In Coriolanus, Menenius Agrippa extemporizes on an ancient version of modern day trickle-down economics. In his extended metaphor, Menenius compares the digestive and circulatory systems of the body to the economics of upper-class Romans massing wealth and food for their benefit, which he claims eventually circulates out to the masses for their benefit. The hungry poor are more persuaded by their empty stomachs than by Menenius’s intellectual reasoning and promises. Shakespeare’s version of the “income inequality” is expressed by the First Roman Citizen in his railing against the upper 1% who possess all the wealth. This grievance and Menenius Agrippa’s “trickle-down” response resonates today.
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