E.P. Thompson

In his article, Thompson looks at how the telling of time evolved throughout history.  Thompson was a Marxist and believed that history was not created or influenced by individuals but rather by changing trends.  In this case, Thompson examines the way that time was told before the invention of electricity.  In societies which were run mainly by farming or trading, time was measured by such things as how long it took for an egg to cook or the various stages of daily routines.  In a time before capitalism, such measurements were acceptable because the working day of individuals was generally not grouped with others.  With the start of the industrial revolution, however, standard periods of time measurement were needed.  In relation to time being related to money, Thompson claims that the “time is money” idea begins in such small roles as “the family economy of a small farmer.”  Thus, it appears that the telling of time is strongly tied in to the idea of capitalism and wage-earning.  Thompson’s view is interesting because it is not a concept which is generally given much thought.  Time in relation to history is especially unusual to think about.  Overall, Thompson’s article is one of the more interesting that I have seen.

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