Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Politics: Distributivism, It's Probably Not What You Think It Is

Politics come up with me in conversation. I don't think I aim for it, but it just seems to happen (so does Religion... thankfully I also seem to have a flame dampener around me... most of the time). 

"I'm a distributivist," I tell them, and, almost inevitably, they think it's some kind of cute term for socialism. It isn't, indeed its quite distinct. Here's a definition, taken from the website of distinguished distributivist John C. Médaille. He's got quite a detailed "encyclopedia of distributivism" if you want to know more.
"an economic theory... [it]ts key tenet is that ownership of the means of production should be as widespread as possible rather than being concentrated in the hands of a few owners (Capitalism) or in the hands of state bureaucrats (Socialism)"
There's of course a lot more to the theory, and it's further tied (typically) to communitarian/localist politics, which hold that government power, as much as possible, should be widespread and distributed (see the connection?). There's many justifications for this view, some practical and others moral. I've talked about it a few times here before, and plan to say more about it in the future, but there's your basic definition.