While never having the will to attempt to read the entirety of Ezra Pound's Cantos, for the past 50 years I have kept a copy of a collection of his non-fiction prose, Impact: Essays on Ignorance and the Decline of American Civilization, which was edited by Noel Stock and published by Regnery at Chicago in 1960.
the Pound who was a spokesman on issues of public policy, not the
poet. It clears away the misconception that Pound was an defender of
Mussolini's Fascism. He was, in fact, a distributist, as were T. S.
Eliot, A. R. Orage, and G. K. Chesterton, and an exponent of Social
Distributism defends as ideal an economy in
which the maximum number of heads of households own the means with
which they earn their livings. It is close to the Jeffersonian agrarian
Social Credit, originated by the British engineer C. H.
Douglas, is an attempt to resolve one of the fundamental contradictions
of capitalism; i.e., the problem of overproduction. Again and again,
capitalism is shaken by a situation in which people lack the purchasing
power to buy that which has been produced.
If the problem of
overproduction does not seem understandable, then consider this fact:
It is the crisis in which we now find ourselves. All around us are
houses and automobiles for sale, but there are not enough people who
have the purchasing power to buy them. Even the stratagem of long-term
loans has failed.
Social Credit "proposes to distribute
purchasing power to the public via national dividends. And this strikes
some people as absurd, or at least impossible" ( Impact, p. 158). Pound then proceeds to argue that a national dividend is not inflationary. (Are the "bailouts" a belated national dividend?)
great problem in the economy, according to Pound, is usury. Usury is
"a charge for the use of purchasing power, levied without regard to
production, sometimes without regard even to the possibilities of
production" (p. 210). It is not simply excessive interest.
has long been anathema to the left because, while he recognized one of
capitalism's flaws, he rejected Marxism. Also, he has long been
suspected of having been the inspiration behind a young dissident of
slightly more than 50 years ago, Frederick John Kasper. (For more on
Kasper, see the Wikipedia article on him.)