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Gregory and Peter, I’m afraid the real reason distributism goes nowhere is because there is a question that it is urgently important for distributists to answer if they wish to go anywhere, but which they cannot answer without ceasing to be distributists. It is: “What will you do if the free exchange of goods and services that distributism promises to maintain does not spontaneously produce the wide distribution of ownership that distributism insists we must have?”

If your answer does not involve contracting the free exchange of goods and services (e.g. “we will work to persuade people to make different choices in the marketplace”), distributism is simply capitalism for people who despise the word “capitalism.” What you’re offering is indistinguishable from what Michael Novak defended in The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism; you don’t want to change it, you just want to rebrand it.

If your answer does involve contracting the free exchange of goods and services, you have ceased to be a distributist.

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