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Generosity and Miserliness

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Machiavelli writes in The Qualities of the Prince, that it is better to be a miser and slightly disliked for a while than to be generous and be liked for a while than hated. If you're a generous prince you can only be so for a short time before having to raise taxes and having people realize that you're not that generous in all reality. Once a prince gets a reputation for being hated he will feel any slight unrest of his people. On the other hand if a prince is miserly from the get go he will be received gratefully when he decides to be generous. Using this quality of miserliness he has the ability to expand and defend his kingdom and be ready for any unforeseen events without having to burden his people, which, in turn leads to economic growth.

Generosity done openly runs the risk of making the prince broke; a broke prince will have to raise his taxes in order to keep up his reputation for being generous. This tax raise will affect all but only benefit a few which, in turn, will ruin the prince by having him become hated by most of his subjects. The hatred that occurs from this will soon lead to an overthrowing/assassination of the prince if he doesn't soon change his ways. If the prince does abruptly chance his ways and becomes a miser; his subjects that benefited from his generosity will grow restless and the ones that didn't will despise the prince more.

Vanover 2

Machiavelli writes, "Ð' is very necessary to be thought generous." This statement is one of Machiavelli's reoccurring themes throughout the book of appearance vs. reality; the prince needs to have everyone think he is very generous, which they will, when in fact he is being very stingy. His subjects won't realize it because they are not burdened with taxes and can use their money for other things which will help bolster the economy.

Miserliness will be looked down upon at first for the prince but soon his subjects will come to appreciate the prince's miserliness, his ability to expand the kingdom and to protect them without putting any strain on them. Machiavelli writes, "In our times we have not seen great deeds accomplished except by those who were considered miserly; all others were done away with." Showing Machiavelli's strong emphasis on the quality of being a miser, and why its more favorable to be a miser than generous.



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