By Robert J. Balfour
With contributions ranging over three centuries, tradition, Capital and illustration explores how literature, cultural experiences and the visible arts signify, engage with, and convey rules approximately capital, even if in its early levels (the development of inventory markets) or in its overdue part (global speculative capital).
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Additional info for Culture, Capital and Representation
1671. First published 1691. In EW: 121–231. PP1, PP2: The Petty Papers: Some Unpublished Writings of Sir William Petty. Edited from the Bowood Papers by the Marquis of Lansdowne, 2 vols. London: Constable (1927). PSC: The Petty–Southwell Correspondence, 1676–1687. Edited from the Bowood Papers by the Marquis of Lansdowne. London: Constable (1928). TI: A Treatise of Ireland. Written 1687. First published 1899. In EW: 545–621. TTC: A Treatise of Taxes and Contributions. Published 1662. In EW: 1–97.
Petty roots his comments on this situation in observation. The Irish, he states, are able to perform their husbandry with such harness and tackling as each man can make with his own hands, and living in such houses as almost every man can build; and every housewife being a spinner and dyer of wool and yarn, they can live and subsist after their present fashion, without the use of gold or silver money. (PA: 273) Such being the case, the cash economy constitutes, by his estimate, only a fifth of all their ‘expense’, the rest of their consumption being ‘what their own family produceth’ (PAI: 192); the principal exception is tobacco, which was evidently spearheading the introduction of cash transactions for consumption goods into the agrarian economy – the Coca-Cola of its day.
What reading The Autobiography in this way makes possible is not only a new understanding of the symbolic origin of this work – contra literary critics such as Michael Warner (1986), Grantland S. Rice (1997) and Jennifer Jordan Baker (2000) – but also a more complex view of the work overall. e. the account book, is located in direct relation to racial identity, and as he treats indebtedness as a form of racial slavery, he makes calculative thinking a defence against enslavement. Franklin’s abolitionist views, like many others’, were rife with inconsistencies and hypocrisies, and in The Autobiography this is no less the case as Franklin regards slavery not as an economic system to be abolished but as an economic situation to be avoided.
Culture, Capital and Representation by Robert J. Balfour