Long considered a ‘Ricardian socialist’, Thomas Hodgskin is rarely read as the perceptive observer of the Industrial Revolution that he was.Hismost famous pamphlet, LabourDefended Against theClaims ofCapital, has been interpreted as anticipating some central tenets ofMarxism. If we abandon this well-established interpretation, however, we can better appreciate Hodgskin’s acute reading of the process of industrialisation unfolding before his eyes. Unlike most socialists, Hodgskin had no sympathy for machine breakers and actually understood the importance of the entrepreneurial function. Moreover, he thought mechanisation and improvement in the tools available for workers would not dispossess them but, on the contrary, would raise their living standards. Hodgskin’s ‘optimism’ shows that in the 1820s someone who was deeply concerned with the future of the working classes could nonetheless develop a reasoned sympathy for industrialisation—rather thanmerely oppose technological innovation and long for a mythical past.
|Titolo:||Thomas Hodgskin, Rational Optimist|
|Data di pubblicazione:||feb-2018|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1111/ecaf.12276|
|Citazione:||Thomas Hodgskin, Rational Optimist, 2018-02.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su rivista|
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