The European Common Market

In January 1957 six European countries convened and started negotiations toward a treaty for a common market among them. Those who convened to negotiate included France, Belgium, German Federal Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands. The negotiations were meant to illicit talks that pertained to a common market. The treaty would eliminate most of the trade barriers that stand between these countries as well as establish a common tariff that would be enforced on the countries that were on the outside of this treaty.[1] When the news of the treaty made its way to the United States, the State Department released a statement to the press regarding the Treaty that was in support of this economic and political decision.

The United States State Department released a statement that was in full support of this decision made by the six countries. The U.S. viewed this as a positive step towards the cohesion of Western Europe, as they indicated as one of their two traditional policies of the U.S. Government.[2] Also, it was the hopes of the United States that this agreement would not only increase trade among the countries who are associated with the treaty but it can help foster more international trade. The more international trade occurs it helps boost the economies of those involved as well as promotes more countries to become involved in the practices of international trade. This treaty would help the European countries that participated in World War II help boost their economies and get back to being prosperous again. Trade also would be cheaper than before, due to tariffs being eliminated, which would help countries save money. This treaty could also help create more opportunities for those looking for work since there will be an increase in trade.

[1] Unites States State Department Press release on European Common Market January 15, 1957

[2] Unites States State Department Press release on European Common Market January 15, 1957

Keynes and The Treaty of Versaille

John Maynard Keynes was an economist in Great Britain during World War I. Keynes also served as a representative of the Treasury of Great Britain and was an outspoken member at Versailles. Since Keynes was an economist he saw the consequences that the sanctions on Germany would do not only to their economy but what it would do to the rest of the world economy. He saw that since Germany would have to pay large sums of money they would not be able to provide for their people and Germany was already facing food shortages because of the Allied blockade. The food shortages and debt sanctions would not allow Germany to import goods, most of Germany’s economy is industrial, and cause the other surrounding economies to suffer the consequences of peace. Keynes stated that instituting this treaty, which would not only force Germany to take drastic measures but would result in the endangering of millions of German people. We can look at Keynes’ argument and know it is strong because of our hindsight that tells us what kind of state Germany becomes in the future.

Peter Kropotkin and Anarchism

Prince Peter Kropotkin had widespread knowledge in numerous different subjects but anarchy was a subject that he was a prominent figure in. Anarchism is “a doctrine urging the abolition of government or governmental restraint as the indispensable condition for full social and political liberty.”[i] Kropotkin was originally a prince in Russia but gave his title up and started reading the works of French anarchists and then declared himself an anarchist. He started this piece by talking about how men trembled when they heard that society someday could be without police, judges, or jailers.[ii] Kropotkin uses this to grab the attention of the educated class to show and convince those of the anarchist way.

Kropotkin views on society show that he is trying to persuade his audience to take on another ideology that would change the current capitalist society into an anarchist one. He uses the examples of jailers, judges and the police, mentioned earlier, to show society without these systems in place and what affect that might have. The absence of these systems in any society today would create chaos among everyone, but Kropotkin is trying to create a society where everyone fends for themselves without government at all.


Do you believe that a society where there is no government at all and every person fends for themselves is a plausible goal for this time period?


[ii] Anarchism: Its Philosophy and Ideal, 1896

The Leisure Class

“The Theory of the Leisure Class”, written by Thorstein Veblen, was a piece written from observations on the effects of capitalism of the leisure class. Veblen mentions that the only purpose for the wealthy/leisure class is to consume. Veblen sees this type of lifestyle as a waste. He does not say it out right but Veblen looks at this time period as a sort of step back in terms of society and not a step forward. Veblen makes a mockery of the clothing as well as the language of those in wealthy positions.

In the second excerpt from chapter 7, Veblen talks about the dress of the leisure class and how that shows to the others they have status in society.[i] “One portion of the servant class, chiefly those persons whose occupation is vicarious leisure, come to undertake a new, subsidiary range of duties–the vicarious consumption of goods”.[ii] This quote shows Veblen saying that the main purpose for the leisure class is consumption. Veblen also talks about how one can look like they are in a leisure class just by the way they choose to dress. This gives the illusion of a lower person in society appearing as a member of a higher class. With dress being an area of focus for Veblen, he focuses on language as well.

Just as dress is a way to show status so is language. Those in the leisure class who use old/classic English are showing they have higher status within society and are better than those below them.[iii] He also mentions that since the leisure class speaks classic English, they spent their lives doing work other than useful.

[i] The Theory of the Leisure Class, 1899

[ii] The Theory of the Leisure Class, 1899

[iii] The Theory of the Leisure Class, 1899

Italian Nationalism and Unification

Giuseppe Mazzini was an Italian nationalist who played a large role in the nationalist movement in Italy. In 1852, Mazzini published some of his work that focused on nationalism and the need for a unified democratic state of Italy. Mazzini mentioned in his writing that the people from the revolution in Vienna were fighting for something more than just material possessions; they were fighting for their nation.[i] The revolution in Vienna was in context with Mazzini trying to propose a unified state. He was looking to unify the people of Italy to rid their beloved nation of those who occupied it, the Austrians, and create a democratic state for Italy to be run. By ridding the state of Italy of the Austrians, Italy could be free to run themselves and prosper on their own.

In the documents of Italian unification, the Program of Count Cavour 1846 provides a point towards Mazzini’s thinking that opposes it even though it was before him. It states that “Nationalism has become general; it grows daily; and it has already grown strong enough to keep all parts of Italy united despite the differences that distinguish them”. [ii] If nationalism is growing every day then would it be easier for Mazzini to achieve his goal of a unified democratic state of Italy? If this concept grows then it will reach numerous people every day which will contribute to the nationalist movement started by Mazzini.

[i] Giuseppe Mazzin: On Nationality, 1852

[ii] Documents of Italian Unification, 1846-61

The Harsh Conditions of an Industrial Worker in Nineteenth Century England

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The working conditions endured by these workers were absolutely not ideal to any human. These children and adults were subjected to strenuous working hours and horrible conditions in the factory. The factories were without any air conditioning so it was a very heated atmosphere.[i] This caused harsh conditions because each worker was subjected to one position for the duration of their work day. In children, this caused serious growth issues. A child sitting in one place for thirteen hours a day caused the spine to become deformed and bulge out laterally. It also caused children to develop bowed legs due to the stress the pelvis was under when the spine became deformed.[ii] These conditions were not ideal to children but it was necessary for some children to work to help provide for their families.

With working conditions not very appealing to adults or children, factories needed workers and workers needed money to provide for their families. Workers never had the option to demand any increase in pay or demand better working conditions. Factory owners were very strict in the sense that they saw every worker, no matter if it was a child or an adult, as expendable. This was a time period where everyone was looking for secure work so if a worker was going against the management of the factory that person was expendable so management just found another person willing to work with the provided conditions.

[i] The Physical Deterioration of the Textile Worker

[ii] The Physical Deterioration of the Textile Worker

Division of Wealth and Labor

The distributed wealth among nations is never going to be the same and there are many factors that go into that wealth. One factor that economist and philosopher Adam Smith talks in An Inquiry into the Nature and Cause of Wealth of Nation about is the division of labor. Division of Labor is characterized as “Narrow specialization of tasks within a production process so that each worker can become a specialist in doing one thing”.[i] This concept of division of labor changed the way of thinking in terms of production due to the fact that manufacturing could be done all year, unlike agriculture.

Manufacturing is an all year around practice while the practices of agriculture can mostly be seasonal depending on locale. Nations that have more wealth than others weren’t necessarily ahead of other nations in agriculture but were further ahead in manufacturing and production due to the discrepancies in wealth among different nations. Transportation was also a big key those nations who had large manufacturing operations. In the beginning it was easier for cities closer to waterways to transport their product because it was easier to get the product from the manufacturer to the customer. The discrepancies in wealth among different nations can cause for loss of market share for certain nations that don’t have the money to compete with larger nations.

Division of labor is not only more efficient that one man doing all of the work, it allows for more creativity and innovation in whatever field the manufacturer is in. Division of labor is like an assembly line where each employee has one specific task to complete in the process of production. Innovation can be elicited from this concept of division of labor in the way that each employee has one specific task and they could find different tools or different methods to complete their task. Innovation can lead to being more productive if an employee can find a quicker way to produce their part of the product.

The wealthier you are as a nation the more you are going to prosper. This is the case for the nations who have a larger hand in manufacturing because it’s a more efficient way to produce a variety of products. This book birthed the mark of capitalism. In chapter one, it showed how manufacturing can be a weapon of capitalism and how nation can further increase their wealth.

[i] ((