Frank discussions, advice, and opinions from a Catholic Director of Religious Education.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 5)

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 143)

7 Reasons Distributism Has Me Interested
(Not committed, mind you, but interested)

Before I get to my list, you may be wondering what in high heaven Distributism is.
You're not alone. A good resource would be located HERE.

1. The People Who Recommend It. I was first introduced to Distributism via Mark Shea, a solid Catholic. As I looked into it, I found that G.K. Chesterton was one of the initial formulators of the philosophy and it was specifically created to apply Catholic social teachings. A very good start.
2. Too Big To Fail. Remember that? We were told that certain banks and businesses had become so big that their bankruptcy would ruin the economy. Too many people depended on these institutions for their livelihood and so, as a result, they could make whatever bad decisions they wanted with the certainty that the taxpayer would bail them out. Distibutism prevents companies from becoming so big that they can essentially hold us hostage.

3. Increased Competition. I remember hearing a story some time ago which sums up the current situation quite nicely. A potato chip company was having a meeting and the boss asked a simple question: "What is our goal?" Someone responded, "To be the best company around." "Nope", said the boss, "It's to be the ONLY company around." Our current system doesn't foster competition, it fosters war. The goal? To be the last one standing. By keeping corporations from the "too big to fail" level, Distributism would necessitate a larger pool of smaller companies all competing with one another. Since companies would get to a point where they could no longer expand, they would have to give up their desire for sole dominion and focus on being the "best" to stay in business.

4. Smaller Government. I think socialists might have a point when they criticize the wealth disparity in our world. When too few have too much they can hold the rest of us hostage (see number two). The problem is that Socialists think transferring the excess wealth to another small group (the government) somehow changes that. I fail to see how making citizens reliant on the government for handouts is any different than relying on two or three mega corporations. Distributism does not redistribute wealth, but works toward a more even distribution of the means of generating wealth (ie: productive property). It also encourages the principle of subsidiarity and thus the primacy of local organizations and communities.  

5. Property Has Purpose. Our current system tries to get people to buy, buy, buy! The thinking goes that the more you buy, the better the economy! By the way, it doesn't matter what you buy, so long as money is spent. Distributism views property as a tool needed for a dignified existence. In other words, Distributism recognizes the need for property without encouraging the extreme materialism we currently have. 

6. Consumers Are People. I am more than a consumer of widgets. Our current system tends to view people as tools to drive the economy (see #5). Distributists tend to put human beings in the center and recognize that Distributism is the tool which is supposed to serve mankind.   

7. Catholic Social Teachings. I am not saying that capitalism isn't compatible with Catholic social teaching, but rather that Distributism ALSO happens to be compatible. There are, happily, many roads to get to the same destination in this case. As a result, we only need to work to find the best of many. I won't consider something that goes against the Catholic Church's teaching, so #7 is a big deal if I am to consider Distributism.  

For more "Quick Takes" check out Jennifer at Conversion Diary!

1 comment:

  1. i truthfully found wikipedia to be slightly easier to understand on the subject.

    (then again, i was also the one who would ask my seminary professors what the subject on which they were pontificating had to do with our faith and communicating it to the masses.)