In our late capitalist modernity, profit-making and individualism have been so thoroughly linked that it is hard to grasp a time when these concepts were still separable. Michael Genovese argues that these concepts did not emerge together as a necessarily linked pair, and that the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries saw an attempt to bolster profit-making while decrying individualism. The Problem of Profit excavates a tradition of protest against individualist capitalism that Genovese identifies as unique because it does not denounce profit-making. He looks at texts that scathingly criticize the individual and self-interested drive to make profit at the expense of all else, but that nevertheless hold that making profit is a legitimate and socially beneficial activity. He names this collective alternative to self-interest “sociable profit” and locates its development as an idea in the early part of the eighteenth century. The Problem of Profit explains how this ideal...
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Review Article| January 01 2023
The Problem of Profit: Finance and Feeling in Eighteenth-Century British Literature(
Univ. of Virginia,
Eighteenth-Century Life (2023) 47 (1): 97–101.
Peter DeGabriele; Affective Profit. Eighteenth-Century Life 1 January 2023; 47 (1): 97–101. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00982601-10199981
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