Economics and Poetry - Cotton and Corn: a Dialogue" by Thomas Moore

Topics: Economics, Mercantilism, International trade Pages: 5 (1911 words) Published: February 26, 2002
What really makes economics and society flow nicely together? Economics can be described as the social science that deals with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Society is described as the social relationships among us. The answer is always changing as well as the economical and sociological thoughts behind it as well. This paper will relay a couple economic views from the poem "Cotton And Corn: A Dialogue" by Thomas Moore (1779-1852), an Irish poet. Should people be allowed to trade with whomever they want to? We've been doing it for thousands of years. There should always be fare/free trade, even if the government manipulates it a little bit. If there is an unhappy consumer out there, there is at least one unhappy firm. People should be able to trade freely and hardly controlled by the government. Too much of the time the government regulates it too much, and we lose some of our free trade rights, as this poem illustrates. As François Quesnay believed the idea of "Laissez-Fair," the government should have very little control, if no control over the economy at all. The government will then regulate heavily, create high tariffs, embargoes, and other forms of monopoly to accumulate wealth. This poem was written about the famed Corn Laws that took place in England, that limited the trade of corn to other countries if international rates fell bellow a certain value. The government didn't want wealth to leave the country, as they stopped importing corn, wouldn't export their corn out, and monopolized peasants to buy the countries corn with a regulated price. This is third idea, is a form of mercantilism. Hoarding a countries wealth, and building up power. Thomas Moore addresses some of these views by introducing thoughts about fare trade, how the government can control/manipulate trade, and mercantilism, in his poem about the Corn Laws. The question is then, with all of this government supervision and control over trade, how do economies prosper and stay alive and well? One of many reasons that keep economies going is through fare trade. This poem deals with the unscrupulous Corn Laws (1689-1846); which deal with protecting English landholders by encouraging the export and limiting the import of corn when prices fell below a fixed point. The poem speaks of the greedy side of Squire Corn and the famished Poor Cotton. "Great Squire, if it isn't uncivil To hint at starvation before you, Look down on a poor hungry devil, And give him some bread, I implore you!" This line is Poor Cotton urgently begging Squire Corn to trade him some corn (food) for his fabric of cotton. Modern economics have implied that when there is at least one unhappy consumer, there is at least one unhappy firm. They're unhappy because there exists trade opportunities, and both sides would benefit. Squire Corn replies in the next stanza with this: "Low fellow, you've surely forgotten The distance between you and me!" We assume in this situation that these two firms (which would be separate countries) could cheaply and easily meet and bargain away any discrepancy, in between a willingness to accept and a willingness to purchase. The supply and demand mechanism is also relevant. There is such a high demand for food, that people are not getting enough or any, and are practically starving. Some countries depend on imported food, but specialize in other factors of production, such as textiles. "To expect that we, Peers of high birth, Should waste our illustrious acres, For no other purpose on earth Than to fatten curst calico-makers!" England is not accepting their textiles. The poor country doesn't have any wealth because they will not accept their textiles in trade for food. But there are many families and consumers in both markets producing textiles and corn, and needing both. No one individual will influence this market outcome though. The products are not identical, and there is a supply for both, and a demand. This...
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