinkers and the monarchic ambitions of conservative ideologues of whatever temperament (liberal, socialist or tyranical) is set out with the recurring tension of an adventure story. Yet it is not just an adventure story. The deluge of ideas and personalities one is not familiar with but perhaps vaguely aware of makes it also extremely thought-provoking - and very importantly so in the present period of economic crisis and looming ecological catastrophe.

The writer is an American, and on certain important issues I think he is missing the mark (though putting forward points of view well worthy of consideration). Most important of these (understandable given America's revolt against Britain) is his accepting the opinion of a Dutch Protestant that the French Revolution of 1789 marked "the birth [and catastrophe] of modern life". He has not looked back far enough, i.e. for the economic causes of that revolution: to the successful banking fraud which financed Britain's "Glorious Revolution" of 1688 and subsequent era of "stately home" building - inspired by its nouveau riche enjoying the European "Grand Tour". This was the system John Law in 1716 took to a France struggling with the costs of its war with Spain, and which (eventually taken over by state) had continued to impoverish French peasants as enclosure impoverished British laborers. Napoleonic wars impoverished both.

The surreptitious issue and taxation of credit by private banks (claiming to be backed by gold reserves, but in Amsterdam originally backed by public acceptance of responsibility for bankrupts) led to the American war of independence, Marxist takeovers, rival geographical and business empire-building, a host of wars including two World Wars, and deliberate generation of slumps by bubble-blowing and bursting to facilitate control and asset-stripping, in which the current one generated by property price inflation has been as blatently fraudulent as any. Carlson also has an American perspective on European union, as rooted in memories of the Holy Roman Empire. The Catholic vision he so rightly emphasises was actually of a unity not of empire but of a diverse European family of nations: independent but mutually supportive.

Carlson hardly mentions finance in his book, which is why I say it is about third way policies, not economics. It seems to me he is inviting one to choose between policy objectives, rather than helping one understand their practical differences in theoretical terms, and how pipers paying with dishonest money have been able not only to call the tune but to publish only their own music. Nevertheless, I found it an outstandingly interesting and engaging book: an excellent basis for enthusiastic and hopeful discussion.
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HASH(0x999a01b0) von 5 Sternen Not Quite Socialism 17. Januar 2014
Von Joseph Graves - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
Third Ways has some fascinating ideas for keeping the wicked human heart from wielding too much power by giving family the opportunity to raise their own food and children by owning a small farm. It illustrated a "third way," not government control of production but also not the opportunity to accumulate great wealth. Interesting read.
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HASH(0x999a02a0) von 5 Sternen A weak bundle of quotations 11. April 2011
Von Ashtar Command - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"Third Ways" by Allan C. Carlson is something of a disappointment. There is very little analysis and background, and the whole book feels like a compilation of quotations from other sources. It doesn't feel like a scholarly work. Rather, the author comes across as a librarian or archivist. Perhaps he *is* a librarian? The dustjucket doesn't list any particular scholarly merits.

The chapter on peasant populism in East Europe is particularly weak. The various peasant parties did *not* have a similar political orientation, and Carlson's attempts to claim Bulgarian peasant leader Stamboliski (essentially a socialist) as one of the Distributist crowd, is particularly weak.

For a better introduction to peasant parties in interwar Eastern Europe, see "Peasants in power" by John D. Bell and "Comintern and Peasant in Eastern Europe 1919-1930" by George D. Jackson.

But yes, the fact that Carlson is a Chesterton look-alike is quite funny.

Beer, anyone?
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