Newtonian capitalism

October 31, 2013

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
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 10 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

Reader's comments (1)

Difficult to swallow perhaps, but Marx is fairly conclusive. As is Ellen Meiksins Wood (The Pristine Culture of Capitalism, 1991; The Origin of Capitalism, 2002). Nicholas Till

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Elly Walton illustration (7 July 2016)

Researchers in the liberal arts seem to have made it their mission to communicate in the most obscure fashion, says Zachary Foster

Daniel Mitchell illustration (14 July 2016)

Frank Furedi says the mournful mood on campus and the disparagement and silencing of Leave supporters betray an isolated scholarly class

Michael Parkin illustration (7 July 2016)

Rising immigration-related costs and lack of employer support send an unwelcoming message to international staff, says Jason Danely

Female Brazilian football/soccer fan celebrating with flag of Brazil, Best universities in Latin America

Brazil leads Times Higher Education’s debut ranking of the top universities in Latin America

Child drives miniature car into people

Smaller, newer alternative providers are less likely to pass higher education review, analysis says