He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

I Guess Utilitarianism Is Bad

I'm amused when folks speak longingly about the age of chivalry, for underlying such longings is the unmindfulness of the economic infrastructure that supports the noble caste's leisure. The human capital providing economic support was, of course, some form of coercive economic servitude. We've seen this kind of magical chivalric existence in the modern era--Czarist Russia and the Antebellum South. Some of the costs associated with maintaining the structure of coercive parasitism were imposed on the society at large, and those citizens too were excluded from the chivalric dream of a few.

By the way, the "leisure" of Ancient Greece was supported by economic actors excluded from its "democracy".

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