Distributism: Is it possible?

One criticism of distributism I’ve read and even thought of on my own is that it is too idealistic of a system to be implemented.  To have a distributist society our nation would need a complete reset of its economy, its capital, a reorienting of family life, and a return to a more agrarian lifestyle.  Most of our nation would need to return to the Lord, and our Chrsitian background since distributism is based on the biblical command to love thy neighbor which is hardly the goal of the capitalist or socialist society.

If you aren’t familiar with distributism here is a short definition:

I take Distributism to be the view that private property should be widely distributed in society, rather than concentrated in a few hands, in order to enable more or even most people to be able to take responsibility for their own families by means of productive and dignified work.

The more I read about distributism the more I desire a simpler life, to work for myself, to grow more of my own food, and support local business and small farmers in or around my community while patronizing big box stores less and less.  This article from the Distributist Review explains further ideas of how distributism can be implemented in our everyday lives.  The article identifies three ways to apply distributism to our daily lives.  

The first way to implement distributism is to communicate.  Most people are unaware of an economic option other than capitalism and socialism.  Share articles with people, talk to others about the ideas, and read more about it so you can communicate clearly.  

The second step is to practice distributism.  This is not as easy as simple communication as it involves more action and hard work.  One way to practice distributism are planting a garden to grow more of your own vegetables and fruits.  Also, consider purchasing food from a local food coop or local small farmer.  Distributism focuses on the community and goes beyond basic economics.  The author of the article writes, “Focus on more than economics. Distributism is about more than the process of exchange. Commitment to the community, particularly to those in need, is an integral part of Distributism.”

Third, become active in working for laws which will make distributism more probable.  This means working on a local level.  The author states:

Don’t neglect regional and national policies, but focus on local issues. Why are we forced to commute by zoning laws that require the separation of all businesses from residences? If you want to be a baker, why can’t you live in a house behind your shop? I can understand the isolation of certain industries that are particularly noisy or smelly, but that does not necessarily apply to the shoe shop or local grocer. If higher levels of government are blocking local change, tell them you believe they are harming the local community. (No politician likes to hear that.)

Finally, a fourth way to promote distributism, not found in the article, is taking responsibility for the education of your children.  While I was only taught the two schools of thought of capitalism and socialism, I have the opportunity to teach the ideas of distributism to my children and will do so.


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