Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Shakespeare: Business, Hording, Taxes, and Usury

Just when you thought there could not be more about Shakespeare, scholars are now focused on the evidence that he was a shrewd businessman. Not just in regards to his theater, but also in regards to grain. And though I don't know if he was a borrower, it turned how that he was a lender.

So we have Shakespeare the teacher, Shakespeare the actor, Shakespeare the poet, Shakespeare the businessman, and Shakespeare the lender.

How much this "new" information is being brought forth in order to try to bring Shakespeare down a few pegs, it's hard to tell. The assumption by most scholars is that market activity is morally degrading. If Shakespeare was (horror of horrors) not just a businessman, but a horder, a tax evader, and a lender at interest, how can we revere him?

It seems to me that this is prime fodder for literary scholars influenced by Austrian economics. We can use this information to see just how informed Shakespeare was in regards to business. And the reason Shakespeare was hording grain was, no doubt, because of the famines caused by the Little Ice Age. This would suggest, rather, Shakespeare was as wise in business as he was in his poetry. But that is the argument which needs to be made. Further, we can ask, too, if we see these elements in Shakespeare's works, and what they mean in that light. This is culture as spontaneous order influencing the contents of Shakespeare. This is what the Austrian school of economics can bring to bear.

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