Guild and State
* Book: Guild and State: European Political Thought from the Twelfth Century to the Present. By Antony Black. Transaction Publishers, 2002
"Guild and State examines the values of social solidarity and fraternity that emerged from medieval guilds and city-communes, and the effect of traditional corporate organization of labor on socioeconomic attitudes and theories of the state. What ordinary guildsmen and townsmen thought about these issues can be gleaned from chronicles, charters, and reported slogans. But in tracing attitudes toward the guilds of early Germanic times to todays equivalent-trade unions-a distinction must be made between popular "ethos" and learned "philosophy." In Europe, from the twelfth to the seventeenth centuries, the corporate organization of labor and of town-market communities developed side-by-side with the ideals of personal liberty, market freedom, and legal equality. Self-governing labor organizations and civil freedom developed together as coherent practices. The values of mutual aid and craft honor on the one hand, and of personal freedom and legal equality on the other, formed the moral infrastructure of our civilization. Alternate ideals balanced, harmonized, and even cross-fertilized one another-as in the principle of freedom of association. Contrary to preconceptions, however, corporate values were seldom expressed philosophically in the Middle Ages. Political theory and the world of learning from the start emphasized liberal values. It was only after the Reformation that guild and communal values found expression in political theory. "