Ad Valorem

From Unto This Last, by John Ruskin, 1860

    The best and simplest general type of capital is a well-made ploughshare. Now, if that ploughshare did nothing but beget other ploughshares, in a polypous manner, — however the great cluster of polypous plough might glitter in the sun, it would have lost its function of capital. It becomes true capital only by another type of splendor, — when it is seen “splendescere sulco,” to grow bright in the furrow; rather with diminution of its substance, than addition, by the noble friction. And the true home question, to every capitalist and to every nation, is not, “how many ploughs have you?” but , “where are your furrows?” not “how quickly will this capital reproduce itself?” – but, “what will it do during reproduction?” What substance will it furnish, good for life? what work construct, protective of life? if none, its own reproduction is useless – if worse than none, — (for capital may destroy life as well as support it), its own reproduction is worse than useless; ….

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