In perhaps Ruskin's most scathing passage against the ever-growing "Science of Exchange" or "Callactics" he finds a way to not only prove that this science is nothing more than a science of trickery and taking advantage, but goes as far as to link the science to a creation of the devil.

So far, therefore, as the science of exchange relates to the advantage of one of the exchanging persons only, it is founded on the ignorance or incapacity of the opposite person. Where these vanish, it also vanishes. It is therefore a science founded on nescience, and an art founded on artlessness...It is, therefore, peculiarly and alone the science of darkness; probably a bastard science — not by any means a divina scienta, but one begotten of another father.

Clearly Ruskin is condemning this science of callactics. My question, however, is; is he doing it successfully?

Does his outright disgust for this devilish science too strongly influence the logic of his argument or is he still able to view his subject through a moderate and balanced lens?

Is the reference to satan effective or is it too much?


Victorian Overview John Ruskin Leading Questions

Last modified 2 October 2003