Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Distributivism and Catholic Social Teaching

Without going into a great deal of detail, I would like to point you to website called Distributivism and Catholic Social Teaching. Distributivism is an alternative to capitalism and socialism. It was proposed by my favorite Catholic: G.K. Chesterton and his good friend Hilaire Belloc. In a nutshell the goal of distributivism is that most people will become owners of productive property. One thing that disgusts me is the gluttony of our materialistic and consuming infatuated society. People now live to consume, that is the rational of their existence. Aristotle of whom St. Thomas Aquinas built and developed his philosophy wrote in 350BC the following:

"Also connected with justice is a“natural” limit on exchange. Aristotle recognizes that households need to have at least some wealth and property to survive (Politics, 1256b, 9). But wealth can be pursued in two ways: One way is to get the things we need to live, and the other is to get money itself. The former is a necessary part of household management (Politics, 1257b, 19-20), but the latter has no natural limit (Politics, 1258a, 1); in the former case, men trade for what they need and cease when they have enough; there is no point in acquiring more bread then you can use. But the latter case has no limit; money can be accumulated without end. This second type of exchange came about only after the use of money replaced barter."

"Hence some persons are led to believe that getting wealth is the object of household management, and the whole idea of their lives is that they ought… to increase their money without limit. The origin of this disposition in men is that they are intent upon living only, and not upon living well: and, as their desires are unlimited, they also desire that the means of gratifying them should be without limit" (Politics, 1257b, 39)

Belloc writes:

“It is obvious that whoever controls the means of production controls the supply of wealth. If, therefore, the means for the production of that wealth which a family needs are in the control of others than the family, the family will be dependent upon those others; it will not be economically free. The family is ideally free when it fully controls all the means necessary for the production of such wealth as it should consume for normal living”7.

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