Shire Country

The Moral Economy Of The Shire

Nathan Goldwag | Goldwag’s Journal On Civilisation | 31st May 2024

What sort of society would have made Tolkien's idyllic Shire life possible? It was “built out of an idealised version of rural English society”. Bilbo, Frodo, Merry and Pippin were probably members of the landed gentry, a “squirearchy” that wielded high levels of informal control over their community. The other Hobbits were likely tenant farmers or yeomen, small landholders who still depended on the gentry (4,100 words)

How Much Can You Really Learn About A Country By Visiting It?

Noah Smith | Noahpinion | 3rd June 2024

Not much, as it turns out. Tourists are misled about a country’s economy by the public infrastructure of its major cities. The people one can meet in a foreign land will be limited by language, class or cultural orientation. Stereotypes often distort perceptions, for example, the notion that Westerners obey their internal consciences — guilt — while the Japanese are motivated by social censure — shame (3,100 words)

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