Category: Stark

Populist Elitism

Or elitist populism?

I was listening to an old Johnson-Stark podcast on economics.  I have a few comments.

In general, I agree with Johnson’s view of populist elitism. At first glance an oxymoron, Johnson’s views make sense.  He defines these terms thus:

Populism: The common good, what is best for society as a whole.

Elitism: Meritocracy, structuring society to reward the best, the smartest, the most productive, which ties into populism because this form of elitism would prosper the entire society and everyone in it.

How to prevent this elitism from degenerating into a plutocratic elite tyranny (such as the current USA?).  Johnson has two basic ideas. First, by having a large, economically-independent and politically active middle class. Second, by “circulating the elites” – upward and downward mobility based upon merit, as opposed to the current trend of a hereditary aristocratic elite. Therefore, talented individuals from all classes can rise up, and the mediocre scions of elites can fall back into their natural positions in society.

Free enterprise and private property are compatible with all of this, but they must be broadly distributed, rather than be concentrated in the hands of a plutocratic few.  This is entirely consistent with national socialism.

The only major complaint I would have is that any discussion about interest and interest rates needs to take into account inflation (or deflation).  These issues need to be integrated, one cannot discuss one aspect without evaluating how it ties into other economic issues.

As far as social credit and distributism goes, I am broadly sympathetic, but would like to see the “nuts and bolts” details on how any particular plan would be put into practice.