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jerryking : victorian   6

Bagehot by James Grant — an engaging biography of a purveyor of punditry
August 2, 2019 | Financial Times | by John Plender

Bagehot: The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian, by James Grant, WW Norton, RRP£19.99/$28.95, 368 pages
19th_century  biographies  books  book_reviews  economics  financial_crises  financial_history  journalists  magazines  paradoxes  politicaleconomy  pundits  Victorian  Walter_Bagehot 
august 2019 by jerryking
Is Thomas Goode a sleeping giant of British retail?
August 31, 2018 | Financial Times | by Horatia Harrod.

200 year old Thomas Goode & Co is a homewares powerhouse.... Outfitted in morning suits, the staff — many of whom have worked at Thomas Goode for more than two decades — are solicitous and impeccably well-informed. There’s only one thing lacking. Customers....Johnny Sandelson, is the property entrepreneur who acquired the store for an undisclosed amount in July 2018. .....Sandelson has set himself the task of waking the company up — and it’s going to take more than just turning on the lights. What is required is a 21st-century overhaul....Thomas Goode sells more over the phone than it does online, for the simple reason it has no ecommerce platform. Some 40 per cent of its £5m in annual sales comes from special orders — a loyal client outfitting their new yacht or private jet — but oligarchs alone are unlikely to keep the business afloat....The plan, Sandelson says, is to democratise. “Fortnums did it, Smythson did it. Those great British brands reinvented themselves to become relevant to the affluent middle classes, but Thomas Goode didn’t.”.......Sandelson hopes that, in an age of experiential retail, the shop’s peerless service will entice a new generation of customers. He’s also eyeing up collaborations to reach those for whom the Thomas Goode name has little resonance.......Parts of the business that had lain dormant are to be revived, with an injection of £10m-£15m in investment. There’s a voluminous archive to be mined for designs, and production of tableware in the Thomas Goode name is being restarted at factories in Stoke-on-Trent......Sandelson is committed to a revival. “We’re unashamedly proud of our British heritage and our British brand,” he says. “To honour that, you have to be involved with a very high standard of manufacturing in Britain. There would be cheaper ways of going about things, but the British way stands for quality. Stoke-on-Trent has been producing beautiful plates for 200 years. So it works for us.”....Almost inevitably, the top floors of the South Audley Street flagship are to be turned into luxury flats. “Will we be able to afford a shop of this scale in the coming years?” says Sandelson. “I think the brand is bigger than the premises. I’m pursuing the dream on the basis that the building will be developed over time and we’ll hope to have a space within it.”
21st._century  brands  commercial_real_estate  entrepreneur  experiential_marketing  gift_ideas  heritage  history  homewares  London  luxury  middle_class  property_development  real_estate  retailers  restorations  revitalization  turnarounds  United_Kingdom  Victorian 
september 2018 by jerryking
John Stuart Mill Showed Democracy as a Way of Life - The New York Times
David Brooks JAN. 15, 2018

John Stuart Mill demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance and a humanistic adventure.....Mill is famous for his celebration of individual liberty. But he was not an “anything goes” nihilist. He was not a mellow “You do you and I’ll be me” relativist.

In the first place, he demanded constant arduous self-improvement. In his outstanding biography, Richard Reeves points out that in “On Liberty,” Mill used the words “energy,” “active” and “vital” nearly as many times as he used the word “freedom.” Freedom for him was a means, not an end. The end is moral excellence. Mill believed that all of us “are under a moral obligation to seek the improvement of our moral character.”

“At the heart of his liberalism,” Reeves writes, “was a clearly and repeatedly articulated vision of a flourishing human life — self-improving, passionate, truth-seeking, engaged and colorful.”.... staged a lifelong gentle revolt against his father’s shallow intellectual utilitarianism.

Having been raised in this way and, as an adult, living in Victorian England, what he hated most was narrowness, conformity, the crushing of individuals under the weight of peer pressure, government power or public opinion.....Mill cures us from the weakness of our age — the belief that we can achieve democracy on the cheap; the belief that all we have to do to fulfill our democratic duties is be nice, vote occasionally and have opinions. Mill showed that real citizenship is a life-transforming vocation. It involves, at base, cultivating the ability to discern good from evil, developing the intellectual virtues required to separate the rigorous from the sloppy, living an adventurous life so that you are rooting yourself among and serving those who are completely unlike yourself.

The demands of democracy are clear — the elevation and transformation of your very self. If you are not transformed, you’re just skating by.
David_Brooks  democracy  Victorian  values  engaged_citizenry  arduous  critical_thinking  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  struggles  history  op-ed  profile  philosophy  utilitarianism  liberal  political_theory  John_Stuart_Mill  self-improvement  19th_century  liberalism  indivualized  self-actualization  individual_choice  autonomy  intellectually_rigorous 
january 2018 by jerryking
On the money: a history of the Bank of England
SEPTEMBER 1, 2017 by: John Plender, the FT columnist and author of ‘Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets’ (Biteback)

Till Time’s Last Sand: A History of the Bank of England 1694-2013, by David Kynaston, Bloomsbury £35, 896 pages
An enduring theme is the friction that existed from the outset between the Bank and its main client, the government. The Bank’s original charter was granted so that it could provide finance for the Nine Years’ War against France. On each renewal, the terms were the subject of much haggling and in the interim the Bank was constantly pressed to advance more money than it felt prudent. ....Another constant theme is forgery and fraud, with some of the Bank’s most senior employees being caught with their fingers in the till. In marked contrast to today’s post-crisis financial world, punishment was harsh. Many miscreants were hanged at Tyburn while the lucky ones were condemned to transportation.

As the 19th century progresses, Kynaston’s story turns increasingly on the issue that preoccupied great Victorian writers on monetary policy such as Henry Thornton and Walter Bagehot: how to reconcile adherence to the gold standard with financial stability. Numerous financial crises, including those surrounding the rescue of Barings and the collapse of Overend Gurney and the City of Glasgow Bank, are retold here with panache.
Bank_of_England  history  central_banks  book_reviews  books  monetary_policy  slavery  Walter_Bagehot  financial_history  19th_century  Victorian  financial_crises 
september 2017 by jerryking
Victorian values for the 21st century - The Globe and Mail
Margaret Wente

The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Oct. 05 2013

the real keys to success are far more old-fashioned – Victorian, even. They are self-regulation, conscientiousness and diligence. More than ever, perhaps, 21st-century success will require 19th-century values.....The trouble is that cultivating 19th-century habits in the 21st century isn’t easy. In Victorian times, self-regulation was reinforced by many kinds of external pressure, including social norms, religion, family and Queen. The consequences of lapsing from the straight and narrow – social disgrace, even ruin – could be severe. Today, you’re far more reliant on yourself to stay the course, and nobody else much cares if you don’t.....Daniel Akst argues in Temptation: Finding Self-Control in an Age of Excess, modern life requires an unnatural degree of self-control. ... in an age of super-affluence, it’s a constant struggle to keep our appetites in check. “It’s not that we have less willpower than we used to,” he writes, “but rather that modern life immerses us daily in a set of temptations far more evolved than we are.”

Self-discipline and high IQ often go together. But they are not the same. As Mr. Akst reports, self-discipline is a far better predictor of university grades than either IQ or SAT scores. ...many of America’s children have trouble making choices that require them to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term gain.”
21st._century  achievement_gaps  gender_gap  IQ  values  books  self-control  self-discipline  Tyler_Cowen  Victorian  willpower  temptations  delayed_gratification  self-regulation  proclivities 
october 2013 by jerryking
Six Victorian inheritances we should cherish -
May. 22, 2011 | The Globe and Mail | Editorial.

Science: The adoption and regularization of the scientific method and the emergence of Darwinism - especially as promoted to the general public by Thomas Huxley.

Humanitarianism: Emergence of internationalism, growing partly from the anti-slavery movement and later energized by the statesman William Ewart Gladstone's articulation of the need to recognize the rights of many small nations. As Gladstone said of the downtrodden: "The sanctity of life in the hill villages of Afghanistan among the winter snows, is as inviolable in the eyes of Almighty God as can be your own." Closer to home, Charles Dickens was a powerful advocate for the poor and for factory workers.

Feminism: The roots of the modern women's movement are to be found, in part, in the establishment of women's colleges at Oxford and Cambridge in the last third of the 19th century - and in J.S. Mill's book The Subjection of Women.

Free trade: International trade networks were given impetus by the liberals of "the Manchester school," imperial collaboration and colonial development; the result of all these was a form of what is now called globalization.

Progress: The Victorians, arguably more than any other series of generations, demonstrated their commitment to the idea of progress; the Great Exhibition of 1851, held in the Crystal Palace in London, probably stands as the most conspicuous expression of industrial progress. Prince Albert was an enthusiastic backer, as was his wife Queen Victoria.

Democracy: The electoral franchise was expanded successively in 1832, 1867 and 1885.
19th_century  Charles_Darwin  Charles_Dickens  democracy  feminism  free-trade  history  imperialism  inheritances  John_Stuart_Mill  liberal  op-ed  philosophy  political_theory  utilitarianism  values  Victorian  William_Gladstone  women's_movement 
may 2011 by jerryking

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