The Servile State / Edition 2

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Overview

Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953) was one of the most respected men of his day for his learning, insight, wit, and brilliant literary style. Author of over a hundred books and articles, Belloc was a journalist, polemicist, social and political analyst, literary critic, poet, and novelist.

The Servile State has endured as his most important political work. The effect of socialist doctrine on capitalist society, Belloc wrote, is to produce a third thing different from either—the servile state, today commonly called the welfare state.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780913966327
  • Publisher: Liberty Fund, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1977
  • Edition description: 2d ed.
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 208

Table of Contents


INTRODUCTION, by Robert Nisbet 13
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION 27 Introduction
THE SUBJECT OF THIS BOOK
It is written to maintain the thesis that industrial society as we know it will tend towards the reestablishment of slavery—The sections into which the book will be divided 39 Section One
DEFINITIONS
What wealth is and why necessary to man—How produced—The meaning of the words capital, proletariat, property, means of production—The definition of the capitalist state—The definition of the servile state—What it is and what it is not—The reestablishment of status in the place of contract—That servitude is not a question of degree but of kind—Summary of these definitions 45 Section Two
OUR CIVILIZATION WAS ORIGINALLY SERVILE
The servile institution in pagan antiquity—Its fundamental character—A pagan society took it for granted—The institution disturbed by the advent of the Christian church 63 Section Three
HOW THE SERVILE INSTITUTION WAS FOR A TIME DISSOLVED
The subconscious effect of the faith in this matter—The main elements of pagan economic society—The villa—The transformation of the agricultural slave into the Christian serf—Next into the Christian peasant—The corresponding erection throughout Christendom of the distributive state—It is nearly complete at the close of the Middle Ages—"It was not machinery that lost us our freedom, it was the loss of a free mind" 71 Section Four
HOW THE DISTRIBUTIVE STATE FAILED
This failure original in England—The story of the decline from distributive property to capitalism—The economic revolution of the sixteenth century—The confiscation of monastic land—What might have happened had the state retained it—As a fact that land is captured by an oligarchy—England is capitalist before the advent of the Industrial Revolution—Therefore modern industry, proceeding from England, has grown in a capitalist mold 85 Section Five
THE CAPITALIST STATE IN PROPORTION AS IT GROWS PERFECT GROWS UNSTABLE
It can of its nature be but a transitory phase lying between an earlier and a later stable state of society—The two internal strains which render it unstable—(a) The conflict between its social realities and its moral and legal basis—(b) The insecurity and insufficiency to which it condemns free citizens—The few possessors can grant or withhold livelihood from the many nonpossessors—Capitalism is so unstable that it dares not proceed to its own logical conclusion, but tends to restrict competition among owners, and insecurity and insufficiency among nonowners 107 Section Six
THE STABLE SOLUTIONS OF THIS INSTABILITY
The three stable social arrangements which alone can take the place of unstable capitalism—The distributive solution, the collectivist solution, the servile solution—The reformer will not openly advocate the servile solution—There remain only the distributive and the collective solution 121 Section Seven
SOCIALISM IS THE EASIEST APPARENT SOLUTION OF THE CAPITALIST CRUX
A contrast between the reformer making for distribution and the reformer making for socialism (or collectivism)—The difficulties met by the first type—He is working against the grain—The second is working with the grain—Collectivism a natural development of capitalism—It appeals both to capitalist and proletarian—Nonetheless, we shall see that the collectivist attempt is doomed to fail and to produce a thing very different from its object—to wit, the servile state 127 Section Eight
THE REFORMERS AND THE REFORMED ARE ALIKE MAKING FOR THE SERVILE STATE
There are two types of reformers working along the line of least resistance—These are the socialist and the practical man—The socialist again is of two kinds, the humanist and the statistician—The humanist would like both to confiscate from the owners and to establish security and sufficiency for the nonowners—He is allowed to do the second thing by establishing servile conditions—He is forbidden to do the first—The statistician is quite content so long as he can run and organize the poor—Both are canalized towards the servile state and both are shepherded off their ideal collectivist state—Meanwhile the great mass, the proletariat, upon whom the reformers are at work, though retaining the instinct of ownership, has lost any experience of it and is subject to private law much more than to the law of the courts—This is exactly what happened in the past during the converse change from slavery to freedom—Private law became stronger than public at the beginning of the Dark Ages—The owners welcomed the changes which maintained them in ownership and yet increased the security of their revenue—Today the nonowners will welcome whatever keeps them a wage?earning class but increases their wages and their security without insisting on the expropriation of the owners 139 An Appendix showing the collectivist proposal to "buy out" the capitalist in lieu of expropriating him is vain. Section Nine
THE SERVILE STATE HAS BEGUN
The manifestation of the servile state in law or proposals of law will fall into two sorts—(a) Laws or proposals of law compelling the proletariat to work—(b) Financial operations riveting the grip of capitalists more strongly upon society—As to (a), we find it already at work in measures such as the Insurance Act and proposals such as compulsory arbitration, the enforcement of trades union bargains and the erection of "labor colonies," etc., for the "unemployable"—As to the second, we find that so?called municipal or socialist experiments in acquiring the means of production have already increased and are continually increasing the dependence of society upon the capitalist 171 CONCLUSION 199
INDEX 203
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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    Short but full of ideas on distributism

    Loved it!

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    Posted August 24, 2009

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