Thanksgiving: An Economics Lesson

Thanksgiving: An Economics Lesson

November 24th, 2010

Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson, FloydReports.com

Every   fall in my Econ 101 course, during the last class period  before we  part  for Thanksgiving, I share a lesson from early American  history.  It is  particularly timely, because it deals with those we  credit with  the  first American Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims of Plymouth  Colony.

Upon   arriving in New England, the Pilgrims shared “their meat,  drink,   apparel and all provisions” in common. As inevitably happens  under   collective ownership, the incentive to work disappeared. The grim   result  was food shortages, hunger, starvation; indeed, half of those   who  sailed on the Mayflower perished.

With  the colony’s  survival in question, the survivors reintroduced  the  principle of  private property. Each family was assigned a plot of  land.  They  adopted the apostle Paul’s dictum, “if any would not work,  neither   should he eat” (II Thessalonians 3:10). Thereafter, food  production   soared and the Pilgrims prospered.

The  political-economic lesson  here is obvious, and I won’t belabor  it.  Instead, let’s consider  another important lesson imparted by this   historical episode: We  humans need to be challenged.

Read more.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: