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‘‘ . . . If we do not restore the Institution
of Property we cannot escape restoring
the Institution of Slavery; there
is no third course.’’
The Servile State, introductory quote
THE SUBJECT OF THIS BOOK: – It is written to maintain the thesis that industrial society as we know it will tend towards the re-establishment of slavery – The sections into which the book will be divided”
The Servile State, Synopsis of the Introduction
The purpose of this series is to comb through the relatively short, but deep, book by Hilaire Belloc called The Servile State.
Hilaire Belloc, born Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc in the suburbs of Paris, France in 1870. He was raised in England as a Catholic, and eventually joined the British House of Commons for the Liberal Party.
He had a very prolific writing career, and often worked alongside of another English Catholic writer, G.K. Chesterton. The two together, along with papal encyclicals, created an economic system that has been dubbed “distributism.”
In this economic ideology, the means of production are owned as widely as possible, instead of by the state (socialism/communism), a handful of few (plutocracy), or by corporations (capitalism). In more recent terms, it is against both “big business” and “big government.” It is built on the principles of subsidiarity (that solutions are to be met by the most local means possible) and solidarity (the diverse group of individuals or family units that come together to tie the society together as a whole).
Thus brings us to The Servile State. Each post will be on one section of the book at a time. The first edition was originally published in 1912, and I am using a 1977 posthumous reprint of the second edition originally published in 1913.
The introduction was to set up the purpose of his essay, the purpose of the book. He outlines the book in nine sections and a conclusion. Belloc maintains that modern society is inherently unstable, and working towards a means of stability, but at a price. He states that there will be an established compulsory labor force enforced legally upon those “who do not own the means of production for the advantage of those who do,” that the labor force will be secured in their slavery because of their already lack of “necessaries of life and in a minimum of well-being beneath which they shall not fall.”
The nine sections include:
- Maintaining that civilization was originally servile
- How the original servile state was dissolved
- How the distributive state failed
- Growth of capitalism and its instability
- The stable solutions to this instability
- The inevitable move towards the servile state
- Maintaining that the servile state has already begun
The goal is to write a post either daily or near daily. Each post will be on each of the sections, ending with the conclusion, and will be linked to this page as I work through it.