#Econhist papers I (mostly) admire, Nov 2023
Protests, prisons, property rights, and post-pandemic work
I asked ChatGPT to write a poem in the style of Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet who wrote about political and social history in Latin America, to summarise each of this month’s papers. Your support through a paid subscription is much appreciated.
The shape of tomorrow
In the whispers of history, echoes the discontent of youth,
where early protests mould tomorrow’s truths.
Populist winds sweep through the fields of the past,
sowing seeds of dissatisfaction that forever last.
Nigerian soil, once shackled by colonial hand,
yielded crops beneath the prison labour’s brand.
Yet the legacies of chains, a mistrustful sower reaps,
in the shadows of courthouses, the memory keeps.
Across the ocean, British titans of industry bloom,
from the amateur's garden to the professional’s room.
A revolution, quiet, in office corridors rang,
where Thatcher’s ghost whispers, in the machine’s clang.
Treaty lines drawn, a nation’s fabric they stitch,
binding the land, yet an economic ditch.
Canada’s soul searches, between the ink and the trust,
incomes whisper of promises, turned to dust.
Habsburg whispers, through time they travel far,
in Milan’s streets, they raise the bar.
Enlightenment's gift, an efficient state’s embrace,
where nurseries cradle the future's face.
Latin America, inequality’s persistent shade,
where the roots of disparity are deeply laid.
Slavery, land, education – a history’s cruel jest,
casting long shadows from the colonial West.
And amidst the clamour for change, the elite’s silent dance,
revolutions spun on the whims of chance.
Democracy's dream, often tangled in a powerful few,
a historical cycle, relentless, anew.
In lands apart, ‘neath varied laws’ decree,
The joint-stock company did independently breed.
From Toulouse’s mills to Genoese shores, a seed,
Not by diffusion, but as needs did lead.
As the world turned in a pandemic’s tight grip,
remote work spilled from technology's lip.
The home became castle, office, and sphere,
a change, they say, that will persevere.
Each verse, a study of the ages,
pages turning, insights leaping from sages.
Past and present, a tangled thread,
where history’s lessons are quietly read.
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