Ruskin was new and innovative about his theory of intrinsic and effectual value because his “view of population regulation includes terms like ‘maintenance’, ‘support in healthy and happy life’, ‘comfort’, and so on. He implies that these outcomes should be the objectives of economic theory and practice” (Reading 8-6.3). Ruskin believed that economic theories that make “accumulation” the only objection were wrong (Reading 8-6.3). Basically Ruskin was reacting against the ideas presenting regarding self-interest and the idea that economic systems focused on monetary value.
Ruskin wrote “the production of effectual value, therefore, always involves two needs: first, the production of a thing essentially useful; then the production of the capacity to use it. Where the intrinsic value and acceptant capacity come together there is effectual value, or wealth…. As the aptness of the user increases, the effectual value of the thing used increases” (Reading 8-6.8).
He thought that laissez faire was not the best model for economics because it often required state support and did not sustain the art or other aspects of social and economic life (Reading 8-6.3). He believed that the arts were products that could continuously benefit the state and should be treasured.
His ecological suggestions were that land’s “beauty, united with such conditions of space and form are as necessary for exercise, and for fullness of animal life” (Reading 8-6.9). He thought that humans should protect the most precious gift: ecological life.
Modern day parallels of his theories, especially in the area of public responsibility, could be PETA. They work to protect animals and their ethical treatment. This group values the life of animals and expects them to be treated fairly and not for materialistic use.