Just once, I’d like to hear a corporate spokesperson when asked to defend the company’s profits respond like this: ‘We make high profits because consumers are wildly enthusiastic about our superior products at a price that provides value. We encourage all our competitors to try and match our performance. We encourage our customers to stay with us only as long as they are satisfied. If you are dissatisfied with some are of our performance, be it where we put our factories or how much we pay our workers or the prices we charge, we encourage you to start a rival enterprise and outperform us. We thank our customers for enjoying our products and allowing the current level of profit. We intend to use those profits to further improve our fine products and to reward our investors who took a chance on our risky venture. Thank you very much.’
That's something that I'd like to hear a Wal Mart spokesman say. Instead, those are the words of the character named Sam, a high school economics teacher, in Russell Roberts econonovel The Invisible Heart.
The book follows Sam and another high school teacher, and English teacher named Laura, from the time they meet at the beginning of the school year to the beginning of the following academic year. Sam is an unabashed believer in the ability of capitalism to promote the social good and Laura, well, isn’t. But they enjoy their discussions on all sorts of issues even though they differ in their opinions. There’s an interesting plot twist in the story, but I shan’t say anything more about this lest I give away the story. You'll have to read it if you want to see if Sam gets the girl.
This book is a fine read as a novel, even a romance novel. Romance and Economics? So much for the dismal science! It would also make a fine supplementary reading to a Principles of Microeconomics course and it contains several games that a teacher could employ in class to stimulate discussion. It also contains an appendix containing list of data sources and readings that Roberts draws from to tell his tale.
Russ Roberts is also a contributor to Café Hayek.