02 October, 2016

the more things change...

so, the other day, i was reading "Ascent of Money" and came across the word "peculation" in reference to how the management of empires changed when professional bureaucracy took over, and were expected to make a living through regular and fixed salaries instead of peculation.

interested, i looked it up, and here's how it went:

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ENGLISH
peculation
The wrongful appropriation or embezzlement of shared or public property, usually by a person entrusted with the guardianship of that property.
Etymology: From Latin peculatus ‎(“embezzlement”), from past participle stem of peculor ‎(“to defraud the public”), related to peculium ‎(“property in cattle", "private property”), from pecu ‎(“cattle", "money”).

peculiar
One's own; belonging solely or especially to an individual; not shared or possessed by others.
Etymology: From Latin peculiaris ‎(“one's own”), from Latin peculium ‎(“private property”), from Latin pecus ‎(“cattle”).

speculation
The act or practice of buying land, goods, shares, etc., in expectation of selling at a higher price, or of selling with the expectation of repurchasing at a lower price; a trading on anticipated fluctuations in price, as distinguished from trading in which the profit expected is the difference between the retail and wholesale prices, or the difference of price in different markets.
Etymology: From Old French speculation (French: spéculation), from Late Latin speculātiōnem, from Latin speculātiō.

LATIN
peculium
1. The savings of a son or a slave, with the father's or master's consent; a little property or stock of one's own.
2. A special fund for private and personal uses.
Etymology: From a Proto-Indo-European root peḱu- ‎(“livestock, domestic animals”), whence also pecus ‎(“sheep, cattle”).

pecus
1. Sheep
2. Cattle
3. Livestock
Etymology: Derived from pecū, from Proto-Indo-European peḱu- ‎(“livestock, domestic animals”). Cognates include Sanskrit पशु ‎(páśu, “cattle”), Old Armenian ասր ‎(asr, “fleece”), Old Saxon fehu, Old English feoh, Gothic 𐍆𐌰𐌹𐌷𐌿 ‎(faihu), Old Norse fé, Swedish fä and Lithuanian pēkus ‎(“cattle”).

peculatus
Embezzlement of public money or property.
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so, this seems to have happened:
peḱu (पशु) >> savings/wealth >> property >> gambling >> embezzlement >> theft

"property is theft" seems to have roots older than karl marx, it would turn out...and public servants have been at it since time immemorial!

ah, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose :-)