“ #Distributism is usually known as an economic theory advanced primarily by Hilaire #Belloc and G. K. #Chesterton . They themselves, however, claimed that this theory was rooted in the social teaching of the Church, especially #RerumNovarum and #QuadragesimoAnno , the Church’s first two major social encyclicals. Distributism remains controversial, as many people accuse it of advocating for an altered form of socialism. Rather, it has been put forward as a mean between the extremes of Communism, which eliminates private property, and Capitalism, which concentrates property in the hands of a few…Distributism strikes a balance between two principles of the Church’s social teaching: the universal destination of goods and the defense of private property…creating an environment which favors ownership, small business, and a stronger local economy…” (NOTE that the ‘system’ of Distributism itself is not Church doctrine; rather Distributism attempts to reconcile Catholic doctrine and economics.)
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I find this disappointing and dismissive. The excerpts are too tightly wound about the concept of private property which skews the normative agenda of distributism. Hilaire Belloc attempted to present distributism as an economic system. However, what he denotes and what he connotes are not always so certain. Unless you know the context within which he discourses the twist on his meaning may bounce the wrong way.
G.K. Chesterton describes the perspective on distributism with keen insight. He makes it clear while remaining modest. It is about small markets and more than just local goods. It is about more than goods, it is about neighbors and community.
Distributism is about knowing the needs of your neighbors and putting them ahead of your wants. It requires humility and self sacrifice and more importantly concern and interest in the other. Communitarian is not collectivism in the sense of private property as emphasized by this article. The problem with distributism is that it requires a personal effort to know the needs of others and act with humility. It is a system that can work when people are concerned with the common good, are virtuous and desire to be holy. It follows church teaching because it is derived from a focus on Christ and His way.