Economic Theory in Liturature?


Good old Terry Pratchett. The local library near me now has an abysmal selection of his books, mainly because they categorize them as young adult and therefore only buy the ones that aren’t going to scare the parents. He was a wise man and will be missed. Another old post that I’m pushing through.

I do love a good book, as evidenced by the number of book reviews that I’ve posted here. One of my favorite authors is Terry Pratchett. He’s a crack up. His books, while technically fantasy and set on some sort of odd parallel universe where the world is flat and on the back of four elephants standing on the back of giant sea turtle, is mostly social commentary. Usually it’s just good for a laugh, but in one of his books I was reading the other day (Men At Arms) a particular passage stuck out to me:

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thing that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while a poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of social-economic unfairness.

Vimes is, in this book, Captain of the Night Watch, basically the night shift of the city cops. He is not a stupid man. He gets how things work. Such as the boot theory. And I have to agree. Think about it. If you can afford to buy you, or your child, a air of tennis shoes for $100 that will last all year, or longer, then you are in better shape than the person down at Wal-Mart putting down $20 every three months for a new pair because the soles wear out, or because the toes get holes. Same goes for everything.


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