Re: Bell and the PMC

James G. Carrier (jgc5p@UVA.PCMAIL.VIRGINIA.EDU)
Mon, 13 Dec 1993 05:59:57 EST

Rafael Candido Alvarado's observation that `1. Before Bell there was
Schumpeter. The latter argued that capitalism was moving toward being an
economy based on "soft property" (such as stocks and bonds) and away from one
based on "hard property" (such as land)' reminds me that before Schumpeter
there was the later 17th century, Financial Revolution thereof. It was then,
according to John Pocock, that people became concerned that wealth was
ceasing to be dominated by good, solid and inalienable land (as in `landed
gentry'), but was increasingly stocks and alienable instruments of debt (as
in `stock jobbers').
For those of you who are interested, see Pocock's `The Mobility of
Property and the Rise of 18th-Century Sociology' in Anthony Parel and Thomas
Flanagan, _Theories of Property_. Equally, see Peter DeBolla's _Discourse of
the Sublime_, which has a nice, if long, chapter on the increasingly
insubstantial nature of debt. Of course, Jean-Christophe Agnew's _World
Apart_ deals at length with growing public concern (in the 17th C?) that
people were not what they seemed, but mere appearance, in English commerce.
Alvarado's note also reminded me that Americans and Britons, more than
many continental Europeans, see institutions like the state as intrusions on
their liberties, rather than devices by which that liberty is constituted.


James G. Carrier

29, University Circle / Charlottesville, Virginia, 22903
(804) 971-2983 /