ELA 12: 6.2 Some Thoughts About the Poor and Impoverished

Understanding Dickens means diving into a little economic theory. Don't worry, it's mostly harmless.

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LiteratureBritish Literature

Transcript

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lived through in the 19th century it really helps to understand the ideas of

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the so called father of economics, Adam Smith. one of his biggest ideas was that [Dickens himself pictured]

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self-interest is one of the most important forces in a healthy economy. as

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might fly in the face of what generations of kindergarten teachers

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have taught about the wonders of sharing. but Smith wasn't advocating greed

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exactly, even if it was kind of good. rather he thought that self-interest in [man smiles holding money]

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moderation could serve as a corrective force. for instance consider a vendor who

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makes and sells clocks. if they're really greedy

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they'll just rush through the manufacturing process the same time

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charge huge fees so that they can make as much money as possible. how could that

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ever go wrong? customers act based on self-interest. few

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people would be willing to pay exorbitant prices for clocks, especially [woman holds shirt for sale]

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if they're poorly made and break almost immediately. a broken clock might be

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Right twice a day ,but that's not exactly a great selling point. well as a

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consequence the self-interest of the seller and the customer must find some

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sort of balance where the products are made at good enough quality to attract

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customers ,and sold at reasonable enough prices so that no one feels like they're [customer and manufacturer discuss product]

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being ripped off. well Smith also believed that the more trade that occurs

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the stronger the economy will be. which produces greater individual wealth. and

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we can see how this at work if we picture what had happened if everyone

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had to make everything they needed to live that'd mean making your own clothes

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food paper so lightbulbs medicine etc etc and it gets really tiresome really [people sew garments]

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quickly. however if someone decided to specialize , by only making soap well

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they could sell their soap and just buy all that other stuff. you know

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who would ever want to give up making lightbulbs in their spare time? but that

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we kind of see the attraction. well this specialization also means the

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soap person can make more soap more efficiently, [soap being made]

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since they're trying to make dozens of kinds of things every day. this means

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there will be more soap though soap prices can decrease and more people will

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have more money left over which luckily for Smith is just what he predicted. when

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we put these two big ideas together we get a picture of economics that works

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without any need for government interference. as long as sellers and

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customers keep on following their natural self-interest both trade and [government building pictured]

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individual wealth will just keep increasing and increasing as if the

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economy were guided by a benevolent invisible hand. of course that hand is

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very very invisible to all the poor people and Dickens fiction. don't

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literally mean that but man what a literal invisible and really spiced up Oliver [Dickens characters pictured]

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twist.