December 31, 2017 by JImbo
Since we’re all familiar with the basics of the tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge, let me cut to the chase. This tale is not an attack on capitalism.
It’s a celebration of liberty.
However, to get to that conclusion you have to realize what is really going on in the story from the perspectives of those involved. First off, Bob Crachit is NOT POOR.
I know that’s hard to believe, but the “15 shillings” he makes a week is about $800 or so today. In a year he grosses about $40,000 a year.
That’s hardly “poor.”
I can’t call $20 an hour poor.
Middle class yes, but not “destitute” by itself.
However, Mr. Crachit has SIX children. That is twice as many mouths to feed as what we consider a “normal” nuclear family today of four today. He also has a sick child, although medical care was relatively cheap back then…. since there were only so many treatments available. You couldn’t run a battery of expensive tests because they didn’t exist.
The problem we have run into isn’t that Bob Crachit isn’t paid enough. I think $20 an hour is quite fair. The problem is that he has more expenses.
The crux of the issue of people blaming Scrooge for Bob Crachit’s plight is how different groups see social responsibility. The “social justice” view is that Scrooge must pay “a living wage for Crachit to feed his family.”
However, the TRADITIONAL view of PERSONAL responsibility is that Scrooge is trading Crachit for work. Crachit has worked for Scrooge for years. They have a personal, business relationship.
When Crachit started working for Scrooge years ago, he agreed to pay him a set amount of money for a set amount of work. Scrooge was trading money for work.
When it was Crachit and his wife, then it was a LOT of money for the two of them to live on. They they had two kids. Now they had the same money for four people.
Then they had four MORE kids, so now it’s EIGHT people living on what TWO people lived on just a few years before.
However, has the amount of work done by Crachit increased? If not, then why does Scrooge now HAVE to pay Crachit more? Scrooge didn’t TELL Crachit to have six kids. To him he is still getting the same work for the same money.
It’s actually UNFAIR to force Scrooge to pay for any life choices that Crachit makes. It doesn’t matter if it’s more kids or it’s a bigger or house or jewelry for his wife. The point is that Scrooge is not responsible for Crachit’s life, and Crachit NEVER says he should be.
That’s the amazing thing. People keep “white knighting” for Crachit, defending his “right” to a “fair wage”l but in the story Bob Crachit NEVER criticizes his employer. He doesn’t say it’s “unfair.”
Crachit simply accepts the reality of things. He’d LIKE more money, but he realizes his good fortune. He HAS six kids, which means the usual THREE kids have NOT died in childhood. His problem is that his children didn’t die and his family is healthy. Living, healthy kids eat more.
His hardship is only temporary. Once the children grow up and move out, he will have plenty of money. They will go out and work and help support him in old age (as was the tradition) so he just has to get through this unlikely good fortune.
What does Scrooge do? He has a religious experience that he should be more “Christian” and nicer to his fellow man. He VOLUNTARILY goes out and spends his own money to feed the family for Christmas.
The government doesn’t make him do that.
He’s not taxed higher.
He doesn’t do it out of a belief in “Commumism” or “Social Justice.”
He just realizes he wants to be a good employer, good neighbor and good friend. Rewarding a loyal employee and helping your neighbor is not just the “nice” thing to do, it makes logical sense. He has no kids to take care of him in his old age, and he wants Crachit to run the business and support him in his old age.
Who says the “ghosts” are real? They could just be Scrooge’s subconscious in a dream. He realizes he’s missing out on having his OWN family.
Scrooge is about ready to retire. He wants Crachit to buy into the business. Scrooge then gets a successor and a “family” to be a part of. There was no social security or medicare. Your family WAS your retirement plan.
If you think of things in 1843 terms, it makes perfect sense.