Scrooge and economics

Chris Barat kimba_1962 at
Mon Dec 8 04:50:45 CET 2008

  Larry Giver wrote:

<<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 money.
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 

This is exactly the reason why I originally posted the article!  I had 
no particular political point to make, I was simply amazed and intrigued 
by the use of Scrooge in this manner.  In my mind, it ranks right up 
there with Barks' "economic" stories as an imaginative use of Scrooge in 
an economic context.

Chris Barat
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