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Publisher's Summary

“To control the production of wealth is to control human life itself.”  

In this 1912 classic, wide-ranging polemicist Hilaire Belloc presents a new economic history of Europe and makes his case for "Distributism", the author’s answer to the instability of capitalism and the stringency of socialism.   

Belloc outlines the major economic transitions through the history of the West, arguing that the civilization began as servile and dependent upon slavery and only emerged with the advent of the Christian faith. The Middle Ages are highlighted as the optimal condition, marked by a fair distribution of property.  

According to Belloc, distributism failed as a result of the government’s dissolution of monasteries, which led to the development of the unstable capitalist and socialist states.  

Largely regarded as one of Belloc’s most compelling works, and certainly one of the more controversial, The Servile State serves as a paragon in unconventional thinking and Belloc’s signature lucid prose.

Public Domain (P)2018 New Classic Books

What listeners say about The Servile State

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  • jsewell
  • 08-02-2021

Rough narrator

The book itself is fine. The reading of it is awful. The narrator often substitutes the wrong word for the one on the page or even adds or omits “un-“ in front of a word, which makes the sentence mean the opposite of the author’s original intention. I listened along with the text, and I’m glad I did. Otherwise I would have misunderstood some of the book at the fault of the narrator’s misreading.

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  • C. Saylor
  • 20-06-2020

Belloc brilliant, reader rotten

Belloc, writing in 1912, was prescient. He foresaw that socialism, because it works with the grain of the culture of capitalism, must end by aiding capitalism (as B defined it). We can see now (2020), that in spite of efforts in the 30's to create stability in the way B anticipated, instability remains and the culmination of the truly servile state looms larger than ever.

The problem with this audio book is the reader's wooden performance. He gives the impression of not understanding the words he is reading.

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  • Stephen Barker
  • 27-10-2019

Rough listen

Narrator's delivery was flat and it often sounded like he didn't understand what he was reading

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  • Gustavo Z.
  • 14-02-2019

Awful narration! Get someone else

This Jackson Moss reads very much like an automated service. Mostly monotone, poor inflection if at all, and no overall flow. His speech is pedantic, making sure to carve out words. Missing the forrest for the trees. What a shame as the book is great.

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