Economics education in Scrooge comics
lgiver at pacbell.net
Sat Dec 6 20:54:49 CET 2008
On Nov. 30 Leo Schulte asserted that if more Americans and Europeans read
Scrooge comics, our economies would be in better shape. Certainly my early
education in macroeconomics came mostly from Scrooge/Barks comics; I had no
course in economics until college.
Consider WDC144: Scrooge hires Donald to spend several cubic meters of
cash that won't fit in the money bin. They travel the country spending the
cash, much of it on luxury items. We learned that this stimulates the
economy resulting in increased income for businesses---in particular,
Scrooge's businesses, and he has several more large sacks of money waiting
for him at the end of the story.
Now recall that Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke claimed that if all
else failed, the Federal Reserve could stimulate the economy out of a
recession by printing money and dropping it from helicopters. Some of his
critics have given him the nickname "Helicopter Ben". Perhaps relevant
today, something similar in the extreme happened in WDC126, when a tornado
scattered Scrooge's 3 cubic acres of cash all over the countryside. This
time there's too much stimulus: lots of people pick up millions each, and
perceiving themselves wealthy they quit their jobs. Thus the economy comes
to a sudden halt, and there's not much that the money can buy.
In fact, in this very story Scrooge states (page 3 panel 4) "I know that
money isn't worth anything!" That's quite a statement from a character
who's spent his life relentlessly acquiring more and more of it. But I
recall that about 2 months ago the Pope said something very similar about
Other Scrooge stories have lessons about the law of diminishing returns,
and the correlation or lack of correlation of wealth and happiness. And we
who buy comic books have certainly learned about inflation. They cost a
lot more than the 10 cents price that used to be on the front cover.
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