BELLOC SERVILE STATE by H. BELLOC THE SERVILE STATE By HILAIRE BELLOC ” If we do not restore the Institution of Property we cannot. The Servile State has ratings and 31 reviews. Joe said: Hilaire Belloc offers us a concise history of economics in Europe generally, and the distribu. In , Hilaire Belloc published The Servile State, in which the Englishman prophesied that the world was moving to a reestablishment of.

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Belloc really drives his point till you no longer can’t but agree. Some- times it was a private individual who was in this posi- tion, sometimes a corporation, but in every village you would have found this demesne land absolutely owned by the political head of the village, occupying a considerable proportion of its acreage. The three stable social arrangements which alone can take the place of unstable Capitalism The Distributive solution, the Collectivist solution, the Set vile solution The reformer will not openly ad- vocate servie Servile solution There remain only the Distributive and the Collectivist solution.

It fought against the segvile wealth, the struggle of the Civil Wars ; it was utterly defeated ; and when a final settlement was arrived at inyou have all the realities of power in the hands of a small powerful class of wealthy men, the King still surrounded hhilaire the forms and traditions of his old power, but in practice a salaried puppet. No imaginary difficulties of degree between pulling a man’s hair and scalping him, between warming him and burning him alive, will disturb a reformer whose business it is to ex- punge torture from some penal code.

America continues down the well-trodden path of servility, with only a fraction of its citizens decrying the process and still fewer bflloc understanding the system’s failures. Then, as now, the soil and its fixtures werethe basis of all wealth, but the proportion between the value of the soil and its fixtures and the value of other means of production implements, stores of clothing and of subsistence, etc.

Thus, when we say that a man is ” dispossessed of the means of produc- tion,” or cannot produce wealth save by the leave of another who “possesses the means of production,” we mean that he is the master helloc of his labour and has no control, in any useful amount, over either capital, or land, or both combined. If you are suffering because property is restricted to a few, you can alter that factor in the problem either by putting property into the hands of many, or by putting it into the hands of none.

Such a solution, as I shall show, is the probable goal which our society will in fact approach. It is hilairee easier to save beloc out of a revenue of than to save 10 out of a revenue of But with that we need not concern ourselves.

The Servile State

There were, of course, many other forms of human agglomeration: Someone must find the corn and the meat and the housing and the clothing by which should be supported, bet ween the extraction of the raw material beelloc the moment when the con- sumption of the finished article could begin, thehuman agents which dealt with that raw material and turned tne into the finished product. Primarily a critique of industrial capitalism. Belloc variously argues that unemployment compensation and minimum wage laws reflect this servile status, and go to massive lengths to display that the employer is a greater man than his employee that, in fact, he is an owner and his employee a slave or at least a serf, though that terminology would never be accepted by society despite its accuracy.


Nothing that the Crown let go ever went back to the Crown, and year after year more and more of what had once been the monastic land became the ab- solute possession of the large land-owners. But if this modern Capitalist England could, by a process sufficiently slow to allow for the readjust- ment of individual interests, be transformed into a Collectivist State, the apparent change at the end of that transition would not be conspicuous to the most of us, and the transition itself should have met with no shocks that theory can discover.

But they would be slaves none the less, and if their hours were many and their class numerous, the State which they supported would be a Servile State. Such a proportion may seem to us to-day a wonder- fully free arrangement, and certainly if nearly one- half of jilaire population were possessed of the means of production, we should be in a very different situa- tion from that in which we find ourselves.

So true is all this that the stupider kind of Col- lectivist will often talk of a ” Capitalist phase ” of society as the necessary precedent to a ” Collectivist phase.

He shows, with many examples, the worker’s loss of the means of production, primarily, the land; and how the means have been gobbled up by either the State or a privileged few. Belloc holds hope despite the odds: They had only to continue arguing and ex- pounding for it at last to be realised.

The first is the negation of private property and the establishment of what is called Collectivism: The servile condition is present in society only when there is also present the free citizen for whose bene- fit the slave works under the compulsion of positive law.

Elizabeth’s Poor Law at the be- ginning of the business,the Poor Law ofcoming at a moment when nearly half England had passed into the grip of Capitalism, are original and primitive instances: This reformer rightly thinks that the ownership of the means of production by a few has caused the evils which arouse his indignation and pity.

We know, for instance, what is meant by torture when it exists in a code of laws, and when it is forbidden. The documents of the time are rare. Belloc saw bellic evolving towards a situation where the state would guarantee some rights to the proletariat, in exchange for their renunciation to the power of refusing to work going on strike and their becoming fixed as a social class, which they would be unable to leave.

A man attempting to compete with one of our great English Trusts would find him- self at once undersold. Again, the Servile State would certainly exist even though a man, being only compelled to labour dur- ing a portion of his time, were free to bargain and even to accumulate in his ” free ” time.

There is no third course.

If I thhe proach, for instance, the works of one of our great Trusts, purchase it with public money, bestow, even as a gift,the shares thereof to its workmen, can I count upon any tradition of property in their midst which will prevent their squandering the new wealth? I might have treated the matter empirically, taking for granted the observation which all my readers must have made, that Capitalism is as a fact doomed, and that sevile Capitalist State has already passed into its first phase of transition.


We say that there is a moral strain already in- tolerably severe and growing more severe with every perfection of Capitalism.

That said, I read this book hoping for an exposition to distributist thinking. To take a very simple case. Capitalism was here in England before the Industrial System came into being ; before the use of coal and of the new ex- pensive machinery, and of the concentration of the implements of production in the great towns. If still alive, Belloc would probably give three answers.

On the Road to the Servile State | Mises Institute

It pun- ishes theft as an abnormal incident only occurring when, through evil motives, one free citizen acquires the property of another without his knowledge and against his will. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. Its great works, its leisure and its domestic life, its humour, its reserves of power, all depend upon the fact that its society was that of the Servile State. Again, the Capitalist, free, individual direc- tor of production, will miscalculate ; sometimes he will fail, and his works will be shut down.

What was the characteristic mark of that half-cen- tury and more? These three forms under which labour was exer- cised the serf, secure in his position, and burdened 49 4 THE SERVILE STATE only with regular dues, which were but a fraction of his produce ; the freeholder, a man independent save for money dues, which were more of a tax than a rent; the Guild, in which well-divided capital worked co- operatively for craft production, for transport and for commerce all three between them were making for a society which should be based upon the principle of property.

The Church was further the ab- solute owner in practice of something like 30 per cent, of the demesne land in the villages, and the re- ceiver of something like 30 per cent, of the custom- ary dues, etc. As in the analogy in the book The Lights in the Tunnela small amount of capitalists can’t shine bright enough to light the tunnel of life as the proletariat dims. The first of these strains arises from the diver- gence between the moral theories upon which the State reposes and the social facts which those moral theories attempt to govern.

The Natural Family | Hilaire Belloc’s The Servile State:

Certain features in that original Servile State from which we all spring should be carefully noted by way of conclusion. Does the State in enforcing that contract make me for that week a slave? Most of its expenses were competitive.