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The Outline of Sanity

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  157 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
As an advocate of Distributism, an early 20th-century school of social thought developed by the author and his colleagues, Chesterton addresses the topics of concentration of wealth, poverty, work, agriculture, machinery, and capital in this famous work. He favored distribution of wealth while being antisocialist; he advocated ownership of private property while being anti ...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published September 1st 2002 by Ihs Press (first published November 30th 1925)
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G.R. Hewitt
This book certainly makes you stop and ponder; even more so when you realise that not much, if anything has changed since it was written over 90 years ago. Corporate monoliths are alive and well; advertisers still “... tell people in a bullying way that they must ‘Do It Now’ when they need not do it at all.” - taken from my favourite chapter ‘The Bluff of the Big Shops.’ Written in the usual Chestertonian style it does not have the wit of some of his other works and rightly so; this is a serious ...more
Bryan Kibbe
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Although Chesterton wrote this book in the early twentieth century, it remains just as relevant today in a world where we continue to see massive consolidation, corporations too big to fail, relentless standardization of the products that shape our lives, and the increasing machine mentality to make the so called medicine go down. This book is a summation of an ongoing series of debates that Chesterton engaged in with a range of Capitalists and Socialists on the question of a proposed third alte ...more
Apr 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A great primer on Distributism, to be prefaced by Rerum Novarum.
J. Alfred
Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Chesterton's usual bombast is freighted a little bit in this one in that he has to keep edging back to particulars: he's discussing the economic conditions of the early 1900s, and he's Outlining what he thinks will be a Sane, that is to say sustainable, way of easing the tensions that looked like they were going to rip society apart. It's interesting to note that, while Chesterton's impact as a serious thinker has never been seriously entertained, some of what he argued for-- like supporting sma ...more
Lara Lleverino
Jul 31, 2011 marked it as to-read
This was the third book of the the Mumford and Sons bookclub! Wow! Will have to check it out. I've read one other Chesterton book and didn't understand it at all so I'll have to try again.
Vinicius Cheliga
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um bom livro sobre arranjos econômicos e a situação atual que vivemos. Seu pensamento é rico, com opções a nossa vivência em sociedade. É preciso ter paciência, pois sua leitura é um pouco truncada, por vezes datada. É necessário não observar não o escrito em si, mas acolher o espírito que o livro trás. Livro recomendado principalmente a quem estuda a Doutrina Social da Igreja.
Sep 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is the type of book that changes how you think about the world. This book asks a very simple question: are you willing to give up your freedom for security? Chesterton shows how both Capitalism and Socialism take freedom from the individual for the promise of security (most often false security) - either physical or material. This leads to a broader question: is it better to be uncomfortable and free, or comfortable and a slave. Chesterton states that men easily accept despotism and slavery ...more
Aug 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People frustrated with the "economy"
Shelves: at-home
Chesterton makes a few very good points, but I had to wade through a lot of trivia to get there. He defines "Capitalism" not as simply free markets, but the condition where capital is concentrated into only a few hands, and most people become wage earners instead of the more healthy state of self-sufficient farmers or business owners.

"Capitalism is contradictory a soon as it is complete; because it is dealing with the mass of men in two opposite ways at once... For the capitalist is always tryin
Oct 21, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Chesterton
Chesterton presents his views of Capitalism and Socialism: both are wrong-headed and end up in the same place. The paradise of the capitalist turns out to be socialism. Instead, he recommeds Distributism: that is, the subsidiarity principle to the maximum, which leads to a return to the land as the only feasable solution.

He lacks some of his wit as in other books; I found myself somewhat bored at times. Though there are some jewels of passages throughout.

Is it feasable? We should rather ask: are
Aug 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rhonda by: Chesterton Book Club
This book is thought provoking. It outlines Chesterton's dream economy, distributism. It reprints several essays he wrote on the topic. Some ideas from is essays (in a nutshell): land/business ownership is good, smaller is better, local is better, profit is good but look at the whole picture and how private enterprise does not always work for the good of the common man.
Ak Hauck
Sep 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Always amazing how prescient Chesterton remains. In a time when Distributiism is being legislated in our country, it would be wise for the citizenry to familiarize themselves with the cogent and brilliant argument Chesterton raises against it and other hinderances to our economic and social well-being.
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mainly polemics aimed at various critics of Distributism. I liked it better than Belloc's "Servile State" but less than "Restoration of Property." He's much more optimistic than Belloc. He wants people to approach the project with a sacramental, quasi-religious mindset.
Sally Ewan
Apr 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Chesterton writes about his proposed plan of Distributism for the common man. I admire his dexterity with words, but I think his wordplay distracted from his line of thought. The vision of living on the land and being content there is a lovely one.
C. Tilden
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
full of typical, witty chestertonisms, but not one of his better works. some essays are wonderful in theory, but he does not give much solid practical solutions for implementing his beloved economic system.
Pat Miller
Feb 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
I love Chesterton, but economics was not his forte. Had I not been reading on my Kindle I would've thrown it against the wall!
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I had a hard time finishing this. I really enjoyed some of the ideas of distributism, but most of the book seemed to ramble on and on.
I couldn't get on with this. This topic requires clarity and analysis, not endless analogies and not-quite illustrations, quips and comparisons.

I am otherwise a GKC fan.
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Chesterton on Distributism.
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Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was born in London, educated at St. Paul’s, and went to art school at University College London. In 1900, he was asked to contribute a few magazine articles on art criticism, and went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time. He wrote a hundred books, contributions to 200 more, hundreds of poems, including the epic Ballad of the White Horse, fi ...more
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“A pickpocket is obviously a champion of private enterprise. But it would perhaps be an exaggeration to say that a pickpocket is a champion of private property. The point about Capitalism and Commercialism, as conducted of late, is that they have really preached the extension of business rather than the preservation of belongings; and have at best tried to disguise the pickpocket with some of the virtues of the pirate.” 10 likes
“There cannot be a nation of millionaires, and there never has been a nation of Utopian comrades; but there have been any number of nations of tolerably contented peasants.” 2 likes
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