Friday, December 10, 2004
Steven Landsburg on the beneficence of Scrooge
"Scrooge has been called ungenerous. I say that's a bum rap...OK ... I'm telling my kids right now that they're getting squat nothing for Christmas this year, because I'm being generous to the whole world instead.
"In this whole world, there is nobody more generous than the miser — the man who could deplete the world's resources but chooses not to. The only difference between miserliness and philanthropy is that the philanthropist serves a favored few while the miser spreads his largess far and wide.
"If you build a house and refuse to buy a house, the rest of the world is one house richer. If you earn a dollar and refuse to spend a dollar, the rest of the world is one dollar richer — because you produced a dollar's worth of goods and didn't consume them.
"Ebenezer Scrooge lowered interest rates ... Though Dickens might not have recognized it, the primary moral of A Christmas Carol is that there should be no limit on IRA contributions."