Don Quixote, herald of patriotic essences, has been devotedly read and reinvented generation after generation. Likewise, Cervantes and his time have been studied until exhaustion by all kinds of scholars prepared to snatch a key from the grave of the nobleman from La Mancha, which could explain the destiny of Spain. In the following pages, the text will not be interpreted from the point of view of economics. Since the works of Piernas Hurtado to this very year of the celebration of the centenary, a fair amount of essays have been produced from that perspective. An alternative analysis is proposed here which, starting with the School of Salamanca and going through Arbitrismo, Enlightenment and the liberal economic historiography, ends at «the time of Pierre Vilar». At the end of the journey one shouldn't be disappointed at verifying that «all depends on the colour of the glass you look through at this matter». The advances in optics have adjusted the distortions caused by faulty lenses and have hence brought different points of view closer together. Today there is considerable agreement amongst scholars.