Ruskin on 'Land'

james armstrong james36armstrong at
Wed Jul 1 21:43:30 BST 2009

John Ruskin on ‘Land’
I came across this analysis of the significance of ‘land’`in the essay of John Ruskin “Unto this Last” of  1877.  Ruskin was somewhat long windedly and crudely  answering the new Panglosian political economy of Ricardo and  Malthus.
“Thus, suppose any person to be put in possession of a large estate of fruitful land, with rich beds of gold in its gravel; countless herds of cattle in its pastures; houses and gardens full of useful stores; but suppose after all he could get no servants?  In order that he may be able to get servants some of his neighbours must be poor, and in want of his gold- or his corn.  Assume that no-one is in want of either, and that  no servants are to be had.  He must therefore bake his own bread,  make his own clothes,, plough his own ground , and shepherd his own flocks.   His gold will be as useful to him as any other yellow pebbles on his estate; he will be ultimately unable to keep either houses in repair, or fields in cultivation; and forced to contend himself with a poor man’s portion of cottage and garden.”
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