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None but the dissolute among the poor look upon the rich as their natural enemies, or desire to pillage their houses and divide their property.
Ruskin's first essay, 'The Roots of Honor,' describes the relationship between employer and employee.
In the second, 'The Veins of Wealth,' Ruskin analyzes the standard definition of wealth and offers an alternative.
A hard-working man of property is particularly offended by an idle beggar; and an orderly, but poor, workman is naturally intolerant of the licentious luxury of the rich.
And what is severe judgment in the minds of the just men of either class, becomes fierce enmity in the unjust — but among the unjust only.
Over time, however, Ruskin became concerned about life in newly-industrialized England and worried that unrestrained capitalism had created a vast and poor working class, led to deplorable living conditions, and placed little value on human life beyond its ability to convert labor into profit.
Unto this Last offers Ruskin's passionate responses to these socio-economic problems.
Echoes of Ruskin's ideas can be heard in contemporary debates.
For instance, some argue that raising the minimum wage to a fair living wage will lead to overall social improvement, while others fear that it will decrease business opportunities and incentives to work harder, better, and faster in order to move up the social ladder.
The third essay, 'Qui Judicatis Terram,' which is Latin for 'They Who Judge on Earth,' explains how justice is critical to Ruskin's view of political economy.
The final essay, 'Ad Valorem,' which means 'According to Value,' provides a definition of value that doesn't rely strictly on money and the exchange of labor.