Archive for March, 2011

Shaw on Sidgwick

March 27th, 2011
From 'On the history of Fabian economics':
As late as 1888 Henry Sidgwick, a follower of Mill, rose indignantly at the meeting of the British Association in Bath, to which I had just read the paper on The Transition to Social-Democracy, which was subsequently published; as one of the Fabian Essays, and declared that I had advocated nationalisation of land; that nationalisation of land was a crime; and that he would not take part in a discussion of a criminal proposal. With that he left the platform, all the more impressively as his apparently mild and judicial temperament made the incident so unexpected that his friends who had not actually witnessed it were with difficulty persuaded that it had really happened.
Hat-tip, NK.

Sidgwick on Shaw

March 27th, 2011
From his Diary, 8 September 1888:
September 8. — Back from a very pleasant two days at Bath. The town revived wonderfully my childish recollections, with its villas picturesquely climbing upwards from the basin where the town lies. But forty years ago archaeology was less advanced; now one can see from the street an old Roman bath 60 or 80 feet long, forming part, as it were, of the modern baths, and impressively illustrating the historic continuity of the "health resort." The most interesting thing at my Section (Economic Science) was the field-day on Socialism which we had yesterday. The Committee had invited a live Socialist, red-hot "from the Streets," as he told us, who sketched in a really brilliant address the rapid series of steps by which modern society is to pass peacefully into social democracy. The node of the transition was supplied by urban ground-rents (it is interesting to observe that the old picture of the agricultural landlord-drone, battening on social prosperity to which he contributes nothing, is withdrawn for the present as too ludicrously out of accordance with the facts). It is now urban ground-rent that the municipal governments will have to seize, to meet the ever-growing necessity of providing work and wages for the unemployed. How exactly this seizure of urban rents was to develop into a complete nationalisation of industry I could not remember afterwards, but it seemed to go very naturally at the time. There was a peroration rhetorically effective as well as daring, in which he explained that the bliss of perfected socialism would only come by slow degrees, with lingering step and long delays, and claimed our sympathy for the noble-hearted men whose ardent philanthropy had led them to desire to cut these delays short by immediate revolution and spoliation. It was, indeed, a mistake on their part; the laws of social development did not admit of it; but if we were not quite lost in complacent selfishness we should join him in regretting that this shorter way with property was impossible. Altogether a noteworthy performance: — the man's name is Bernard Shaw: Myers says he has written books worth reading.
Hat-tip, NK.

CFP: Deer, People and Landscape

March 24th, 2011
A call for papers / poster contributions has gone out for a session of the 'Deer and People – Past, Present and Future' conference to be held at the University of Lincoln between 8-11 September 2011. Further details, including submission, for this session can be found at the following conference weblink.
Deer are prime architects of landscape and environment, with the capacity to fundamentally alter and shape their surroundings. For millennia, humans have manipulated the landscape via their associations with deer – introducing them to some areas or excluding them from others. The effects of these actions may be viewed in positive or negative terms but, the results can be so dramatic as to leave lasting traces in the landscape, for instance in medieval forests and deer parks – iconic features that highlight both the cultural and ecological importance of deer to human societies. Deer are important to human perceptions of landscape, not simply because of the physical changes that they can produce but by influencing the ways which people (from different social and cultural groups) experience, move through and think about landscape. This much is clear from artistic representations of deer and landscape which carry far greater significance than simply images of physical geography and ecosystems. This session welcomes papers, from a variety of perspectives, that seek to explore the various ways in which deer and people shape the world around us today, in the past, or the implications this special relationship might have for our future landscapes.

A News Story Involving Both Beavers *and* Gerald of Wales!

March 23rd, 2011
Virtual Stoa heaven, pretty much. From the BBC: "Beavers set for return to Wales for Ceredigion project".

New McGonagall Poems

March 23rd, 2011
Two poems by William McGonagall were recently given their first public readings: event details here, poems here ('Hawthornden') and here ('Stirling Castle'). UPDATE [9am]: Mike tells me that John Laurie reading 'The Tay Bridge Disaster' is now on YouTube.
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