Mandeville, LA – It was nearly a hundred years after the ravages of industrial capitalism had spread across the United Kingdom that a group of people in England began to talk about this sort of society, and they gave it the name of Distributism. It was a largely literary movement, with giants like Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton, and it set out in careful and inspiring terms what the good society would look like, giving a framework and a name to what had long been seen as an ideal, or at least more reasonable, way of life. It did not have a great deal of success, on the ground as it were, because of all the 20th-century forces stacked against it, but it suggested the ways people might organize their lives insofar as those forces permitted it and the kind of world to be working for.
That philosophy is still alive today, as this book attests, though it is not always named Distributism, and so, surprisingly enough, are some of the actual elements of it, taking shape at the edges of the dominant society. To suggest but a few, there is the bioregional movement, deep ecology, farmers markets, community-supported agriculture, organic farming, homegrown gardens, local- and slow-food movements, alternative currencies, alterna- tive medicine, alternative energy, intermediate technology, Buy-Nothing Day, simple living, home schooling, neo-Luddism, worker ownership, anti- globalization, anti-free trade, environmental interest groups, ecological res- toration, land trusts, and land preservation. All of these would be welcomed by Distributists as living out their legacy. – Kirpatrick Sale, Beyond Capitalism & Socialism