No. 24




Barataria, the Island of Wonders. Sancho Panza and the Art of Government *

15 December 2011


RiTo No. 24, 2011

In the second part of Cervantes’s famous novel about the adventures of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, the latter is appointed governor of the island Barataria.

For one week he – as judge and grantor of police mandates – beliefs in his qualities as an administrator. In the 20s of the last century the German-Argentinean utopian Silvio Gesell, who was minister of fi-nance during the Munich Revolution of 1919 for one week, revisits this picture of Barataria again, but without mentioning Cervantes to preach a financial industry without tax (demur-rage currency) as well as the abolition of landed property. Since then there have always been experiments with demurrage currency and community currency. Gesell’s son Carlos who lived in Argentina founded the bathing resort Villa Gesell after the Second World War and he tried to re-launch mandates in the manner of Sancho Panza (ban on playing and alcohol) – for vain in the end.

Full article in Estonian

*The essay is published in Estonian with the permission of the author. Translated from German by Krista Räni.
Quotes from the book: Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Teravmeelne hidalgo don Quijote La Manchast (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha). Tallinn: Eesti Raamat, I–II, 1987–1988, translator Aita Kurfeldt.