What exactly is Distributism, that economic "school" favored by Chesterton and many of his friends? It's a tough thing to summarize, but the following is a pretty good capsule. It's by Christendom College's Dr. William Fahey and is found in the Introduction to IHS Press' book, The Church and the Land
, by Chesterton's priest friend, Vincent McNabb
"The thought of Distributist thinkers can be set out according to the following canons: (1) Subsidiarity
, or the understanding that the members of a primary association (e.g., the family) must structure their lives and direct their actions responsibly and that higher associations should not—without grave cause—usurp a smaller organization's ability to accomplish its task; (2) Proprietary interest, or the commitment to the widespread ownership of property and the means of production
; (3) Defense of the local
, or a suspicion of private or public entities that threaten (1) or (2), and a willingness to support public policy that encourages small, locally-controlled economies over the domination of large retail chains and global corporations; (4) Craftsmanship
, or the confidence that local, community-based economies tend toward greater beauty, quality, and trust between the makers and the users of goods; and (5) Agrarianism
, or the belief that a rural society is the best environment for safeguarding tradition, typically understood as family-centered life, self-sufficiency, anti-majoritarianism, the dignity of labor and craftsmanship, good health, small communities, and religious vitality."