The Poet as Economist:

Shelley’s Critique of Paper Money and the British National Debt

  • Paul A. Cantor
Keywords: Paper Money, National Debt, Private Property, Inflation, Rich and Poor, Free Market, Financial System


The author shows that although Shelley is taken as a “leftist”, the poet is not an enemy of capitalism, but of feudalism and mercantilism. Shelley advocated the abolition of government intervention in economy, and the implementation of free market to increase the welfare of England, reducing the gap between rich and poor. In addition, Shelley criticized the mercantilist government’s manipulation of the currency and the British national debt, as well as he supported full rights to property and inheritance. The author concludes that Shelley was much more a liberal than a socialist or proto-socialist.


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How to Cite
Cantor PA. The Poet as Economist:: Shelley’s Critique of Paper Money and the British National Debt. MisesJournal [Internet]. 2013Dec.1 [cited 2020Nov.23];1(2):603-20. Available from:
Culture and Freedom