An Essay on Western Civilisation in Its Economic Aspects ...: Mediaeval and modern times

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University Press, 1900 - Civilization
 

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Page 276 - It appears, then, to be a condition of a genuinely scientific hypothesis, that it be not destined always to remain an hypothesis, but be of such a nature as to be either proved or disproved by that comparison with observed facts which is termed Verification.
Page 2 - In the thirteenth century the ecclesiastical organisation gave a unity to the social structure throughout the whole of Western Europe ; over the area in which the Pope was recognised as the spiritual and the Emperor as the temporal Vicar of God, political and racial differences were relatively less important.
Page 37 - Gaul had reverted to mere forest1 under the combined pressure of Roman misgovernment and barbarian invasion ; there was hard work to be done in reclaiming land for tillage, and frequent danger from the brigands and even the wild animals that had come to haunt the secluded neighbourhoods where monasteries were planted. Each of the Benedictine houses was primarily a model farm, preserving the external aspects of a Roman villa2, and prosecuting agriculture according to the recognised methods.
Page 79 - ... absurd. The mediaeval doctrine and its application rested upon another assumption, which we have outlived. Value is not a quality which inheres in an object, so that it shall have the same worth for everybody ; it arises from the personal preferences and needs of different people, some of whom desire a given thing more and some less, some of whom want to use it in one way and some in another. Value is not objective, — intrinsic in the object, — but subjective, varying with the desires and...
Page 78 - Their economic analysis was very defective, and the theory of price which they put forward was untenable; but the ethical standpoint which they took is well worth examination, and the practical measures which they recommended appear to have been highly beneficial in the circumstances in which they had to deal. Their actions were not unwise; their common-sense morality was sound; but the economic theories by which they tried to give an intellectual justification for their rules and their practice...
Page 40 - We can also trace the beginnings of a regular system of transport. The great abbeys on the Loire and the Seine had large numbers of vessels for carrying on their trade ; and the peasants on their estates were required either to provide oxen and carriages for land transport or to pay a commutation which enabled the monks to organise an independent service*.
Page 78 - plenty or scarcity of the time" there will be great differences in the quantities available, and therefore in the relative values, of wheat, cloth, coal and commodities of every sort. We know too, that the commodity used for money must vary in value from time to time, and that therefore there must be continual fluctuations not only in values but in prices as well. The attempt to determine an ideal price implies that there can and ought to be stability in relative values and stability in the measure...
Page 77 - There were many evils in the business life of the time which it was desirable to check ; and definite principles as to what was right and wrong in monetary transactions were formulated by contemporary moralists with the view of establishing the grounds and limits of wise interference in matters of trade. Their economic analysis was very defective, and the theory of price which they put forward is untenable ; but the ethical standpoint which they took is well worth...
Page 8 - Cunningham believed that the Roman Empire "left little scope for individual aims and tended to check the energy of capitalists and laborers alike," whereas Christianity taught the supreme dignity of man and encouraged the individual and personal responsibility. Moreover, in the thirteenth century there were "fewer barriers to social intercourse than...
Page 8 - But Christian teaching opened up an unending prospect before the individual personally, and encouraged him to diligence and activity by an eternal hope. Nor did such concentration of thought on a life beyond the grave necessarily divert attention...

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