Newtonian capitalism

Nicholas Till’s lament for the North Norfolk coastline and for pastoral sentiment in opera is well taken (“Elegy in a country churchyard”, 24 October). The lonely coast at Cley is ever more heavily trod. And opera may well have originated as deeply coded social comment on brutal rural policy: an echo of tragic country lives favoured by the subliminally conscience-stricken urban wives of the rapacious rich.

But the idea that capitalism originated in rural commerce is difficult to swallow. Surely it arose with the Industrial Revolution, when large sums were repeatedly needed to finance new machine industries? Indeed, if anything was responsible for capitalism it was Newton’s dynamics, which provided the wherewithal to predict what any conjectured machine would do - combined with a relatively loose-weave common-law society where money was in the hands of a scattered class.

Chris Ormell
The PER Group

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Featured Jobs

Academic Partnership Manager LONDON SOUTH BANK UNIVERSITY

Register to continue  

You've enjoyed reading five THE articles this month. Register now to get five more, or subscribe for unrestricted access.

Most Commented

Universities to scale back liberal arts and social science courses

  • David Humphries illustration (24 September 2015)

A Russell Group tagline rap is further proof that we need to reform the academy’s approach, argues Philip Moriarty

  • World University Rankings

US continues to lose its grip as institutions in Europe up their game

  • World University Rankings 2015-2016 methodology

Change for the better: fuelled by more comprehensive data, the 2015-2016 rankings probe deeper than ever

Inspired by previous movement in 1960s, PhD students say that ‘science is not neutral’ and urge scientists to confront their assumptions