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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

By Word of Mouse (1954)

A short cartoon celebrates mass production

This Looney Tunes cartoon from 1954, “By Word of Mouse,” stars everyone's favorite puddy tat, Sylvester, hunting for supper in the form of three mice who are discussing, believe it or not, the economics of mass production and mass consumption. Sylvester's interruptions prevent the lesson from dominating this short cartoon, but there's still enough economic content to please the fans of freedom and flourishing.

By Word of Mouse (1954) from Drunkeynesian on Vimeo.

Hans from the old country visits his city-slicker cousin, Willie, who teaches Hans everything he knows about the capitalist system. When Hans finds Willie's explanations less than lucid, the two seek the guidance of a university mouse whose economics lectures are conducted on the run from the university cat.

The first of three Warner Brothers cartoons on economic subjects underwritten by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation — followed by “Heir-Conditioned” and “Yankee Dood It” — “By Word of Mouse” is a 20th-century update to the Aesop fable “The City Mouse and the Country Mouse.”


  • The Freeman is the flagship publication of the Foundation for Economic Education and one of the oldest and most respected journals of liberty in America. For more than 50 years it has uncompromisingly defended the ideals of the free society.