This article examines the widespread and varied reception of Hilaire Belloc's The Servile State (1912) in Australia from the time of its publication to the mid-twentieth century. Belloc's claim that market capitalism was giving rise to a series of legislative reforms which entrenched the inferior, servile status of the working classes was of particular interest in Australia where innovations such as compulsory industrial arbitration were pioneered. In the 1930s Belloc's ideas inspired the Catholic Action movement, and they were subsequently developed in the debates around post-war reconstruction by a range of figures including the radical professor of philosophy John Anderson.
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