Use Values and Corn Laws, Aristotelian Marxists and High Tories

Sancrucensis skillfully weaves together Aristotle, Marx, 19th-century Tories, Waugh, and Downton Abbey in this examination of the principles of modern political economy and its triumph over the old hierarchy.

Sancrucensis

In a reply to Owen White’s comment on my last post I claimed that English Toryism worthy of the name suffered it’s final defeat in 1846 with the triumph of the free trade movement and the abolition of the Corn Laws. To explain what I meant I want to consider the account of the anti-conservative nature of capitalism in The Communist Manifesto.  Marx and Engels point out that bourgeois capitalism has dissolved the feudal ties that used to tie men to their ‘natural superiors,’ and that it has stripped human relations down to ‘egotistical calculation,’ and reduced human values to ‘exchange value.’ But they think that this was in a way necessary (one might almost say good) because it has enabled the rise of a revolutionary class who know that they are being oppressed: «for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal…

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