North and South – Gaskell

In a capitalist society, the value of human life is reduced to its capacity to consume and produce. Gaskell argues that it doesn't have to be.

North and Sound is a socio-economic romance novel from the victorian era. This may sound like a strange combination, but Gaskell pulls it off pretty well. Despite being no C. Bronte with the pen, Gaskell does a wonderful job of taking us on an emotional journey through the struggle that was the beginning of capitalism. She sheds a relatively unbiased, feminine light on the masculine subject of Money, as well as pushing the idea that in business, the master's gain does not have to be the worker's loss.

Out of all the classic romance novel, this one gets your judicial mind thinking the most. It is one that victorian economist – and all round great guy – John Ruskin, would probably have recommended.

Quote me on it:

"In a capitalist society, the value of human life is reduced to its capacity to consume and produce"


  • Dichotomy of master-worker relationship in capitalism
  • A feminine beacon of hope for sustainable, moral capitalism
  • Most economical/philosophical of the romance classics
  • Bland characters that somehow keep you extremely engaged

Other reads down this alley:

  • Anthem - Ayn Rand
  • David Copperfield - Dickens
  • Traffic - Ruskin


Sebastian Kade, Founder of Sumry and Author of Living Happiness, is a software designer and full-stack engineer. He writes thought-provoking articles every now and then on

One Comment

  1. I love North & South! The BBC mini-series is fantastic, and Richard Armitage does a fantastic job of bringing Mr Thornton to life!

    I agree that it’s a great exploration of moral capitalism – but also the idea of personal responsibility. It also a great exploration of leadership.

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