in Journal

Notes: Haiku Economics

Will our successors, perhaps hundreds of years from now, better understand the link between art, life, emotion, and economics? This article on money, metaphor, and the invisible hand offers a hint at that possibility.

"If you were to trace the separation of art from life historically," says the poet Etheridge Knight in an interview, "you would trace it back to the Greeks when Plato and others made the 'head thing' the ideal... There was a separation between reason and emotion."


"Generally speaking, a people’s metaphors and figures of speech will come out of their basic economy," Knight continues:

"If somebody lives near the ocean and they fish, their language will be full of those metaphors. If people are farmers, they will use that kind of figure of speech. Metaphors are alive. When they come into being, they are informed by the politics and the sociology and the economy of now. That’s how language is."

That's how economic language is, too, but with a surprising difference. And this is where poets can help to fix the economy. It turns out that economic theory is overly dependent on fictional devices, whereas poetry, as Knight shows, trucks in the real.

Write a Comment