Unto This Last


Unto This Last

"Unto This Last" is an essay on economy by John Ruskin, first published in December 1860 in the monthly journal "Cornhill Magazine" in four articles. Ruskin says himself that these articles were "very violently criticized", forcing the publisher to stop the publication after four months. Subscribers sent protest letters. But Ruskin countered the attack and published the four articles in a book in May 1862.

This essay is very critical of capitalist economists of the 18th and 19th century. In this sense, Ruskin is a precursor of social economy.

Gandhi's paraphrase

"Unto This Last" had a very important impact on Gandhi's philosophy. He discovered the book in March 1904 through Henry Polak, whom he had met in a vegetarian restaurant in South Africa. Polak was chief editor of the 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", in a farm where everybody would get the same salary, without distinction of function, race or nationality, which for that time, was quite revolutionary. Thus Gandhi created "Phoenix Settlement".

Gandhi translated "Unto This Last" into Gujarati in 1908 under the title of "Sarvodaya" ("well being of all"). Valji Govindji Desai translated it back to English in 1951 under the title of "Unto This Last: A Paraphrase".

In "Unto This Last", Gandhi found an important part of his social and economic ideas.

External links

* [http://www.efm.bris.ac.uk/het/ruskin/ruskin Complete original text]


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