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Ruskin, Art and Economics

The Ruskin Library and Research Centre (Lancaster University) and the Guild of St George  announce

John Ruskin and the Modern World: Art and Economics 1860-2010                                       

A Symposium at The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AT (Nearest tube Holborn or Russell Sq) 10.30 a.m.  –  4.00 p.m., Saturday 6 February 2010

           Can there be an ethical economics?

 Our economic system is in trouble. The recent credit crunch has been the worst disaster to hit capitalism since the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression. As the critics and commentators survey the wreckage, the name John Ruskin has several times come to their lips. Not Ruskin as art critic or the master of purple prose, but Ruskin as political economist.

The year 2010 witnesses a double 150th anniversary for students and followers of Ruskin. 1860 saw the publication of the final volume of Modern Painters, the book in which Ruskin had championed J.M.W. Turner as the supreme interpreter of nature and humanity. It also saw a radical change of direction in his work with the serialization of his ‘Four Essays on Political Economy’. Unto This Last, as the essays came to be called, is the fiercest and most cogent of all Victorian attacks on laissez-faire capitalism. It is that book and the writings that follow from it that have been in the minds of recent commentators amid their talk of ‘ethical capitalism’.

The Ruskin Library and Research Centre at Lancaster is combining with Ruskin’s charity the Guild of St George to bring this debate into public focus and stimulate interest outside the University. There will be addresses from a headline external speaker, from an academic political economist, and from an expert on Ruskin’s economics. There will also be a panel discussion, including leading journalists, and participation from the audience.

 The conference fee is £15.00 and this includes morning coffee/tea and a sandwich lunch

For further information and a booking form, please contact:

Lauren Proctor, Administrator- Ruskin Research, Ruskin Library and Research Centre, Ruskin Library, Lancaster University LA1 4YH

Email: l.s.proctor@lancaster.ac.uk

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