In Competition No. 3198, you were invited to supply an extract from a children’s book that is designed to explain economics to youngsters.
The seed for this challenge was former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’s Talking to My Daughter: A Brief History of Capitalism in which he uses the device of answering questions put by his young daughter to explain economics in a clear and engaging way. While his references ranged from The Matrix and Blade Runner to Sophocles and Frankenstein, you harnessed, among others, Dr Seuss, Lewis Carroll, Hilaire Belloc (who also wrote a primer on economics, Economics for Helen) and Eric Carle. Here’s Moray McGowan: ‘On Saturday, the Caterpitaller stripped the assets from a farm, two department stores, three mines, four retirement homes in Victorian mansions, five pension funds, and six gents outfitters on prime sites. That night he went to bed with a very full portfolio…’
The winners earn £30.
‘I say,’ called Julian to the kindly-looking farmer’s wife, ‘we’re camping nearby, and wondered if we could buy some provisions?’
‘Perhaps some eggs, and ham, and fresh apples?’ added Dick.
‘I’m starving!’ said George.
‘Woof,’ agreed Timmy.
‘Of course, my dears,’ trilled the jolly farmer’s wife. ‘You can have all that, and I can offer you a fresh pork pie, plus a lovely sponge cake made just this afternoon.’
‘That’s frightfully kind of you,’ said Julian, earnestly. He took out two shillings. ‘However, I really must insist that we pay you.’
‘Oh my dears!’ laughed the farmer’s wife, wiping her eyes. ‘This will cost you at least three sovereigns!’
‘How much?’ exploded George. ‘That’s daylight robbery!’
‘Well, you did say you were starving, my dear. And I don’t see another farm around here. When supply is limited, and demand is immediate, you get price inflation. This is a market economy.’
Matilda baked such splendid pies
That epicures would rhapsodise:
The sauce was rich, the price was fair
And people queued around the square
To buy a pie and then to scoff it,
So Matilda made a profit.
But then she spurned, despite dissuasion,
The supply/demand equation,
Bought her meat from somewhere nasty,
Slapped a pence on every pasty;
Veblen principles deserted,
Her demand curve turned inverted,
And her punters disembarked
For Mr Gregg, across the park,
Who, economically astute,
Made tasty pies, and loads of loot.
I had a little nest-egg
Nothing would it hatch
Until I tried a Ponzi
And none asked ‘Where’s the catch?’
The King of Spain’s daughter
Was paid at 8 per cent
Her Infantas and her Grandees
Thought I was heaven-sent
My nest-egg grew larger
When others heard their tales
Although the egg was empty
It fooled the Prince of Wales
I skipped to the Caymans
And to Tuvalu
Where Interpol and taxmen
Can’t catch you!
‘Deflation,’ said Eeyore gloomily.
‘Oh, do cheer up,’ said Piglet. ‘I say, haven’t your letters come on since your “A”.’
Eeyore had spelt out QUANTITATIVE EATING in sticks on the grass.
‘It means eating too much,’ explained Owl.
Everyone looked at Pooh.
‘Easing!’ said Piglet, jumping up and down. ‘Quantitative Easing.’
‘Oh,’ said Pooh.
‘Christopher Robin explained it to me,’ said Piglet. ‘It’s a party game. Everyone sits in a circle and one person takes everyone else’s pocket money. Then the others have to guess what happens next.’
‘What does happen next?’ said Pooh.
‘It’s a secret,’ said Piglet. ‘But everyone gets a prize of some more pocket money, to buy things with.’
‘What sort of things?’
‘Oh, I don’t know’, said Piglet. ‘Just things. Balloons.’
‘Balloons?’ said Eeyore. ‘You know what the trouble is with balloons?’
Everyone looked at Eeyore.
said the Cat in the Hat.
When you want something new
That’s Demand; I see that,
then make it, Supply it
and you pay me for
that thing that you wanted
and so I make more.
If stocks then run low
(that’s what Scarcity is)
they’re rarer, so prices
go up with a whizz.
You pay more but get it
and I make more more money
to do what I like with.
No. 3201: commercial gain
News that Salman Rushdie once wrote an Anchor butter commercial prompts me to invite you to submit advertising copy for the product of your choice in the style of a well-known author. Please email entries of up to 16 lines/150 words to email@example.com by midday on 24 May.
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