Serfs, Peasants, & Employees

The Orthodox Life

G. K. Chesterton G. K. Chesterton

G.K. Chesterton wrote this article about Englishmen a century ago. But it just as easily applies to American workers today. Medieval serfs and peasants enjoyed conditions which–in many ways–are preferable to those endured by modern American employees.

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It is really time that the comfortable classes made a short summary and confession of what they have really done with the very poor Englishman. The dawn of the mediaeval civilisation found him a serf; which is a different thing from a slave. He had security; although the man belonged to the land rather than the land to the man. He could not be evicted; his rent could not be raised. In practice, it came to something like this: that if the lord rode down his cabbages he had not much chance of redress; but he had the chance of growing more cabbages. He had direct access to the means of production.

Since then…

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