Cautionary Tales About Ford and Mao

From the weblog Damn Interesting, there is an article by the site designer and programmer Alan Bellows about an attempt by Ford Motor Company founder and inventor Henry Ford to break the rubber monopoly in the early 20th Century.

In other words, a rich industrialist and monopolist trying to break up a monopoly. Go figure.

He bought a piece of land in the Amazon jungles (or rain forest) of Brazil that was roughly the size of Vermont, calling it Fordlandia. He wanted it to be his own rubber plantation, in order to have enough natural rubber to make tires for his cars, rather than go through the joint Dutch/British rubber barons cartel.

It was an interesting experiment that ended up as a collosal failure. This is an object lesson on how NOT to improve the lives of the poor via wild and crazy schemes like this one. Both then and now, it is Distributism that will help ease the hardships of Brazil's poor and middle classes.

And just in case one is tempted to think, "Aha, dumping on the capitalists again, eh?"...Read this review of the book Hungry Ghosts: Mao's Secret Famine, which tells of the famine that struck Communist China from 1958-61, killing between 30 and 80 million people. They all perished thanks to the Red dictatorship planning to increase food production via the unscientific theory of Lysenkoism.

Whether by big business (Ford) or big government (Mao), the schemes of the powerful can have dreadful consequences for the innocent and the helpless. Let it spur us on, with the help of Almighty God and His grace, toward the development of a Distributist Earth.


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