POLITICAL THEORY – William Morris

POLITICAL THEORY – William Morris


93 comments

  1. Cool video! I disagree with Morris, though. I can see the value of a well-constructed house, or table, but other things no. I don't want to buy expensive, tailored clothes when I'm 21 just to have to buy a whole new expensive set when I get old and fat, not to mention when fashions change. And no matter how well-constructed it is, I don't want to be stuck with a phone with tech from 10 years ago.

  2. Thanks for this. I was helping to prepare a charity stall today and the amount of miserable refuse offered for sale was pretty shocking. I do think the responsibility lies with consumers, but the mass-manufacturing juggernaut has so many tricks of persuasion. So, I think crafting needs to become a necessary part of education. Like Marx said in his theory of alienation, we need to be engaged with the products of labour, and so too the labour itself. There's no better way to forge a connection than making things ourselves –  practical experience with the production of goods would help us to see the 'just price' in all items, and then to favour those of quality. They're my thoughts on the matter.

  3. He is the polar opposite of Confucius when Confucius rights that if you receive a beautiful vase, for example, you should see it as broken so that when the inevitable disaster strikes and you break it, it is not such a disaster. Almost like a property or consumer stoicism.

  4. Craftsmanship has died, and the economic reason is just one of the things that killed it. Yes, the drive to minimize prices in the industrial age was certainly one of the factors, but it's not just price. It's also time. If I want a chair I want it now. In most cases I don't want to contract for the delivery of a chair 6 months from now. I worked for many years as a signpainter. It was an industry late to be computerized and mechanized. But when it was, it wasn't always that a computer made sign was cheaper, it was that you could order it today and pick it up tomorrow; where a similar sign with several colours might take weeks to produce (just because of drying times for the paint colours).
    The third thing that killed it you allude to under 'consumer education'. But I want to emphasize that one for a moment. It is necessary to have some knowledge about something to even be able to judge its quality. Without that knowledge, it's all just fungible commodities. More and more we are surrounded by things we don't understand and are not competent to judge, whose origins are unknown to us. Who can judge the quality of an electronic circuit, or the design of a fuel injector, or the efficacy of a particular medicine. Even the products themselves have long since quit advertising their advantages in quality and design. They advertise not facts about their manufacture but rather appeals to our psychology – and often entirely fact-free appeals!

  5. Hey +the school of life,I recently sent a question to your chief philosopher john on "How trust can be harnessed by kids?" where can i ask you guys questions,is that the right email? P.S : I consider thebookoflife.org is a milestone of human thought

  6. Your videos are absolutely amazing when it comes to providing complex theories and world view of different theorists in a nutshell. Thank you.

    I would suggest that it might be interesting to see also several theorists of Legal Philosophy/ Theory, perhaps like H.L.A. Hart, John Finnis, Ronald Dworkin, or others.

  7. Why do you guys only do POLITICAL THEORY videos on left-leaning or socialist-learning philosophers?
    Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the videos, but they are all starting to feel a bit lop-sided.

  8. As a teacher, my students would benefit from the craftsmanship ideaology. Currently, it is more labour than craft.

  9. So good taste will save both the environment and the economy? Then we must place higher value on the arts in schools instead of cutting them back.

  10. Always bringing in the existing ideas beautifully tailored to suit our time guys. Great work TSOL. I would suggest that if you could have sub titles for the narration it would be great so that people with hearing loss and disability would also benefit!!!

  11. You should make a video about Michel Foucault or Terence Mckenna. Or any philosopher who explored the human condition and culture through the use of drugs. I feel it's a crucial area of philosophy to study when it comes to the freedom and integrity of human beings. It also covers modern man's relationship to nature.

  12. +The School of Life Do you happen to have a pdf file of that poster with the quote "Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful"? Thanks.

  13. People are usually unaware of the degrading work conditions of those who produce cheap clothes, for example. But it is also hard to convince somebody to go for a more expensive piece of clothing when they are, themselves, poor (for a 1st world standard, but poor nevertheless).

  14. How synchronistic! The next day after watching this video, William Morris came up in an interview I was doing for my vlog! http://youtu.be/PgBv_eYXYtM

  15. Alright, so Mr. Morris says that we should buy expensive set of plates just because it's "more responsible"? I don't mind having a set of ordinary plates from IKEA and I don't need a fancy hand-made chair to be happy. While I do realize that process of making these things brings a lot of happiness to the artist, he shouldn't expect to be competitive with companies that mass produce similar things.
    School of life has this obsession with the idea of what capitalism "should be". Workers should be happy, not be alienated from their work and should feel that they make a difference in life. Rich people should donate most of their money and refuse profit for the sake of said workers. WHY? Capitalism has been the way it is (more-less) for about 200 years now and it's definitely the best system we've seen so far. Yes, it has problems, but one could argue that work alienation is almost essential to it. Instead of trying to change that try to teach people other ways to improve their life – philosophy for instance 🙂

  16. 3:23 "the education of the consumer…". I became a school teacher looking forward making a dent on that…

  17. Alain should start working on his beard, after the likes of Topsy and Ruskin. This is no gratuitous observation. It would be terrible to see him grow a despondent mustache, or the silly goatee of the self-satisfied, or to remain a beardless secular preacher. Morris is the way to go.

  18. okay. so i am not saying anything you said (about Morris's ideas) is entirely wrong but it does seem like it has been cheery picked. From my reading of Morris and of people people from a lot of circles, he in the long run wanted to abolish money commodity. And just like laterday marxists and socialists and anarchists, he had theories for pre revolutionary conditions, i.e. with money and wage labor etc. He was not a naive theorist who believed some aesthetic change in production and commodity culture will solve everything, which this video makes him look like.

  19. A very interesting concept, indeed. Has anyone felt as if their own food tastes much better than that made from someone else? Or furthermore, does not a meal from a "considerable" chef/restaurant taste better than those made by your close ones? The satisfaction of your own performance, and the satisfaction of authentic quality, have its peculiar attraction.

  20. Do video on Robert Nozick, or will that be too much for a lefti channel? I mean it is school of life, isn't it?

  21. I feel like we're on the cusp of this. While I don't believe we can maintain a modern advanced economy with a completely artisanal economy, consumer tastes are getting more complicated nowadays.

    And it's funny, because it's the so called hipsters who are driving it. Once mocked, now everyone is copying them.

  22. That's a very interesting insight, that a good economy requires good taste. But also a little discouraging. Bad taste is a tenacious foe.

  23. These videos are exceptionally useful, however I believe that continually identifying one person or another as being, "the first to understand that" is like saying Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity.

  24. Quality over quantity, that was a famous motto from the national socialist movement, and it still carry's on in many German productions today.

  25. Interestingly Morris thought that economy should be more about DIY, quality and profit. Yet, profit was the thing that expected of customers who wanted to buy good quality, and not cheap objects which will shortly after the purchase be destroyed.

  26. He understood the theory of alienation and how it relates to all work as a form of art without having read the economic-philosophic manuscripts of 1844.. he should be read more by Marxists.

  27. Unfortunately, products are made cheaper with far less quality. Even the new doors I install in my home cannot measure up to the old ones that are being replaced, which are 40 years old. I cannot save the old ones; I would if I could. Even those are not as good as the ones that were built over 50 years ago. One I recently purchased from the Home Depot is made out cardboard (I kid you not) sandwiched between two veneers. It is an extremely light door. it would not take much to knock it off its hinges. I will give it 5 to 10 years.

  28. Mass production doesn't necessarily immediately equate to shoddy quality or short lifespan in the products.

    Take the AK47 Assault Rifle for instance.
    Mass produced, yet sturdy and durable, a weapon that can last through generations with proper care and maintenance.

  29. I'm loving your "Political Theory" videos and I found an interesting fact, in most of them a thing I clear, to have a better economical system the consumer needs to be educated.
    Marx and Adam Smith concours. (and alot of other people as it seems…)

  30. I found this after seeing William Morris's name in my Art History book. His ideas contrasted with those of James Abbott McNeill Whistler who promoted the creed "Art for Art's Sake," not for the sake of pushing morals or ideas. Just for the sake of being beautiful. But there is a difference in what people find beautiful, right?

  31. Doesn't this idea assumes that all the market has the option to go for the quality product? Wouldn't making products that last longer slow down the economy as quantity demanded lowers? Wouldn't making cheaper products arrange a broader market spectrum (i.e., available for poor and rich alike) ?

  32. One this guy was an artists! How best to spend one's time is the main stead of such a mindset. An artists doesn't understand the process of turning a resource into an object that can be loved. Mining the materials. Farming the energy. Appreciating the market. He was correct about enjoyment of labor. If: not; enter the machine unable to determine how efficient the process is. Society does need to be educated on what is valuable to it; and, what is not. Sadly: society is a collection of individuals. These individuals have one thing in common. That commonality is sustaining their daily lives. That requires energy and love. It is love (what is appreciated) that is the main difference between us all. Some may love the cheap and disposals because it doesn't require much investment. Some may love the expensive and charitable because it does require much investment (which the well-do have plenty of). He forgot those workers spent very little time at home to sit and reflect on their possessions while doing up to 12 hours a day sweating; and, another 8 sleeping. They could count how much an object was worth by tallying it against that working day. The rich only had to tally how many of said workers they had. And: how much time was spent helping to stimulate the economy to grow was their only business of the day.

  33. You did not mention his wonderful works of fantasy. Most significantly, The Well at the World's End. This is a portrayal of something like a medieval world, wherein people seek the healing, long-life giving waters of a magical well, recalling perhaps, the legend of the Fountain of Youth. Pure magic!

  34. Sadly the fashionable green wallpaper used arsenic and killed many people. Green wallpaper and carpets was deadly. See BBC series on this subject but Morris was unaware of this. Yes buy carefully and keep using the items through generations. Things go in and out of fashion but something beautifully made and good to look at is always a pleasure.

  35. I enjoy The School of Life videos but would like to see more videos about the other side of the argument: Hayek and Milton Friedman, for example.

  36. I wonder if that could be applied to bereoucracy with the ever increasing use of virtual technology. Our minds are still set to find pleasure in creating phisical objects, hence the feeling of fulfiment when we craft something, but working in a cubicle is constraining and frustrating. Wouldn't it be greate if VR could substitute typing on a keyboard with using our hands in a 3D space to manage files, complete reports and create presentations? It would be an illusion but at least it would aleviate some of the torment. What do you guys think?

  37. I enjoyed his fantasies very much. They inspired CS Lewis a good deal. I never got around to seeing about his other works and ideas, til now.

  38. I think Morris had it backwards… Within the system of capitalism it is on the consumer to show charity to the worker. What if workers gave their work up to those they see fit.
    Take the example of the car…. 1 worker could build a ferrari for 1 rich guy and the rich guy could pay him quite nicely for it… or the same worker could build a combine harvester for a farmer who feeds hundreds of hungry people… Which one would the worker find more rewarding?

  39. Hehe, I loved how casually it was mentioned, "… a year after marrying his favorite actress and model … ". No big deal.
    "Now Billy, just keep it cool and go build a few houses for fun."

  40. Great video, but I feel it completely erases/overlooks his views and key influence as a socialist and Marxist. He was one of the most important British socialists of the 19th century, indeed, the noted historian AL Morton declared him "the first English Marxist"! He absolutely did not believe the change necessary for us to lead fulfilling, beautiful lives could be achieved by simply educating consumers and changing their behaviours. He firmly believed in revolution, that the change he felt necessary could only be achieved by workers taking democratic ownership and control over society and the economy. He explicitly advocated communism.

  41. The School of Life
    You forgot to mention how William was an activist of socialism.

    You also didn't mention how he was also friends with Peter Kropotkin. And how William was influenced by anarchist and communist ideals.

  42. My sixth form is named after this guy. So is a pub near my sixth form. A little random fact no one cares about.

  43. Although a bit of a scoundrel where Morris's wife is concerned, Rossetti's work is absolutely stunning, his portraits of Jane Morris are simply wonderful.

  44. The assertion that consumers need to change is, for some reason, so often overlooked. There are very few reasons, especially in the age of information, for a consumer to be swindled into purchasing a product that they 1. don't need or 2. don't want. Don't like sweatshops? Spend 30 seconds searching the manufacturing record of the company you want to buy from. It sends me for a loop when I see men and women my age (mid 20s) buying new outfits for $30 or less every time they go out. I'd wager that if you asked them how they feel about worker's rights in Bangladesh, they would be against the exploitation, yet they still own hundreds of their garments that are worn once, then fall apart. Now, I have no idea if this is willful ignorance or not but, either way, it is morally reprehensible since information is so freely available

  45. its difficult for people to be informed when all the info is commercial propaganda..stop trying to justify capitalism.. it doesn't work..or at least it works with so many repairs and twists that ANY type of system would work. communism would not require so many amendments for a good life for all people.

  46. I'm a little surprised gow this video glosses over the fact that he implemented these ideas into his own vision of Socialism, was actively engaged in and (co-)founded socialist movements and would greatly influence key Fabians.

  47. William Morris would have scolded me for not valuing craftsmanship. Sometime around 2010, I visited an art gallery, and an artist was selling his paintings of boats, which were very nice. But he was asking something like $5000 for each painting. Maybe I'm just not knowledgeable enough about paintings, but that seemed more than a little pricey, and I did not buy one. I'm sure he had spent years developing his craft and put great effort into each painting, but I just couldn't see spending anywhere near that amount for one of his paintings. Now, maybe this guy was famous, and I was ignorant of this (which is entirely possible), in which case perhaps $5000 was a bargain for one of his paintings. I wish the guy well, and I hope he finds customers to buy his paintings.

  48. well lets differentiate between craftsmanship and interactive effect, what we see at IKEA and Morris "Red House" is TOTALLY can't be compared. but yeah, thank's to WW2 when every thing slogan is "with few creates more" and forget about whose making it. and also after war, comes the mighty BAUHAUS that influence everything and especially industrial house seem don't bother about it.

  49. the worst part about this video is that it completely ignores the fact that morris was the godfather of fantasy literature and a pioneer in socialist organizing. he's much bigger than this video leads on…….

  50. 'have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.' marie kondo is that u?

  51. I listen to this and see all of these conformist/reactionary reacting to this – with their eyes rolling into the backs of their heads. When people like this propose a better living mode for many people there are these people (I call them Christians) who think this is the end of the world. There are people who want misery for as many people as possible and Morris was a wrench thrown into the gears. I am, without a doubt, surrounded by many who are psychologically disturbed – and usually these are the people who have to have one or more animals as pets. Misery for animals and humans alike!

  52. "Better Collective Taste" IS A HUGE IDEA! Nothing could be more important. How many millions died in World War Two? All these millions died because of two contesting ideas for the future of Humanity: Will the Human Race be elevated onto a higher spiritual, and material plane, or will MEDIOCRITY be, and remain forever, the Master over all Human existence? We all know the outcome, and we all now live well submerged in it's aftermath, and effects: All those millions perished so that we could listen to HIP-HOP every day!

  53. It seems to me that this channel keeps telling me that these political theorists all advocated for consumers to be educated and that this could somehow in some way effectively change the economy in some fashion. First of all these political theorists were far more revolutionary in their thinking than this stupid idea. Second it is also an in-probable notion. People want convenience and certainty in their products and human nature will never change. Quality and practicality doesn’t matter anymore. There is also no way to change people’s minds, they have to change their own.

  54. Yes of course, but we are approaching the simple single bed from the incorrect direction. Your mind should always be on what is immaterial, and be rid of what little materialism you have gained. We of this comfort zone in society, fridges, washing machines, electric kettles, electric full stop, have distracted our true intentions, clouded our own judgment with materialism.

    We deserve comfort and not disadvantage in life, this is beyond doubt, but not at the expense of our true nature.

    We are perhaps too often taught to think we need more than we actually do.

    God bless

  55. I'm starting to apply his advice to my own life and live more minimalisically, while with my purchases (esp of clothes) supporting people who genuinely enjoy the design process. It makes my belongings fewer but more meaningful to me ⚡

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