Should a Distributist own stocks & mutual funds?

Distributism teaches that ownership of the means of production should be widespread (there’s got to be a way to say that without so many prepositional phrases!).  In other words, it opposes our current form of capitalism (the means of production in the hands of very few; a near-oligarchy) and also opposes socialism (the means of production in the hands of the State).

As such, is it moral/ethical/proper for a Distributist to own stocks and mutual funds?  On the one hand, it’s a form of savings, which is necessary for living a Distributist lifestyle (in the sense that it makes one open to entrepreneurship).  Additionally, we are to be responsible stewards of our money (as Catholic financial expert Phil Lenehan and others say), and bonds are doing terribly.  On the other, it’s a participation in an often greed-based economy, giving tacit approval to the excesses of capitalism often seen in the U.S., and it can be an occasion of sin in terms of getting a greed-based mindset.

What say you?


Eric Pavlat is a convert from Unitarian Universalism who entered the Church in 1996. He lives in Maryland with his wife and six children. He is also a perpetually professed Lay Dominican in St. Pius V Pro-Chapter, located in Catonsville, MD. He founded Democrats for Life of Maryland, Inc., in 2004, served one term as president, and stayed on the board of directors until 2010. He now considers himself more a Distributist than anything else. Eric teaches 10th grade honors and special education students in English literature, composition, and grammar at his alma mater, Parkdale High School.

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