“I Am No Longer Answerable for Its Actions”: E. P. Thompson After Moral Economy
- Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 11, Number 2, Summer 2020
- pp. 241-246
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E. P. Thompson’s classic 1971 article “The Moral Economy of the English Crowd” turned a forgotten locution into a cottage industry. But Thompson was surprisingly ambivalent about this academic success story. As discussion of “moral economy” burgeoned within the humanities, he watched grimly as talk of the “market economy” flourished in the wider world. His language had survived, but he took little consolation in the popularity of a concept that, stripped of its context, threatened to become a catchphrase.