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Shall we dance? A Shakespearian reading of the subprime crisis

Yoann Bazin (ISTEC, Paris, France)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




This paper aims to open a dialogue between academic accounts of the subprime crisis and The Life of Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare.


Andre Orlean’s analysis of the crisis published in 2009 is closely examined to trace the ways in which it echoes this seventeenth-century play on issues of debt, gift, trust and belief.


Shakespeare’s play provides an astonishingly relevant description that can account for and provide a new reading of most of Orlean’s (2009) detailed and in-depth academic analysis.


Following the chronology of a literary piece, this article opens a dialogue with the academic literature to allow for gaining a particular perspective, namely, beyond specific elements, the underlying dynamics of the subprime crisis are sadly classic in terms of trust and beliefs. As we will see, Shakespeare had already seen everything […].



The author thanks Maja Korica for her benevolent, yet rigorous, remarks and suggestions.


Bazin, Y. (2014), "Shall we dance? A Shakespearian reading of the subprime crisis", Society and Business Review, Vol. 9 No. 3, pp. 310-319.



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