Revenue, Metrology, and Casks
This chapter examines issues relating to metrology and the state. A uniform system of taxation meant accounting for foreign and domestic customary variations in weights, measures, and containers. As a result, the state's revenue activities gradually impinged upon the diversity of British and colonial metrological practices and containers/packaging, as it tried to recast such things to aid its own activities. Measurement was not the primary issue, rather, it was the fact that it was a state-defined version — increasingly alienated from the object being gauged — being implemented over local versions that really rattled dispersed communities. The state, after all, was hardly the most trusted agglomeration of institutions. Everyday folk may have been suspicious of state approaches to quantification, but they themselves lived by their own version, dominated by a local notion of a ‘just measure’.
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