Senior Lecturer in History Dr Donna Loftus presented a paper on “The ‘paradox of thrift’: economic visions of nineteenth-century Britain” at The History and Future of the Moral Economy online workshop in June 2021.
Morality and its relationship to economic behaviour has long fascinated historians and social scientists. The history of capitalism, development, and environmental change possesses an ethical dimension that is evident from the medieval period through to the present. This is evidenced by phenomena such as the planned economy, the emergence of neoliberalism, and features in current debates about a Green New Deal. But how has morality been central to the way in which people have understood their relationship to wider social change in the past and does this still matter today? The workshop explored these ideas, as well as exploring both the (various) histories and the (possible) futures of the Moral Economy.