Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I'll be writing an essay on Distributism next week, and even though I just read the Outline of Sanity, I do not feel as if I have mastered the theory. However, my needs are more immediate. If anyone has some very insightful arguments against complete laissez faire capitalism, I would be greatful. Most of the audience of this essay is very economically conservative, so probably the most important thing is a good truism explaining to them how distributism and socialism are opposites, and not similar at all. Thanks! (I'll post the essay here too, after I write it =)


Dr. Thursday said...

Here is a good SHORT explanation of Distributism, right from GKC:

...Distributism - the doctrine of a more general enjoyment of private property in the means of production... Distributism is right, not because it is in this sense new, but because it is in a very different sense fresh. It is fresh as only very ancient things are fresh. It is as fresh as spring or childhood or the challenge of youth to life; it is fresh because it is old, because it is a romance that recurs. It is normal to man to possess. He may go without possessions because he is a saint, or he may be robbed of his possessions by a bandit; because a man may lose his hand for the sake of the kingdom of heaven or have it cut off by torturers of the kingdom of hell. But while he has a hand, his hand is meant to hold something; not much, but something; not somebody else's, but his own. It is because this sense of property is primary and not artificial that the whole philosophy of communism is fundamentally false. What is the matter with capitalism is not that the hand thus grasping something is an individual hand, but that it is an isolated hand. In other words, it is not that it is a full hand, but that it leaves so many hands empty.
GKC, ILN Jan 5 1924 CW33:249, 251

I hope this helps a little. I for one look forward to reading your essay - this subject deserves more study, and I am glad some of the ChesterTeens are pursuing it!

Mamselle Clare Duroc said...

Distributism is something I've been intrigued about for awhile. Eventually I want to get around to a study of it. I have several Belloc and Chesterton pieces on my to-read list, and frequently visit The Disributist Review (

The inspiration for the movement, Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum is a must-read.

Old Fashioned Liberal said...

Whatever you do, don't fall into the trap of trying to prove that distributism is more econimically fesable than capitalism, because I don't think that is why Chesterton liked it.

Old Fashioned Liberal said...

I meant effective, not fesable. Sorry.

Ryan said...

I'll be very interested to read the essay!

don pedro said...

Thanks guys! I should be able to post it over the weekend. Hopefully it's not prohibitively long =/