King John (HarperPerennial Classics) by William Shakespeare

By William Shakespeare

Treachery and betrayal are the order of the day throughout the reign of King John of britain (1199-1216.)

After he's compelled to acknowledge the illegitimate son of his useless brother, King Richard I, King John reveals himself less than siege through the French king, Philip.

Dealing with topics of royal legitimacy, succession, and the tenuous nature of diplomatic relationships, King John parallels matters prevelant in Shakespeare's personal society on the time.

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Additional resources for King John (HarperPerennial Classics)

Sample text

29 The work of the invisible hand may not be detected at all by the individual, unless he already possesses the theoretical knowledge to look for it. To the knowledge which is inaccessible because of the subject’s spatial location, then, we must add the knowledge which is inaccessible because of its temporal location; for the harmonizing effects of the invisible hand only emerge after a delay, and are never visible at the moment of their causation. The individual can never see the ultimate effects of his actions, and the sovereign can never separate the particular cause of any social effect from the impenetrable web of individual causes.

Whereas the individual is set free to pursue his interest by the awareness that though he is ignorant of the consequences of his actions they will benefit others as well as himself, the sovereign’s awareness of his ignorance of his subjects’ self-interest is what keeps him from direct action. The individual creates wealth, while the sovereign sees but cannot micromanage the aggregate improvement that results. In effect, the sovereign’s perspective – impotent but all-knowing – becomes a stand-in for divine omniscience.

Smith was not the first to construct an economic system based on this kind of holistic mapping, an advance that is usually credited to the French physiocrats. But when Smith encountered their economic writings during his trip to France in the 1760s, he was perhaps more receptive to them because of his earlier study of mechanistic cosmology from the Greeks to Newton, and his partiality to the Cartesian theories of matter which influenced the physiocrats. Descartes hypothesized that the physical universe was full of subvisible particles, or ‘ether’, which flowed around objects in a series of vortices, and accounted for motion without recourse to a distressing ‘gap’ between cause and effect.

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