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''Unto This Last'' is an essay critical of economics by
John Ruskin John Ruskin (8 February 1819 20 January 1900) was an English writer, philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphys ...

John Ruskin
, first published between August and December 1860 in the monthly journal ''
Cornhill Magazine ''The Cornhill Magazine'' (1860–1975) was a monthly Victorian literature, Victorian magazine and literary journal named after the street address of the founding publisher Smith, Elder & Co. at 65 Cornhill, London, Cornhill in London.Laurel ...
'' in four articles. Ruskin says himself that the articles were "very violently criticized", forcing the publisher to stop its publication after four months. Subscribers sent protest letters, but Ruskin countered the attack and published the four articles in a book in May 1862. The book greatly influenced the
nonviolent Nonviolence is the personal practice of not causing harm to one's self and others under every condition. It may come from the belief that hurting people, animals and/or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome and it may refer to a g ...
activist
Mahatma Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; ; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist Quote: "... marks Gandhi as a hybrid cosmopolitan figure who transformed ... anti-colonial nationalist politics in the ...

Mahatma Gandhi
. The book is also cited as an inspiration upon the
British Labour Party The Labour Party is a List of political parties in the United Kingdom, political party in the United Kingdom that has been described as an alliance of Social democracy, social democrats, Democratic socialism, democratic socialists and trade u ...
in its initial stages, a survey of Labour
Members of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) ...
after the party achieved its electoral breakthrough in the
1906 UK general election The 1906 United Kingdom general election was held from 12 January to 8 February 1906. The Liberal Party (UK), Liberals, led by Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman, won a landslide victory, landslide majority at the election. The Conservative ...
listing the book as one of their key influences. The title is a quotation from the
Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard __NOTOC__ The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard (also called the "Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard" or the "Parable of the Generous Employer") is a parable of Jesus which appears in the Chapter 20 of the Gospel of Matthew The Go ...
: The "last" are the eleventh hour labourers, who are paid as if they had worked the entire day. Rather than discuss the contemporary religious interpretation of the parable, whereby the eleventh hour labourers would be death-bed converts, or the peoples of the world who come late to religion, Ruskin looks at the social and economic implications, discussing issues such as who should receive a
living wage A living wage is defined as the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs. This is not the same as a subsistence wage, which refers to a biological minimum. Needs are defined to include food, housing, and other essential need ...
. This essay is very critical of the economists of the 18th and 19th centuries. In this sense, Ruskin is a precursor of
social economy The social economy is formed by a rich diversity of enterprises and organisations, such as cooperatives, mutuals, associations, foundations, social enterprises and paritarian institutions, sharing common values and features: * Primacy of the ...
. Because the essay also attacks the destructive effects of industrialism upon the natural world, some historians have seen it as anticipating the
Green movement Green Movement may refer to: * Green politics, a political ideology ** Green Movement in Bulgaria ** Green Movement in India ** Ukrainian Green movement ** Green Movement of Sri Lanka ** The Green Party (Israel) The Green Party ( he, המפל ...
. The essay begins with the following verses, taken from Matthew 20:13 and Zechariah 11:12 respectively (in the King James Version):
Friend, I do thee no wrong. Didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way. I will give unto this last even as unto thee. If ye think good, give me my price; And if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price
thirty pieces of silver Thirty pieces of silver was the price for which Judas Iscariot Judas Iscariot (; he, יהודה איש-קריות , "Judah, man of KeriothKerioth ( he, קְרִיּוֹת, ''Kriyot'') is the name of two cities mentioned in the Hebrew Bibl ...
.


Mahatma Gandhi's paraphrase

''Unto This Last'' had a very important impact on
Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was an Indian lawyer, anti-colonial nationalist, Quote: "... marks Gandhi as a hybrid cosmopolitan figure who transformed ... anti-colonial nationalist politics in the t ...

Gandhi
's philosophy.Gandhi's Human Touch
/ref> He discovered the book in March 1904 through
Henry Polak Henry Salomon Leon Polak (1882 — 31 January 1959) was a British-born lawyer, journalist and activist in South Africa who worked in collaboration with Mohandas Gandhi against racial discrimination. He served as an editor for the journal ''Indian ...
, whom he had met in a
vegetarian Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat (red meat, poultry, seafood, and the flesh of any other animal), and it may also include abstaining from by-products of animal slaughter. Vegetarianism may be adopted for v ...

vegetarian
restaurant in
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 60 million people, it is the world's 23rd-most populous nation and covers an area of . South Africa has three capital citie ...

South Africa
. Polak was sub-editor of the
Johannesburg Johannesburg (, also ; ; Zulu language, Zulu and xh, eGoli ), informally known as Jozi, Joburg, or "The City of Gold", is the largest city in South Africa, classified as a Megacity#List of megacities, megacity, and is List of urban areas by ...

Johannesburg
paper ''The Critic''. Gandhi decided immediately not only to change his own life according to Ruskin's teaching, but also to publish his own newspaper, ''
Indian Opinion The ''Indian Opinion'' was a newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The pr ...

Indian Opinion
'', from a farm where everybody would get the same salary, without distinction of function, race, or nationality. This, for that time, was quite revolutionary. Thus Gandhi created
Phoenix Settlement Inanda or eNanda (isiZulu: ''pleasant place'', also possibly, ''level-topped hill'') is a township in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa that is situated 30 km north-west of the Durban CBD; it forms part of eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality, eThekw ...
. Gandhi translated ''Unto This Last'' into
Gujarati Gujarati may refer to: * something of, from, or related to Gujarat, a state of India * Gujarati people, the major ethnic group of Gujarat * Gujarati language, the Indo-Aryan language spoken by them * Gujarati languages, the Western Indo-Aryan sub- ...
in 1908 under the title of ''
Sarvodaya Sarvōdaya ( hi, सर्वोदय '' sarv-'' "all", '' uday'' "rising") is a Sanskrit term which generally means "universal uplift" or "progress of all". The term was used by Mahatma Gandhi Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (; ; 2 October 1 ...
'' (''Well Being of All''). Valji Govindji Desai translated it back to English in 1951 under the title of ''Unto This Last: A Paraphrase''. This last essay can be considered his program on economics, as in ''Unto This Last'', Gandhi found an important part of his social and economic ideas.


See also

*
Illth Illth, coined by John Ruskin in the 1860s, is the reverse of wealth in the sense of ''ill'' being the opposite of ''well''. In Ruskin's view: :Wealth, therefore, is "The possession of the valuable by the valiant"; and in considering it as a powe ...
*
Grundrisse The ''Grundrisse der Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie'' (''Foundations of a Critique of Political Economy'') is an unfinished manuscript A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document writt ...

Grundrisse


References


External links

* * {{Authority control 1860 books 1860 essays Books about the history of economic thought Books by John Ruskin Christian socialist publications Criticisms of economics Socialist works Works originally published in The Cornhill Magazine Critique of political economy