14 April, 2022

Distributism and "Preppers"

Distributists emphasize personal and local economic independence and the foundation of personal, political, and economic freedom. For nearly one hundred years, we have been saying that society overall needs to move away from our dependence, not only dependence on big government, but also on big business. As long as we continue to accept these things, we will be in a state of dependence, which means that we will not truly be free. So, what does this have to do with the so-called “prepper” movement that has gained popularity in the last two years? 

10 March, 2022

Our Usurious Economy

What is usury and is it of any relevance to people today? For the most part, in modern times the term usury has come to mean the taking of excess, often outrageous, interest on a loan. But the classical definition in Catholic theology of usury was something a little different: the taking of any interest, in any amount, and no matter what the loan would be used for, simply because there is a loan contract. The most complete papal statement of this is found in the 1745 encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV, Vix Pervenit, the relevant portions of which run,

13 January, 2022

Is Distributism Socialism?

References to or discussions of distributism on the internet are not hard to find. This is gratifying, for I would hazard a guess that fifty years ago almost no one had even heard of distributism. But even though the situation today is in most respects an improvement, these online references to distributism are not necessarily favorable. I have not attempted to count whether favorable or unfavorable mentions predominate, but there seem to be some ideas that are common to those critical of distributism. One is that distributism is simply a form of socialism. Now those who make this charge usually have little understanding of what socialism is, and especially of the great variety of economic programs that go by that name. Socialism is simply assumed to be state ownership of property, at least of productive property. That socialists often advocate for modes of ownership such as worker-owned enterprises or cooperatives seems to be largely unknown to the public.

04 November, 2021

Distributism at the Catholic Economics Roundtable

The following opening statement was given at the “Catholic Economics Roundtable” livestream hosted by Michael Lofton on 23 January 2021. It can be viewed on the Reason and Theology YouTube channel[1] and is available as a podcast on The Tradistae Podcast on Podbean.[2]

14 October, 2021

The Breakdown of the Supply Chain

Not long ago, a cargo ship blocked a canal, causing international shipping to get backed up and a consequent shortage of supplies in many countries. As I write this, many cargo ships are gathered in the Pacific Ocean, waiting to get into the harbors for Los Angeles and Long Beach California. Apparently, there is a shortage of long distance truckers to take away the cargo already unloaded, which needs to be done to make room for the cargo on the ships that are waiting. There has been a lot of talk about the breakdown of the supply chain, but have these discussions actually addressed the real problem?

07 October, 2021

Get Woke, Go Broke?

The phrase “Get woke, go broke,” has been around for about three years. It generally refers to the idea that businesses which acquiesce to the demands of the self-identified advocates of “wokeness” will suffer financial losses because those views are not what sells. Those who use the phrase point to Gillette's disastrous “The Best A Man Can Be” campaign, or the failure of movie and other entertainment franchises when they change popular established characters to fit the woke view, or many other examples to support their claim that wokeness just doesn't sell. They will tell you that the marketing executives foisting these changes are out of touch with the pulse of the people, and that is why getting woke inevitably means going broke. Is this claim actually true?