Readers who dare question the inevitability of the modern industrial order will find ample inspiration in these provocative essays by twelve Catholic writers. The 'old ideal' of a society of small, independent property owners and artisans runs through history like a golden thread from Plato's Republic to Thomas Jefferson, the Southern Agrarians, and Wendell Berry. In the 1920s, G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc founded the Distributist Movement, dedicated to the restoration of this ideal as a viable 'third way,' an alternative to the inhuman world produced by capitalism's tendency toward rampant greed, on the one hand, and socialism's tendency to discourage individual industry and creativity on the other. The Distributists urged a total rethinking of 'our social and economic system, its priorities, and most importantly, its ends,' anchoring their vision in the moral teachings of the Catholic Church. As cogently stated in this anthology, Distributism's commonsense application of Christian principles to the realm of economics has broad appeal for any traditionalist, Catholic or non-Catholic, as well as for supporters of rural justice, community gardens, 'slow food,' buyer cooperatives, deep ecology, home schooling, and other contemporary movements. Indeed, the invitation to rediscover and reimagine the Distributist legacy could not be more timely in light of how 'economists have made chaos, and they have done it on a worldwide if not universal scale,' to quote Kirkpatrick Sale's prescient forward to this important anthology.
An Eighth Day View:
Explaining the socio-economic theory of distributism, this anthology argues that political, economic, and social liberties and freedom are penalized under both socialism and capitalism. With distributism--and other "third way" alternatives to capitalism--the human person, the family, and the community take precedence over bureaucrats and barons. Society exists for man, not the other way around.