“Purpresturists Out!”

I came across an obscure word the other day – “purpresture”. It is a medieval term, to be found in Richard fitz Nigel’s handbook to the Exchequer, and signifies encroachments on the royal demesne. Or as we would say now, when politicians sell state assets to their cronies at knockdown prices. Hey, now we have a handy term for what has been happening to our polities for the last couple of decades: “The Age of the Purpresture”. Perhaps Attac should carry banners at the next Davos meeting, “Purpresturists Out!” Unfortunately, it is a tongue-twister to chant.

Were we to adopt a uniform economic terminology for such matters, then the bridge-guarding knight of the chivalric tales (not to mention Monty Python) would become a security contractor for a newly-privatised highway facility. His (off-screen) employer has just bribed the king to grant him the asset so that he can recoup his outlay by charging the king’s subjects to use the facility that they have just finished financing as a public good. The Economist will, as always, explain why what is good for the wolves is invariably good for the sheep as well, but the medieval romanciers, communist layabouts to a man, preferred to call the contractor a Black Knight and an oppressor of the poor.

Posted on July 13, 2009 at 10:59 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!, The Age Of Enron-cence

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