June 12, 2014


What is Distributism? Understanding a Controversial Alternative to Socialism and Plutocracy (Joseph Pearce, 6/12/10, Imaginative Conservative)

Distributism is the name given to a socio-economic and political creed originally associated with G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. Chesterton bowed to Belloc's preeminence as a disseminator of the ideas of distributism, declaring Belloc the master in relation to whom he was merely a disciple. "You were the founder and father of this mission,'"Chesterton wrote. "We were the converts but you were the missionary.... You first revealed the truth both to its greater and its lesser servants.... Great will be your glory if England breathes again."[1] In fact, pace Chesterton, Belloc was merely the propagator and the populariser of the Church's social doctrine of subsidiarity as expounded by Pope Leo XIII in Rerum novarum (1891), a doctrine that would be re-stated, re-confirmed and reinforced by Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno (1931) and by Pope John Paul II in Centesimus annus (1991). As such, it is important, first and foremost to see distributism as a derivative of the principle of subsidiarity. [...]

Unlike the socialists, the distributists were not advocating the redistribution of 'wealth' per se, though they believed that this would be one of the results of distributism. Instead, and the difference is crucial, they were advocating the redistribution of the means of production to as many people as possible. Belloc and the distributists drew the vital connection between the freedom of labour and its relationship with the other factors of production--i.e., land, capital, and the entrepreneurial spirit. The more that labour is divorced from the other factors of production the more it is enslaved to the will of powers beyond its control. In an ideal world every man would own the land on which, and the tools with which, he worked. In an ideal world he would control his own destiny by having control over the means to his livelihood. 

...it's just a reaction to the capitalism of the Protestant world.  Which is why its advocates were Catholic residents of the Anglosphere.  

Posted by at June 12, 2014 8:10 PM

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