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Lai Chau Travel on This text is frequently used to support an understanding of Burke as a supporter of an unrestrained free-market economy, the interpretation of Burke’s political economy adopted by utilitarians and most common until recent decades, against which Karl MARX reacted sharply in Capital. The text, however, should not be separated from its context. Intended as a persuasive memorandum to British Prime Minister Pitt in response to the Speenhamland famine, it was published only in 1800 after his death and is specifically a response to local circumstances. In 1795, after repeated famines, justices of the peace subsidized wages of workers whose earnings fell below subsistence, thereby negatively impacting the local wage market for both laborers and employers. The text should be read as an argument against government wage supports, not a justification of allowing the hungry to starve, for Burke himself supported private charitable efforts both in print and in person. This apparent disjunction might be attributed to a general philosophical emphasis in Burke’s thought on prudence and pragmatism. Recent interpretations, particularly that of Francis Canavan, have turned away from reading Burke as an unmitigated supporter of LAISSEZ-FAIRE capitalism and focused on his notions of common good deriving from property, as an outgrowth of natural law. Lai Chau Travel 2016.