Chesterton Conference tackles economics

29 Oct 2019

Campion College has once again hosted the annual conference of the Australian Chesterton Society, which this year was held on Saturday October 19, and attracted more than 60 participants from various parts of Australia.

The conference focused on the theme, “Reclaiming the Economy: A Chesterton Alternative”.  It examined the social philosophy of G.K. Chesterton, which is called Distributism, in a present-day economic environment marked by bigness – big business corporations, big government and, most recently, big social media networks.  It addressed the need for an imaginative rethinking of today’s economic order, as a necessary prelude to any practical and political solutions.

Various speakers examined Chesterton’s vision of a wide distribution of ownership as a counter to the concentration of wealth and economic power.  Chesterton believed that this kind of social order was more likely to lead to productive enterprise, and enhance economic freedom as a necessary foundation of social and other freedoms.

The speakers were:

  • Dr Garrick Small of Central Queensland University, who presented two papers - one on the marketplace and the family, and a second on the ideas of the 19th century American political economist, Henry George;
  • Fr Paul Stenhouse MSC, Editor of Australia’s oldest Catholic journal, Annals, who considered the vital contributions of the 19th century Australian poet, journalist and social reformer, John Farrell; and
  • Karl Schmude, President of the Australian Chesterton Society and co-founder of Campion College, who explored the imaginative roots of Distributism in Chesterton’s novels and poems.

The papers were video-recorded and will be available on YouTube and the Society’s own website.  A booklet publication of the papers will also be available for purchase.

This was the Australian Chesterton Society’s fourteenth national conference.  The past ten conferences have all been held at Campion College.

Author: Karl Schmude, Australian Chesterton Society President