"The servile state is that in which we find so considerable a body of families and individuals distinguished from free citizens by the mark of compulsory labor as to stamp a general character upon society, and all the chief characters, good or evil, attaching to the institution of slavery will be found permeating such a state, whether the slaves be directly and personally attached to their masters, only indirectly attached through the medium of the state, or attached in a third manner through their subservience to corporations or to particular industries... and the distinguishing mark of the slave proceeds from the special action upon him of a positive law which separates within the general body of the community one body of men, the less free, from another, the more free, in the function of contract... we are re-establishing the slave."3
"The state did not originate in any form of social agreement... The state originated in conquest and confiscation, as a device for maintaining the stratification of society permanently into two classes - an owning and exploiting class, relatively small, and a propertyless dependent class... No state in history originated in any other manner, or for any other purpose than to enable the continuous economic exploitation of one class by another."4
Albert Jay Nock
A servile state exists for a dependent, landless, wage-bound and unfree labor, or any equally repressed capital wherever one "factor" (i.e., capital or labor) acquires hegemony in our affairs. A necessary balance of social power, and balancing dynamic, is thus diminished or destroyed. As a result, we are unable to either fairly define or mediate "our" economy and secure a just balance in society. In this way freedom, democracy, and progress are deformed, denied, and destroyed.
Today we are caught in yet another state of gross factor imbalance wherein we are again re-creating a servile state - i.e., this time with wage-labor imprisoned by a ruthless and amoral global capital. As in the past, the reason for this dismal condition is that no equally-potent freedom, or compensating social and political force, exists to offset the force of capital.
Further, a globalization of markets and new communications technology has, in a still very disparate and undemocratic world, given wings to capital - enabling long-distance exploitation and extortion to further aggravate imbalance. The consequence of these changes is that capital alone is now supreme in our lives.In the absence of natural freedom upon the land or any countervailing factor powers, capital is then driven by competition toward a complete dismantling of labor’s freedom and effective democracy - all to secure a total, and most profitable, enclosure of wage-labor. Inevitably, however, reaction against such crude exploitation and repression arises.
Driven by the need to revenge one’s enclosure and exploitation mankind has a habit of bypassing The Middle Way to bury factor balance and substitute one polarized, half-state, tyranny after another. In any case, understanding the nature of a servile, neo-slave, state is essential if we are to progress toward any meaningful restorations of both natural liberty and justice for all.
In the nature of things, humanity’s, post-enclosure, yearnings for re-enfranchisement and independence upon the land may be our only constant. Caught in a servile state and wage-bound condition the rights and needs of the enclosed becomes the eternal subtext of nearly all debate and conflict. The nature of reform is thus driven by the nature of imbalance, and by our disparate freedoms and enfranchisements. The more reform fails the faster we move toward repression, tyranny, collapse and violent solutions.
The challenge is to find ways and devices by which society avoids the sins and traumas of the past while moving to real reform, re-enfranchisement, factor balance, free and democratic markets, free cooperatives and sustainable societies. Otherwise, on an increasingly overcrowded planet, we are destined to diminish and destroy our quantums of freedom, space, and potential for both market cornucopias and cooperative havens in a sustained peace and plenty.
While we may appreciate the many wonders of industrial-age and high-tech economies, and seek out urban life and society, we cannot blind ourselves to the opportunities and freedoms lost - and so the problems birthed due to changes in mankind’s historic freedom upon an open commons or private estates providing independence from a neo-slave "free market."
We need not worship at the altar of growth, nor condemn the engine of ingenuity, to realize that natural and social enfranchisement is a desirable "set" and "setting" enabling effective freedom and responsibility. To simply assume that a laissez-faire economy, or labor’s cuffing of capital, is ever benign or beneficial - without reference to the condition of the wage-earning majority and their environment - is to ensure dependency, desperation, tyranny, and conflict become the inevitable product.
To discern the nature of a non-servile state, we must re-examine both the naive premises of classical, free-market, economics and lofty promises of communal endeavors. Only in this way may we produce either a theory or practice capable of birthing balance and a full-spectrum freedom.
Unfortunately, factor imbalances have resulted in one despotism after another, all claiming infallibility and divine right to order society and control our lives. All such one factor, one religion, belief systems can only manufacture their own antithesis and demise as they become increasingly undemocratic and self-defeating ends unto themselves.
Rather than full-spectrum freedom and re-birth of natural liberty, all imperialisms redefine "freedom" in their own, closeted, terms. Authentic freedom and choice must then be effectively denied and any alternative worldviews demonized as enemy or "inefficient" in rewarding a ruling-class.
Regardless of ruling factor or dogma, freedom and human potential are then halved as majorities become enclosed, dependent, robbed of refuge, right, and alternatives to the prevailing system. In short, natural independence and/or communal enfranchisement is not a condition which defines most wage-laboring majorities in this late-stage industrial age.