04 December, 2014

Does Capitalism Work?

[Editor's note: This article was originally published as “Have Smith's Theories Been Proven to Work In Spite Of the Presence of Government Meddling in Economics?.” After further reflection, I determined that the original article was attempting to critique Smith's theories during time which, as demonstrated in the previous article, his theories were not even being tried. Therefore, this article has been rewritten to more accurately reflect what was intended.
- 6 April, 2016]

24 November, 2014

A Distributist Christmas



I know that Advent has not yet started, but I wanted to share this at a relevant time. Americans have developed some strange customs over the years, but the one later this week is one of the strangest. I am not referring to Thanksgiving, but to what has become our annual celebration of greed and inhumanity. I am referring to Black Friday.

20 November, 2014

Has Smith's Capitalism Ever Been Tried?



There is, in the vast realm of people calling themselves capitalists, a very peculiar group. While, like all capitalists, they claim that capitalism is responsible for every material advancement and new technology since they days of Adam Smith, they simultaneously claim that every economic problem that has occurred is not the result of capitalism. These are the true believers in Smith's "invisible hand," the individual self interest that will inevitably (and unintentionally) guide the overall market in a way that is best for all. They invariably blame every economic problem on government meddling. It is government meddling that causes Smith's invisible hand to veer off course. When confronted with any economic problem that has occurred, they counter that the government was meddling in the economy. They claim that capitalism cannot be blamed because the fact that the government was meddling proves that capitalism wasn't being used. If that is the case, if the existence of government meddling in things related to the economy means that capitalism is not being used, has Smith's capitalism ever actually been tried?

06 November, 2014

The End of QE


Well, it's been six long years of the three programs known as Quantitative Easing, or "QE." The first, under president Bush, was for $750 billion. The second, under president Obama, was for another $800 billion. The third, also under Obama, was an ongoing payment by the U.S. government of $85 billion every month. Now, more than $6.6 trillion later, how much did all that taxpayer-funded expense help the economy?

16 October, 2014

The Laws of Economics


One response to my Distributism Basics article on the Science of Economics was the assertion that economics can be studied apart from ethics. According to critics of the article, I was incorrectly attempting to join two topics that don't necessarily go together. These critics at least seemed to agree that ethics did apply to economic activity, but denied that economic studies, specifically the laws of economics, are subject to ethics.

02 October, 2014

Is Small Government the Worst Government?

According to an exchange between Chris Hayes and Brian Murphy on MSNBC, small government, by which they mean local municipal government, is actually worse than large government. Referencing an article from New York Magazine, they say that local government is worse because it is less accountable to the citizens. Let's examine their reasons for saying so and see if they stand up to scrutiny.

18 September, 2014

Distributism Basics: Distributism vs. Christian Socialism


One reaction to this Distributism Basics series is that a particular group of commenters has asserted that their economic and political theories are so close to distributism as to make them virtually indistinguishable. In various ways, they have assured me that, if I would only read the writings explaining their views, I would be left scratching my head wondering what separates them from my own. Is this true? Is distributism just another name for what others call "Christian socialism?"

04 September, 2014

Beef! Is it what's for dinner?


As a distributist, I advocate for engaging in economic activity that is as local as possible, or at least practical. By doing this, you are helping to stabilize the local economy by keeping the circulation of currency – the representation of the economic value of within society – within its boundaries. When profits are kept local, there is a greater chance that they will be spent in the local community instead of in remote ones or in other countries. I have also maintained that, when the economic activity of production is local, the local community can be more aware of its conditions and more able to address problems on a local level.

21 August, 2014

Distributism and Medieval Romanticism



With its emphasis on local economy, local markets, local farms, local government and, maybe most of all, guilds, would it be fair to say that distributists are longing for a return to the way things were in the medieval era? Are distributists merely a group of anachronistic dreamers with romantic views of medieval life, not only separated from the real world of today, but even from the realities of the medieval world?

07 August, 2014

Distributism and Anarchy


Given distributism's insistence that government cannot interfere in the internal life of the family, and that higher levels of government cannot interfere in things that are properly the role of lower levels of government, and that things like charity are properly the role of family, church, and local organizations, can we say that distributists are also anarchists?

17 July, 2014

Is Distributism Liberal or Conservative?


When hearing anyone discussing political or economic ideas, our society has been trained to look at them through one of two lenses: liberal or conservative. How you react to the ideas being expressed depends on the lens of your choice. Because of this, distributists need to be able to address the question that is foremost on people's minds when they hear about us. Even if they don't come out and ask the question, they want to know if distributism liberal or conservative?

03 July, 2014

Why Bother?


Our chances of making a real societal change toward distributism within our life time seem small at best, so why bother with the effort of trying to promote a view unknown to most people and misunderstood by many who have heard of it?

06 May, 2014

Wages: Minimum, Market, or Just?



In the current debate about wages, both sides are presenting some good points in support of their own side and against the other side. This article will attempt to look at these points and address them from a distributist perspective.

06 February, 2014

Where Does One Begin?


This article was originally published by
on 17 November, 2010
Some of us begin to catch glimpses of saner principles, reflected in the Catholic social teaching and in Distributism (and elsewhere), but we have no idea how to approach these ideals in our day-to-day lives. The ideal appears to be something quite distant from reality. Where does one begin?
-Peter McCombs

28 January, 2014

Distributism Basics: Distributist Economic Society




In the introduction to this series, I stated that distributism is not a middle ground between capitalism on the one side and socialism on the other. Distributism is not an attempt to compromise between them. Instead, distributism stands outside of and completely apart from those systems. The goal of distributism is not to negotiate a common ground between the two, but to establish something completely different and alien to both.

02 January, 2014

Distributism Basics: The Nature and Roles of Government

"A community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to coordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view of the common good."
- Pope John Paul II