Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review of the Servile State - Section IV

"SECTION IV
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 mould"
The Servile State, Synopsis of Section IV

Mr. Belloc says that the seeds of capitalism were sown in the sixteenth century, and were in full maturation by the nineteenth. I am sure it was not lost on the Anglo-Frank Catholic that this is also roughly the start and growth of Protestant theologies and Enlightenment philosophies, something he would consider as heresies against orthodox Catholic theology.

In 1535, the Church owned roughly 30% of English property, English aristocracy owned roughly 30%, the rest was divided among the peasantry and public land. Then, King Henry VIII started to confiscate property from the monasteries (lowering the amount of property owned by the Church), only to have that property taken from the Crown and given to the aristocracy (thus more land owned by them) by acts of an ever-stronger Parliament. By the time King Henry had passed away, the aristocracy had owned more than half of English land. With Parliament growing stronger, both the Crown and the Church weaker, the aristocracy owned more and more land until effectively becoming an oligarchy by the 1630's. This oligarchy was able to assert near complete control over the Crown, the Church, and local administration by the 1660's.

By the 1700's, less than one-half of the English population owned land and means of production. It was at this point that England became a capitalist state, well before the onset of the Industrial Revolution. Thus, when the innovations of the Industrial Revolution were made, the mindset of capital was already in place. The Industrial Revolution only made it easier for the oligarchs to gain more and more power, land, and capital.

It is interesting to note that it was simultaneously a stronger centralized power and a stronger church that allowed for the protection of the poor. It was when the stronger centralized power, in the hands of the king, tried to take too much power, and tried to take it from the church, did the balance of power give rise to a strong oligarchy and the fall of the peasant. Also, interesting to note, as the Crown handed more and more power to Parliament, the less and less free the peasants were, and the less property they were able to own for themselves. As the influence of the church diminished, the oligarchs had nothing telling them not to live in accordance to their greed and power lust. As the centuries past, capitalism grew in the heart of Europe.

As I wrote that last paragraph, I could not help but remember J.R.R. Tolkien. He was an anarcho-monarchist, or an unconstitutional monarchist. The king was king by the virtues he possessed. He had the authority to do what was necessary, but yet still, each subject was his own master in his own right. Note, the Shire. Technically, ruled by the Thain (usually a member of the Took family) and officiated by the mayor, the actuality was that each family minded their own business for their own affairs, and worked together when necessary. While Tolkien would have hate such a word, the proper balance of powers in the Shire made it an ideal distributist state. Any reading of Tolkien's works shows the destruction when one or a group gets too much power (please do not limit Tolkien's works to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings adaptations, as great as they were). Belloc would have been proud.


  1. Introductions
  2. Definitions
  3. Maintaining that civilization was originally servile
  4. How the original servile state was dissolved
  5. How the distributive state failed
  6. Growth of capitalism and its instability
  7. The stable solutions to this instability
  8. Socialism
  9. The inevitable move towards the servile state
  10. Maintaining that the servile state has already begun
  11. Conclusion

No comments:

Post a Comment