January 7th, 2013Distributism for Beginnersby Joseph Pearce

A correspondent has asked me for a list of books with which to begin a study of distributism. Here's my response:
Regarding Distributism, I hardly know where to start:
Papal Encyclicals including Rerum novarum by Leo XIII, Quadgrasimo anno by Pius XI, Centesimus annus by John Paul II, Caritas in Veritate by Benedict XVI.
The Servile State and An Essay on the Restoration of Property, both by Hilaire Belloc.
The Outline of Sanity by G. K. Chesterton.
Small is Beautiful by E. F. Schumacher.
Small is Still Beautiful by Joseph Pearce.
The Church and the Libertarian by Christopher A. Ferrara.
Toward a Truly Free Market by John C. Médaille.
The Hound of Distributism, edited by Richard Aleman.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

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  • January 8 2013 | by Justin Swanton

    Is there any place on the StaR for a summary of distributionism. I don't actually know what it is other than everyone gets one cow apiece, and that Chesterton advocated it.

    How would it work in contemporary technocratic society where collective effort is so necessary to keep the wheels of industry turning?
  • January 9 2013 | by Leo Schwartz


    Try this FAQ from the Distributist Review:
  • January 9 2013 | by joseph pearce

    Justin, I'm not sure that distirbutism can be put in a nutshell or in the form of a soundbite. I suggest that you find time to read one or other of the books listed in this post.

    Although Chesterton quipped that distributism could be summarized as three acres and a cow, it is not true that distirbutism can be summarized or dimsissed as "everyone gets one cow apiece".

    In a nutshell (however inadequate): The possession of productive property, i.e. land and capital, is an essential guarantor of economic and political freedom for the individual and the family. As such, a society in which many people possess such property is more just and more free than a society in which few people possess such property. In practical terms, this means that an economy comprised of many small businesses is better than an economy comrpised of few big businesses. The same principle applied to politics means that a society comprised of many small governments, i.e. revitalized local government, is more just than a society comprised of one big government separated from the needs of local people by its size and its geographical distance from them.
  • January 22 2013 | by jmalcolm

    Oooh, ooh! Check me out. I'm having a go at this my self here http://theontologicallapsometer.blogspot.com/2013/01/sane-economy.html
    in which I attempt a succinct and broadly appealing sell of Distributism, (or at least take first swipe at it).