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Sat May 23, 2015, 09:01 AM

The Boots theory of socio-economics

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that'd still be keeping his feet dry in ten years' time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes 'Boots' theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

(Terry Pratchett, Men-at-Arms) (emphasis in original)

IMO, one of the most pithy explanations of real-person economics ever.

-- Mal

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Reply The Boots theory of socio-economics (Original post)
malthaussen May 2015 OP
CTyankee May 2015 #1
SharonAnn May 2015 #2
unrepentant progress May 2015 #3

Response to malthaussen (Original post)

Sat May 23, 2015, 01:10 PM

1. Plus, of course, it supports the market for cheap boots that wear out fast ...

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Response to malthaussen (Original post)

Sat May 23, 2015, 05:56 PM

2. Plus, of course. The man with the good boots was paid more so he could afford to economize.

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Response to malthaussen (Original post)

Mon May 25, 2015, 08:27 PM

3. IMHO everybody gets Pratchett wrong

They think he's just writing satire.

Well, he is that, and primarily so at first, but when you look between the lines, and take his work as a whole, he's laying out a fundamentally liberal humanist vision of what society should be like, and how we can get there from here. This is most evident in his young adult Tiffany Aching novels.

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