A Christmas Carol: The Economics of Efficiency and Grace

analytical Essay
1111 words
1111 words

The leading character in A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, has become an icon of what it means to lack a Christmas spirit. Ebenezer Scrooge possesses a title much like “The Grinch”; his name conjures the thought of a man who through stinginess steals away happiness from everyone around him. Scrooge’s foil in the story, Bob Cratchit, characterized as a man of humble means, possesses an unyielding spirit for the Christmas season. Dickens’s religious readers could describe Cratchit as full of Christian charity, while they would call Scrooge a man untouched by biblical principles. However, the distinction between Cratchit and Scrooge’s Christianity cannot be cut so clearly. The biblical principles surrounding diligence and fair wages align with economic values of efficiency and mutually beneficial trade; however, the Bible also requires much more of employers who must combine justice and mercy, these requirements clash with every rule of free trade. Bob Cratchit, the ideal worker, who has a heart of contentment and generosity; this is what Dickens wants his readers to believe, but a closer look shows Cratchit hardly pulls his weight. When Scrooge hired Cratchit, they both agreed to the wages Cratchit would be paid. Since neither side entered the agreement by force, their agreement must have been mutually beneficial. Cratchit traded his services for Scrooge’s wages and both benefitted from specialization, Scrooge from Cratchit’s clerk skills and Cratchit from Scrooge’s brilliant accounting. Matthew 20 tells the story of workers who agree to a set wage, but then complain about their pay when more employees are hired and paid twice as much for the time they work. Cratchit, like the workers, agreed to the terms of hire because he fou... ... middle of paper ... him more so Cratchit can raise his family out of poverty. The biblical principles of diligence couple uniquely with the requirements of providing for the poor. Evaluated on different standards, Scrooge may not be entirely the amoral business man Dickens presents him as, nor Cratchit the inculpable clerk the who Scrooge sorely takes advantage of. Works Cited "Bible Gateway." A Searchable Online Bible in over 100 Versions and 50 Languages. N.p., n.d. Web. Nov. 2013. . Dickens, Charles. A Christmas Carol. Gadshill Edition ed. London: Chapman and Hall, 1897. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library. 1993. Web. Nov. 2013. .

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the bible encourages workers to earn their wages, but it requires employers to consider the alien and poor of by allowing the less fortunate to glean their fields.
  • Analyzes how scrooge has built a successful business with clients who trust his discretion with their investments. the parable in luke 7 encourages lenders to act mercifully towards their debtors when they default on loans.
  • Analyzes how scrooge & marley runs at maximum efficiency; the clerk's salary represents his exact economic value and shows how much employers are willing to pay.
  • Analyzes how ebenezer scrooge's title conjures the thought of a man who through stinginess steals away happiness from everyone around him, while bob cratchit possesses an unyielding spirit for the christmas season.
  • Explains that bible gateway is a searchable online bible in over 100 versions and 50 languages. dickens, charles. a christmas carol.
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