Epilogue: Work Ethics, Past and Present

  • Marcus Waithe
  • Claire White
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


Since the near collapse of the Western financial system in 2008, and the subsequent nationalization of failed banks, an awareness has grown that the speculative activities of the City of London and Wall Street are not ‘private’ at all, but effectively underwritten by the state. This, in turn, has fostered new interest in the relationship between private goods and public benefits, and in the nature of transactions—or forms of work—previously supposed invisible. The ‘credit crunch’ that precipitated Britain’s ‘lost decade’ had causes distinct from those that led to recession in France and the much of the Eurozone. But the ‘austerity’ policies enacted to contain these different crises have involved a similar calculus, one that pits supposedly productive activities against social and cultural programmes deemed expendable. Difficult decisions, in both cases, have re-opened questions of definition and value.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus Waithe
    • 1
  • Claire White
    • 2
  1. 1.Magdalene CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Girton CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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