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12 July 2015


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Joe Arnold

Economics isn't my thing, but the whole "in kind" thing baffles me. I mean, I get the concept (like when it happened back in Rome), I just don't get the specifics.

The speculators, how on earth did they get rich when they could only flip the land for specie that was rare and couldn't be used because nobody trusted it or, like, a cow and some bushels of wheat that rot away anyway?

How did anyone even eat? The poor people have been starving to death for like ten years by now. They ought to be dead. And now they're being paid in wheat bushels even though there's no wheat?

I'm not thrilled by where capitalism has gotten us; one almost expects the next revolution any day, but at least at street level it fools us enough that it works. This stuff in the French Revolution is just bonkers!


Not sure what you mean by Capitalism working or not in this context. No economic system can magically create grain from thin air. Backwards agriculture and a rapidly growing population had gotten France to this place.


A new biography of Robespierre is out. Review here: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/reviews/review-essay/robespierre-s-rules-radicals


Happy Fête de la Fédération Mike!


Hey, did you know that @JacobinCalendar on Twitter - who tweets the Republican Calendar date daily - is doing a Kickstarter to produce an actual wall calendar? It's at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2112031092/french-republican-wall-calendar. I think I want one!


I think Babeuf might be my spirit animal. Is that crazy?


Hey Mike, I'm really enjoying Revolutions, it's great. I have just traveled through Europe for several months with my family on a roman history themed trip, reliving some of the places I went with you on a HOR tour (tour number 2 from memory). Life Changing trip for my 3 kids, they have had their eyes opened. Anyway a funny thing I hadn't expected was that when we got to France he place is absolutely full of references to their revolution. Street names everywhere refer to the major figures, there are lots of cool monuments to Liberte, Egalite, fraternite etc - just everywhere. My favourite though is that the local soccer team in Bordeaux is called "the Girondins" - just great listening to the show while driving our RV down George Danton place, or whatever. I never saw anything named after Lafayette or Rhobespierre! Roman stuff in south of France is amazing. Good old Marcus Agrippa really built to last in southern Gaul, I think it's the local stone that made it last so well. Mike

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