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What Is Distributism?

I recently sat down with Michael Thomas of Sharon to discuss distributism, and how it’s different as an economic system. He is a father, husband, homesteader, and traditional farmer. To find more of his work, you can check out the website for the Brickhouse Farm and Orchard. Michael is also an avid reader, which is how he came across distributism. Also, as a Catholic who believes a distributist economic model is closest to Catholic social teaching, he’s interested in sharing this idea more people.

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What is Capitalism?

For this conversation, I went with Michael’s definition of capitalism. I don’t think it’s a perfect definition, but in order to show the differences in the economic models, I found it useful. He described capitalism as the belief that pursuit of accumulating capital or creating profit is the goal.

What is Socialism?

We defined socialism as a system where equality is the goal. Furthermore, it’s where equality is the goal, and where the state brings that about through command of the economy. Both of us dismissed socialism as a valid option because it wasn’t the topic and was obviously different from distributism.

What is Distributism?

Popularized by thinkers like Chesterton and Belloc, distributism is a system where the common good is the aim. In the distributist’s world, we promote the common good by having widespread property rights and not counting every action in dollars and cents. So, the distributist aims to get property in as many people’s hands as possible and tear down barriers to entrepreneurship. Basically, distributists argue for a fairly free market, but only if that market is ordered toward the good of the community.

How is Distributism Different?

Distributism, as Mike conveyed it, and capitalism as I imagine it didn’t seem too different. However, as our conversation progressed, I began to understand his distinctions better. For him, the distinction is what we hold as the highest good. Do we seek profit and capital at all costs? Or, do we say there are actions that can’t earn an income? However you define these terms, the discussion of these different systems was incredibly interesting.

228. Peter Kreeft's Intro to the Summa Theologiae by St. Thomas Aquinas Conversation of Our Generation

 I wanted to start reading the Summa Theologiae by Thomas Aquinas – until I realized it was a multi-volume set. So, I despaired and looked for another option. And, I ran across A Shorter Summa, Peter Kreeft's work that helps introduce people to Aquinas. Buy your copy of A Shorter Summa by Peter Kreeft here>> Full episode: Peter Kreeft's Intro to the Summa Theologiae by St. Thomas Aquinas  Who Was St. Thomas Aquinas? Thomas Aquinas is a Dominican friar, Catholic Saint, and a Doctor of the Church. He was philosopher who helped the Medieval Church incorporate Aristotle and the Greek philosophers into the Catholic tradition. He was a spectacular thinker and writer whose impact on the Church is still tremendous. While he's best known for the Summa Theologiae, he also wrote numerous commentaries, the Summa Contra Gentiles, and much more. What is the Summa Theologiae? Buy your copy of A Shorter Summa by Peter Kreeft here>> Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae is his largest work. Aquinas wrote the Summa to be a beginner's guide to the faith. Today, we would think it is rather comprehensive and hard to grapple with. It argues in favor of belief in God and the teachings of the Catholic Church as well as speculate on moral and theological questions. How Peter Kreeft helps read the Summa Theologiae What I found helpful about Kreeft's summary of the Summa Theologiae is how he broke down the questions. Kreeft's offered insight and background to questions, but didn't talk down to the reader. I found his notes helpful in understanding the context as well as the methods and jargon used in philosophy. His glossary of terms helped me grasp the concepts because Thomas didn't write in a way we'd be familiar with. Unless you've read and studied Aristotle (which I barely had at the time), much of what Aquinas wants to say is muddled. By leveraging Aristotle's system, he took on his terms and methods. Kreeft translates that in the notes, helping the layman like myself make better sense of it. Buy your copy of A Shorter Summa by Peter Kreeft here>> — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/conofourgen/support
  1. 228. Peter Kreeft's Intro to the Summa Theologiae by St. Thomas Aquinas
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You can also listen to the podcast on distributism and the distributist economic system here, ad-free.

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