Skip to comments.Charles Dickens' Ebenezer Scrooge Was The Ultimate Job Creator
Posted on 07/18/2013 7:58:36 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
There is probably no figure more emblematic of the greedy, penny-pinching capitalist than Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickenss A Christmas Carol. Dickens is often seen as the chronicler of the injustices of the Industrial Revolution, including businessmens cavalier attitude toward the welfare of their employees. Yet, Scrooge, like many of Dickens other archetypal characters, was a product of an earlier era, and in that context merits some defense.
By the tales account, Scrooge was honest and frugalperhaps excessively so. But theres something missing from Dickens picture. The Scrooges of the world were the stewards of the scarce capitalthe seed corn prosperityof that earlier Industrial Age. Ensuring that it was used wisely and honestly was critical to the wealthier England in which Dickens lived.
In todays much wealthier age, Scrooges in the Dickensian sense are rare. Yet, some do persist in many of the worlds poorer tribal enclaves. In fact, I knew one such Scrooge in my childhood home in Louisianas St. Tammany Parish. The community, Sixth Ward, was an isolated rural community some 50 miles north of New Orleans. It was a closely knit community with a few major families and a small number of non-native residents. Like many tribal communities, Sixth Ward enjoyed a strong sense of egalitarianism based on kinship.
That communitarian spirit extended even to my family, even though we were outsiders with no local family connections. Moreover, we were Catholics in a community where everyone else was Evangelical Christian. Still, our family quickly put down roots. My Daddy was the lockmaster at Lock # 1 on the Pearl River Corps of Engineers system, which brought him into contact with many of the locals. When my mother died, women from throughout the community brought us hot dishes and provided solace.
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It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest
Henry Ford versus Scrooge, before Christ’s birthday influenced him.
I wonder if Scrooge went out of business after the change, or if his personal life, and his work atmosphere and conditions, and his spiritual self improved.
Greater prosperity for the economy as a whole and a higher standard of living for the average wage earner is created by capital accumulation and technological advancement.
By the tales account, Scrooge was honest and frugalperhaps excessively so. The Scrooges of the world were the stewards of the scarce capitalthe seed corn prosperity
The way to begin increasing capital accumulation is for individuals to spend less and save and invest more. The way to increase technological advancement is to use the increase in capital accumulation to increase capital intensiveness. Increased capital intensiveness is the basis for the increased utilization of technological advances.
Old Fezziwick was a better employer though.
I imagine “after the change,” as you put it, Scrooge’s Counting House was a lot more like the one his Nephew worked at: More prosperous, well lit and warm.