“The winner in all this,” I continued, “will be the Servile State: Hilaire Belloc’s label for a system where monopoly capitalists, financiers, and government bureaucrats merge into an entity practising state capitalism. Under its terms the capitalists and bankers gain order and protection of their wealth and property while property-less workers receive welfare benefits specifically tied to their wage labor, such as unemployment insurance, which provides security but also confirms their servile status. For his part, Chesterton called this arrangemnent a ‘Business Government’ which, he said, ‘will combine everything that is bad in all the plans for a better world…. There will be nothing left but a loathsome thing called Social Service.” The balance of my talk included examples of the Servile State at work in America, Russia, and China. It also explored the curious new subjegation of women found– most remarkably– in Scandinavia, where the Business Government has essentially socialized “women’s work”: “women find servility in their strange, new, functional marriage to the state.”
“Servile World: How ‘The Big Business Government,’ ‘The Loathsome Thing Called Social Service,’ and Other Distrubutist Nightmares All Came True
At a still more troubling level, there is evidence that shifts in federal housing policy were actually coming to favor family break-up. In brief, by 1970 most married-couple American families with children were in their own homes. To keep up housing demand, regulators subtly shifted mortgage subsidies away from intact traditional families toward “underserved,” “non-traditional,” “non-family” households: single persons; sole-mother households; unmarried couples; the divorced. In fact, two analysts showed that as early as 1980, the American population was “diffusing itself” into a still expanding housing supply; the number of housing units was growing at nearly twice the rate of population increase. Put more bluntly, the new availability of subsidized mortgages for the non-married actually appears to have encouraged divorce and other forms of modern post-family living. In a manner that Chesterton would have deplored, lawmakers and regulators had stripped American housing policy of normative content. No longer family-centric, with a special focus on the needs of children, it would now be “neutral” as to lifestyle. In practice, these changes blended the U.S. mortgage market together with certain emerging social pathologies and unstable speculation to create a precarious system: again, a problem already evident to some observers as early as 30 years ago. The wonder is that the contradictions in this system took nearly three decades to work themselves out as part of the current crisis.