Bread is the main thing to understand: the staple of speculation, the food for all theories about what happens next. Fifteen years from now, on the day the Bastille falls, the price of bread will be at its highest in sixty years. Twenty years from now (when it is all over), a woman on the capital will say: ‘Under Robespierre, blood flowed, but the people had bread. Perhaps in order to have bread, it is necessary to spill a little blood.’

Hilary Mantel, A Place of Greater Safety.

On the French revolution.



I must admit, the snow makes a lot of places very attractive, and central London is one of them.

 What I love about snow in major cities is that it slows them down, everybody travels slowly, people don’t go to work or leave early, people stay at home rather than go shopping. they become different places, less about speed and consumption.

The passing of [the] market economy can become the beginning of an era of unprecedented freedom. Juridical and actual freedom can be made wider and more general than ever before; regulation and control can achieve freedom not only for the few, but for all. Freedom not as an appurtenance of privilege, tainted at the source, but as a prescriptive right extending far beyond the narrow confines of the political sphere into the intimate organization of society itself. Thus will old freedoms and civic rights be added to the fund of new freedoms generated by the leisure and security that industrial society offers to all. Such a society can afford to be both just and free.

Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time (1957)