18 June, 2015
There are two social foundations of distributism; decentralized political authority according to the principles of subsidiarity, and the wide-spread private ownership of productive property. When established, these foundations will result in greater freedom for individuals and families throughout society in general and a more stable national economy supported by strong local economies. What is needed to actually achieve this? I believe it starts with shifting our philosophical outlook. We need to realize that economics is not the kind of science we have been told it is. We need to look beyond the immediate end of our economic activities and see how those activities fit within the overall community. If we do this, we will start to see how a local community is self-supporting in ways that corporate capitalism is not. We will start to see that, when we consider how our economic decisions can benefit or harm others in our community, we will all benefit.
In the first part of this article I spoke of economic behavior as understood by mainstream neoclassical economics and provided a critique of that, pointing out in particular its failure to recognize the crucial role played by power and by human institutions in determining economic outcomes. Now how does this relate to Catholic social teaching? Does it recognize these factors?
This article was originally published by
The Distributist Review on 24 April, 2011
I would like to wrap up this series with an examination of a few more types of taxation. Keep in mind, that this series is not intended to be exhaustive. It is intended to open the door to discussion by presenting ideas for consideration. I do not pretend to provide the definitive “Distributist view” on taxation. It is a complex topic and there can be legitimate differences of opinion while staying true to the idea of Distributism.
04 June, 2015
Asserting the right to own private property is not the same as asserting the right to acquire unlimited amounts of it, nor is it the same as saying there are no other limitations in regard to that acquisition. This is one point where capitalists will raise a huge objection. We must keep in mind that the basis of the right to private property is the right to secure for oneself, and one's family and heirs, the basic needs of life and the ability to achieve a good standard of living according to the social norms of the society at large. This is not merely a social right; it is a right based on our very existence as rational beings. Those who do not have this must be able to better their situation so that they do, and society must be structured so that anti-competitive forces cannot act to hinder them from being able to accomplish this for themselves.
Since the beginning of her existence on this earth the Church of Jesus Christ has taught about both faith and morals, that is, about what we are to believe and how we should behave. Under the latter head the Church has taught much about the virtue of justice and has applied that teaching to many specific situations in human affairs. Many of these situations are complex, but that has not prevented the Church from making moral judgments about the rights and the wrongs that are involved. Since the latter half of the nineteenth century the Church has addressed the modern economy of Capitalism, and rendered judgments on many aspects of that economy. The body of these teachings is generally known as Catholic Social Teaching, and it began in an authoritative way with Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical Rerum Novarum. Since then nearly every pope has added to the corpus of the Church’s social teaching through encyclicals or other documents, as did the Second Vatican Council in its constitution Gaudium et Spes.
This article was originally published by
The Distributist Review on 19 January, 2011
In Parts One and Two, I mainly discussed the different schools of Capitalist thought (Keynesian and non-Keynesian) and how Distributism differs from them in regard to the role of government in stabilizing the economy and the use of taxation in doing so. Before I begin discussing the different methods of taxation, I should also make a brief mention of other contemporary views on the subject.