Unto This Last
Unto This Last is a test of John Ruskin on the economy, published for the first time in December 1860 in the monthly magazine “Cornhill Magazine” in the form of articles. Ruskin says itself that they “were very violently criticized”, obliging the editor to stop the publication at the end of four months. Criticisms highly tackled these tests and the subscribers sent letters of protest. But Ruskin counter-attacks and publishes the four tests delivers of it in May 1862.
Very critical with regard to the capitalist economists of XVIIIe and the XIXe century, it is a precursor of the social economy.
Paraphrase of Gandhi
Unto This Last had an major importance on the thought of Mohandas_K. _Gandhi. He discovered Unto This Last in March 1904 in South Africa thanks to a friend met in a restaurant vegetarian, Henry Polak, editor association of the newspaper The Critic in Johannesburg. He decided, not only, to immediately change his own life into agreement with the teaching of Ruskin, but draws up the newspaper Indian Opinion in a farm where all would receive equal wages, without reference of function, race or nationality.
Gandhi adapted Unto This Last in Gujarati in 1908 under the name of Sarvodaya (wellbeing of each one). It is also the name which it gave to its philosophy. Valji Govindji Desai translated this adaptation into English in 1951 pennies the title Unto This Last, a paraphrase of John Ruskin .
In Unto This Last, Gandhi found most of its social and economic ideas. Ruskin was concerned with the same problems and brought the solutions which rained in Gandhi as if they were them his.
Influence of Unto This Last
The goal of Unto This Last is double: to define the richness, and to show that certain conditions morals are essential to obtain it. It is not a test to define a new economic theory or to propose particular policies. It is initially and before a a whole criticism of the beliefs and ideas popular. The economists had defined a “economic man” who acts “invariably to obtain the greatest quantity of needs, facilities or luxury, with more the minor amount of work and physical effort necessary in the existing state of knowledge”. In other words, it would be justified only by the desire of a material profit. They do not imagine that such a being exists, but claim only that it is necessary to isolate the object from their investigation, because “it is the method which science must obligatorily follow”. Their goals are to discover how the laws of the market allow the people wishing it to acquire richnesses, and the economic man provides them a model good.
For Ruskin, and Gandhi, it is precisely that which science should not do. If such an individual does not exist, how this model could be used to include/understand the human actions in reality? More what all, in the case of the human nature, how it is possible to separate comprehension from an action of its moral judgment? What the economists want apparently to propose, even if it is not their intention, is that the company as a whole benefits from the greed and the materialism of the egoistic individuals. It seems that they recommend such a control. Many politicians and industrialists include/understand them certainly EC way, and act according to what they take for their councils, which suffices in Ruskin and Gandhi to show the irresponsibility of the method.
Full text in English
- Unto_This_Last_-_M. _K. _Gandhi_ (version_française)
- : wikisource: Fr: Commentaires_sur_Unto_This_Last_de_M. _K. _Gandhi
- Unto This Last, translation in French
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