Monday, May 5, 2014

Economics as a Science of Choice and Literary Production

If economics is a science of choice, there is certainly a strong argument for using it to understand literary production -- or artistic production of any kind. When an artist creates a work of art, that artist has to make a variety of choices. Since this is a literature blog, let us focus on literature.

What sorts of choices does a poet, for example, make?

The poet will have to decide what sort of rhythm in which to write -- whether that rhythm be a formal rhythm or a "natural" rhythm. Will there be rhyme? If so, what kind of rhyme? If end rhyme is used, what rhyme scheme? Will it be formal verse? If so, what form?

What will be the poem's topic? How will the poet deal with the topic? What images and ideas will the poet deal with? What words will be used? What effects does the poet want to create?

The poet will be making all of these choices. Some of these choices will be made consciously. Some will be made in light of the language the author is using. Some will be made in light of the culture in which the author is writing (sometimes in conscious opposition; sometimes in unconscious cooperation). Some will be made with the conscious use of rules; some will be made using the kind of tacit knowledge that comes about from writing many poems (if the poet has been writing poetry for many years and has internalized the rules).

The poet will use tacit knowledge, personal knowledge, local knowledge, cultural knowledge, knowledge of the language, historical knowledge, literary knowledge, etc. All of these kinds of knowledge will contribute to the creation of the exact poem(s) the poet will write. This makes him akin to a Hayekian/Kirznerian entrepreneur.

If we view economics as a science of choice, much opens up in its use in understanding the creation of art.

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