Freeman

ARTICLE

The Dollar Scarcity or--The Universal Poultice

JULY 01, 1959 by H.P.B. JENKINS

Economist at Fayetteville, Arkansas

It was a summer evening

At story-telling time.

Old Kaspar settled in his chair

and sipped his rum-and-lime,

While Peterkin and Wilhelmine

Turned on the television screen.

 

They saw a dark and stormy coast

Where fog banks whirled and spun;

And multitudes, with faces turned

Toward the setting sun,

Stood holding out their pallid hands

Or fell in rows upon the sands.

 

The children turned the vision off

And ran to Kaspar’s side.
"Now tell us what ’twas all about,"

They both together cried;

"Now tell us what they did, and where,

And why those people fainted there!"

 

"It was the Dollar Scarcity,"

Said Kaspar with a sigh;

"For lack of dollars in their hands

Those people faint and die;

In palace ground or peasant shack

It strikes them down like Yellow Jack."

 

"Why don’t we give them dollars, then?"

Cried little Wilhelmine.

"We give them many billions, dear,
Of dollars long and green;

But still they wait on every shore

In hope that we will give them more."

 

"How will it end?" cried Peterkin.

"Will all of them be dead?" Old Kaspar took a sip of rum

And shook his snowy head; "We only hope the dollars last Until the dreadful plague is past."

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

July 1959

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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