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Unto This Last

John Ruskin

Book Overview: 

Unto This Last is an important work of political economic though that influenced Gandhi, among others.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .It has so arranged its political squabbles for the last six or seven hundred years, that not one of them could be fought out but in the midst of its most precious art; and it so arranges them to this day. For example, if I were asked to lay my finger, in a map of the world, on the spot of the world's surface which contained at this moment the most singular concentration of art-teaching and art-treasure, I should lay it on the name of the town of Verona. Other cities, indeed, contain more works of carriageable art, but none contain so much of the glorious local art, and of the springs and sources of art, which can by no means be made subjects of package or porterage, nor, I grieve to say, of salvage. Verona possesses, in the first place, not the largest, but the most perfect and intelligible Roman amphitheatre that exists, still unbroken in circle of step, and strong in succession of vault and arch: it contains minor Roman monuments, gateways, theatres, baths, wrecks of te. . . Read More

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Further Reading

--The King of the Golden River, or The Black Brothers: A Legend of Stiria (1841)

from The Stones of Venice, Volume II: The Sea-Stories (1853)
--The Nature of Gothic

from The Two Paths: Lectures on Art and its application to Decoration and Manufac

Ruskin believed in the Middle Ages and resented that they had ever ended. In this particular book – a collection of four lectures on contemporary economics, published in 1862 – the Middle Ages are not exactly front and center. They hover in the background, however, and Ruskin achieves an unexpected

This is Ruskin at his best. The four chapters are very organised, he masterly refuted economic theories and typically tried to add the human factor and the human value to the economic equation. The book is a credit for a highly acclaimed art critic, who very easily, it seems, criticised economic the

Unto This Last is the best political economy essays I've read. Ruskin's business was art and made his living as a critic. This does not seem to be the best foundation for a politcal economist but it does once you start reading... great art is not made possible without the distribution of wealth bein

How did it come about that in the twenty-first century West, and in the United States specifically, political “conservatism” has wedded itself to a credulous, Panglossian reverence for the socially catastrophic and anticommunitarian consolidations of rentier monopoly capitalism, while any critique o

There is a reason why Ruskin is remembered as an art critic and not as an economist. There are so many fallacies in these essays that after a while I quit trying to analyze them and just let the words flow over me. Ruskin did write well, so the flow of the words gives a certain pleasure. Ruskin had

The glorious first blossoms of a mature, modern utopianism.

Ruskin, John. Unto This Last and Other Writings.

This is a collection of John Ruskin's economic and social writings. Placed against the backdrop of the Industrial Revolution, it is attempt to think through issues of capitalism, socialism, and moral ontology. Like any economic writing, it needs to be

Essays on the principles of political economy by John Ruskin.
The essays are as follows:
Essay 1 - The Roots of Honour
Essay 2 - The Veins of Wealth
Essay 3 - Qui Judicatis Terram
Essay 4 - Ad Valorem

As summed up in the closing remarks:

"And if, on due and honest thought over these things, it seems that

Ruskin, known primarily as an art historian and critic, had the far-ranging genius needed to take on socio-economic and political theorizing as well. This collection is a difficult read, but is surprisingly relevant for today's global economic crisis. If only the various wings of the Tea Party would

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