“The Once-ler perceived a market opportunity, displayed extraordinary entrepreneurial spirit and proceeded to create an industry of Thneed manufacturing. His story exemplifies laissez faire economics and the potential of free market enterprise and what’s truly possible if government “stays out” of markets with needless regulations. So what went wrong?” In order to understand exactly the story of The Lorax as an allegory of economic principles you must understand in terms of different philosophy foundations, scarcity, uncertainty, interdependencies, and the duel nature of rights. Philosophy foundations are all based on making a choice in any given situation. In the story The Lorax by Dr. Seuss the two main characters, the Once-ler and the Lorax, had conflicting philosophical perspectives. The Lorax’s prevailing philosophical perspective is utilitarianism where the belief is “the greatest good for the greatest number.” That is, in order to seek a greater social good once must chose the course of action that results in the maximum amount of overall good, not only for one’s own good, but also for the good of others. More in depth analysis of this perspective shows that “morally appropriate behavior will not harm others, but instead increase happiness or ‘utility’” (Driver, History). The Lorax spoke up against the Once-ler only when he believed the Once-ler was shrinking the happiness that the Brown Bar-ba-loots, the Swomee-Swans, the Humming-Fish and himself, were experiencing in the environment around them from the Once-ler’s production of the Thneeds. The prevailing philosophical perspective of the Once-ler is egoism, that is, maximize one’s self-interest. In the story the Once-ler had been searching his entire life for trees such as the Truffula Trees to make something like the Thneeds that create business and money, which were all that he needs. The Once-ler didn’t care about the crummies in the tummies of the Brown Bar-ba-loots, or pollution that filled the air...
Cited: Driver, Julia, "The History of Utilitarianism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2009 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.),
V Pareto, Manuale d 'economia politico (Milan,1906) <http://www.wisdomsupreme.com/dictionary/pareto-optimality.php>
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