Do you know about Distributism?

First, let me define Distributism.

Distributism (sometimes called distributionism, or distributivism) is an economic ideology that is based upon the principles of Catholic social teaching, especially the teachings of Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Rerum novarum and Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo anno.

It is presented as a third way to Capitalism and Socialism, a balanced and Catholic political system if you would.

Many Christian political parties have advocated for distributism in their economic policies. Mostly in Europe but also in America (Republican party).

Hilaire Belloc, G.K. Chesterton, Dorothy Day and many others supported the theory, as do many intellectuals of our day.

What is your opinion of the ideology, and do you think America could see a Distributist party? If so, and they grow powerful enough, would you join the party or vote for Distributist politicians?

1 Like

Love it… Rerum Novarum lays out condemnations of both socialism and capitalism. Pope Leo XIII endorses Distributist as fully inline with Catholic social teaching and the more research you do, the more you see that it is far superior to the capitalism that drives the US and all of the issues that come with it.


Pope Francis seems to have sympathy for this socio-economic theory.

Health care is not a business, but a service to life, pope says


I’m a fan, but I doubt America would ever have a “distributism party.”

Rather, I can see sections of both parties pushing for distributism.

But I don’t think it’s possible for distributism to replace Capitalism in the USA due to the number of corporations we have. However, that doesn’t mean distributism can’t have a role in politics.

NOTE: a big issue with practicing Christian Democrats in the US (in my opinion) is that they often confuse distributism with socialism or “social democracy”

God Bless

What do you think ?

@Athanasiy - in the future, could you please post these all under one post?

You can easily edit posts now, so as you find more, you can put them all in one post. Otherwise, it kind of hurts the thread.

God Bless.

I’ve never heard of it so thanks!!!
Just finished reading Wikipedia about it.

Just a question though
It advocates subsidarism but there are many things which can’t be broken down to smaller units.
Eg who determines who will get to mine a lucrative site? Who determines whether to build a much needed highway but involves removing the property rights of a group of people?

I’ve never actually finished “The Servile State”, but I was intrigued by several ideas in the early chapters, and that was how I first ran into distributism. The fact that Chesterton also embraced it was a big plus in my mind. :slight_smile:

So, like, before Prohibition, say there were 50,000 companies that made whiskey. So the whiskey-manufacturing pie was split 50,000 ways. Nowadays, four companies own 75% of the scotch-whiskey market, according to a Forbes article that I can’t read, 'cause it doesn’t like my adblocker. :slightly_smiling_face: Eight companies in the US account for 99% of the whiskey market, according to Wikipedia. So instead of having the pie split up 50,000 ways… the pie is split into four significant pieces, with one quarter left over for everyone else to parcel out; or it’s split into eight significant pieces, with a few crumbs left over for your little craft distilleries.

So, with distributism, you don’t have Apple or Microsoft or Ford or Chevrolet or ConAgra or Johnson & Johnson or Proctor & Gamble or PepsiCo or Tyson Chicken or MeadWestvaco. Business and economies are small and local. The chickens and pigs and eggs you eat come from a farm within 20 miles of your home. Your flour and paper are milled locally. Your lumber comes from the local sawmill, not Lowes or Home Depot. There aren’t these big multinational conglomerations— the product, the jobs, it’s all local. And the means of producing them are local, too. If it’s more than what an individual can afford, then groups of people team up to invest together, like with guilds, but it’s still a local enterprise.

I think it’s a very cool idea, but with things being as global as they are-- and regulations making it more complicated to enter into business than it was 100 years ago-- it will be hard to return to at any particular scale.

1 Like

I support distributism.

Does anyone have a link to an article that can explain distributism to me? I’ve heard of it, and I know it’s Catholic, plus I’ve learned a few things from this thread. but now I’m intrigued, and want to know more.

1 Like

This should help:

Also, The Distributist Review is a good website that offers analysis from a Distributist perspective if you’re interested.

Return to Order is a good read…

1 Like

Sure, but why do you think so? I’m curious, especially since I’m fairly new to Distributism.

I would think the federal government would still have a role in that, but in America the power comes from the people so the people or their representatives would have to decide that.
As far as I know it allows for such a government to do those sorts of things. It like the Catechism is against “Excessive intervention by the state which can threaten personal freedom and initiative” Property rights would have to be negotiated, and people living there can be relocated or reimbursed for their loss.

Good point! Although there are many huge multinational corporations, there are even more small and mid sized businesses, which could easily fall into the distributism system. The multinationals could remain, but wherever they are they can also take part in the local distribution, in return for shared ownership. They themselves could face barriers to entry in such a distributive network, where no one buys their goods, because local goods are cheaper or better in quality, even if artificially.

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit