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Conclusion

from Part III - The Debtor’s Body

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 September 2019

Tawny Paul
Affiliation:
University of California, Los Angeles
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Summary

This concluding chapter considers the implications of insecurity for narratives of economic success and proletarianisation in eighteenth-century Britain. It argues that economic growth generated social inequality and was compatible with failure. Risk was built into the capitalist model. Credit was a tool that allowed for innovation and entrepreneurship, but it also brought people down. The assumption that periods of economic growth bring shared prosperity therefore requires revision. Furthermore, there was a much broader segment of society who were precarious in the eighteenth century than the proletariat, but they were precarious in different ways. Middling poverty was not built around their relationship to the means of production, their relationship to land tenure or their need to sell their labour. Instead, their insecurities were a result of their relationship to debt. A new vision of class formation is therefore necessary, which recognises these broader forms of insecurity.

Type
Chapter
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The Poverty of Disaster
Debt and Insecurity in Eighteenth-Century Britain
, pp. 236 - 247
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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  • Conclusion
  • Tawny Paul, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Book: The Poverty of Disaster
  • Online publication: 27 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108690546.009
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  • Conclusion
  • Tawny Paul, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Book: The Poverty of Disaster
  • Online publication: 27 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108690546.009
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Conclusion
  • Tawny Paul, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Book: The Poverty of Disaster
  • Online publication: 27 September 2019
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108690546.009
Available formats
×