Moral economy

November 28, 2013

Robert Colls is right that the 50th anniversary of the publication of E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class deserves to be marked and celebrated (“The Making and the man”, 21 November).

Of course, after 50 years there are downsides and upsides. Whether or not, as Colls suggests, Thompson was too critical of Methodism, the language of religion that was central to the development of the working class in the 19th century is now mostly absent from daily discourse. An edition with a  glossary explaining some of the religious terminology and concepts in the book might encourage new readers.

On the plus side, Thompson’s concept of a “moral economy” – that is, a market economy tempered (if need be by riot) to the needs of ordinary people – is one very much of our time. What better way of looking at the activities of bankers and assorted fat cats than through the prism of a moral economy?

Keith Flett
London

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Post-doctoral Research Associate in Chemistry

University Of Western Australia

PACE Data Support Officer

Macquarie University - Sydney Australia

Associate Lecturer in Nursing

Central Queensland University
See all jobs

Most Commented

women leapfrog. Vintage

Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O’Gorman offer advice on climbing the career ladder

Woman pulling blind down over an eye
Liz Morrish reflects on why she chose to tackle the failings of the neoliberal academy from the outside
White cliffs of Dover

From Australia to Singapore, David Matthews and John Elmes weigh the pros and cons of likely destinations

Mitch Blunt illustration (23 March 2017)

Without more conservative perspectives in the academy, lawmakers will increasingly ignore and potentially defund social science, says Musa al-Gharbi

Michael Parkin illustration (9 March 2017)

Cramming study into the shortest possible time will impoverish the student experience and drive an even greater wedge between research-enabled permanent staff and the growing underclass of flexible teaching staff, says Tom Cutterham