Full Article: Debts, Bastiat and modern economics
By: Alasdair Macleod
There is a well-worn conundrum told about a stranger, who walks into the hotel in a remote, sleepy village in Mexico, and reserves a room for the night, paying 1,000 pesos in advance. The innkeeper rejoices at this unexpected turn of events, for the village is remote, few people have any reason to go there, and there is very little money. The innkeeper goes to the village butcher, to whom he owes 1,000 pesos, and discharges his debt. The butcher takes the 1,000 pesos and pays it to the farmer, who supplies him with his meat for which he owes the same amount. The farmer hands this money over to Maria, which he in turn owes for her services. Maria, who is the entertainment centre for the village’s men, then goes to the innkeeper and pays off her bar bill, incurred as a necessary expense of her business, and which, as you might have guessed amounts to 1,000 pesos.
Finally, the stranger returns, tells the innkeeper his plans have changed, and demands his 1,000 pesos back. He gets his money, the innkeeper, butcher, farmer and Maria have cleared their debts, and life in this backwater is all fine and dandy.
Full Article: Debts, Bastiat and modern economics
By: Alasdair Macleod
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