All the powers of the State have been invoked by Capitalism to restore servile conditions; we shall not react against servile conditions unless we avail ourselves of the same methods. An Essay on the Restoration of Property Embed. Now, in issuing such suggestions and commands the larger man has an overwhelming advantage over the smaller. A small proportion of individual shareholders not of share value should suffice to veto a policy or change. Belloc’s premise is interesting:

They were not so numerous as to mark the character of society until the religious revolution of the sixteenth century had destroyed the ancient walls which had protected the freedom of the human city. The first is the cost of obtaining justice; the second, the legislative effect of judicial decisions. There can be no perfection about it; it must remain 34 The Restoration of Property incomplete: As to the second, converse, half of this policy. Therefore the use of choice is necessary to human dignity. A society of small owners may be over conservative and timid, probably more ignorant, than an economic oligarchy controlling its mass of wage slaves. In the first case all that is needed to produce the complete Servile State is a series of laws whereby every family — or every individual, if the family be eliminated — shall receive at least so much wealth as will maintain a certain standard of comfort and leisure; this minimum being provided for the dispossessed out of the stores controlled by the possessors.

belloc an essay on the restoration of property

bbelloc Apr 24, Jason rated it liked it Shelves: You could not undo even a part of it without a crash — even if you had despotic power; and to hope to do so without despotic power is plainly chimerical.

With a good distribution of property and a habit of well distributed shareholding, and a growth of small units, common sense would soon decide this on its largest lines.

The chief requisite is virtuous action…. No eBook available Amazon. I doubt heavily that it is possible to plant successfully even the small seedlings of economic freedom in our society, here, bslloc England, today. The criticism is profoundly just. How can we, meanwhile, sow fresh seed, from whence the institution of property shall begin to re-arise? With welldivided property the point is obvious. Thirdly, there must be a capital tax on industrial shares as distinguished from land, which is in a different category altogether.


Only then, after their destruction, was the field free for the growth of plutocracy in politics propertt Capitalism in the economic structure of the State.

An Essay on the Restoration of Property

An essay in defense of making, tilling, creating as human needs. A very interesting short book on catholic social thought and distributism.

But the truth is, as we shall see later on, that the supposed conflict between prooerty and abundance, between freedom and a general enjoyment of that abundance, is an illusion born of Capital- Hilaire Belloc 33 ism.

We restoratkon be permitted to hope that its re-issue will contribute in some small way to a Restoration of not only property, but also of that conception of economic life which subordinates money and wealth to both the true needs of man and to the true Order which is Divine. State ownership is better, of course, than ownership by a few very rich individuals, or even the ownership by many small shareholders who are at the mercy of propperty few rich ones, as ot are under our English company law, but beloc is always the danger in State ownership that the men who work for the State-owned instrument will turn, if they are not turned already, into wage slaves, without other support than the weekly provision made for them by their master — the State.

There is no necessity for amalgamation into larger and larger units, where the instruments used do not of themselves impose larger and larger units. The essay is thus an anticapitalist and antisocialist work of Christian and Catholic social thought in which basic truths about society and human nature are applied to socioeconomics. Restoragion family does not possess that freedom which is necessary for its full moral health and that of the State of which it is the unit. The family is ideally free when it fully controls all the means necessary for the production of such wealth as it should consume for normal living.

If you approach a most difficult task under the illusion or the pretence that it restorxtion less difficult you may strengthen your supporters by the drug of illusion but you weaken them much more by persuading eesay to work in the void.


A general meeting of shareholders is really no control at all. There are many who will say that shareholding in large concerns, however well distributed, is a most imperfect way of realizing economic freedom. This is an exceedingly important point which the earlier critics of Capitalism overlooked.

Every unit in our social machinery, every habit of our thought takes the present perversion of civilization for granted. On the contrary, absence of ownership, dependence on a precarious wage at the will of others is the general feature of our society and determines its character.

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A book by one of the original distributists. For in such a state of society the Servile State the determining note is lack of freedom: As to the second answer: The restpration of discovery and application does not as was arbitrarily affirmed in the nineteenth century and even later necessarily make for the large unit.

belloc an essay on the restoration of property

It marks a key point in the history of economic thought, and it is a fundamental text illustrating the influence of religion and philosophy on social thought and their practical application to societal questions. The power of the larger unit to purchase the more expensive material instrument which the smaller units cannot purchase save in combination is also obvious; but it is not always equally apparent, as it should be, that the larger unit can more easily command another immaterial instrument esssy the greatest force: If it be true, as Belloc recognizes clearly, that governments, at least of the sort we now have oh reckon with, are almost chronically unable to avoid getting in bed with big corporations, how could we genuinely trust them with such a project?

I only say that, without well distributed property, freedom cannot be; and that, if we leave things as they are, slavery must come. Shipwrecked men on a raft at sea must live, exceptionally, under Communism.