Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953) was one of the most respected men of his day for his learning, insight, wit, and brilliant literary style. Author of over a hundred books and articles, Belloc was a journalist, polemicist, social and political analyst, literary critic, poet, and novelist.
The Servile State has endured as his most important political work. The effect of socialist doctrine on capitalist society, Belloc wrote, is to produce a third thing different from either—the servile state, today commonly called the welfare state.
Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (1870-1953) was an Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalise British subject in 1902. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He is most notable for his Catholic faith, which had a strong impact on most of his works and his writing collaboration with G.K. Chesterton.
Three of his best-known non-fiction works are The Servile State (1912), Europe and Faith (1920) and The Jews (1922).
With G.K. Chesterton, Cecil Chesterton and Arthur Penty, Belloc had envisioned the socioeconomic system of distributism. In The Servile State, written after his party-political career had come to end, and other works, he criticized the modern economic order and parliamentary system, advocating distributism in opposition to both capitalism and socialism. Belloc made the historical argument that distributism was not a fresh perspective or program of economics but rather a proposed return to the economics that prevailed in Europe for the thousand years when it was Catholic. He called for the dissolution of Parliament and its replacement with committees of representatives for the various sectors of society, an idea popular among Fascists under the name of corporatism. Original corporatism, sometimes called "paleo-corporatism", was a system that predates capitalism and fascism. Paleo-corporatism was based around the guilds of the Middle Ages and served to appoint legislators. Neo-corporatism is a fascist system that merges the state with the capitalistic corporations and the corporations then are directed by the state, under nominal private ownership. Belloc's views fit medieval paleo-corporatism rather than neo-corporatist fascism.
With these linked themes in the background, he wrote a long series of contentious biographies of historical figures, including Oliver Cromwell, James II, and Napoleon. They show him as an ardent proponent of orthodox Catholicism and a critic of many elements of the modern world.