The Salesman’s Nightmare

In this week’s Takimag column, the good doctor considers questions related to economics and modern consumer societies.

I am a follower of the greatest economic thinker of all time, Mr. Micawber. It was he who discovered the law according to which to live within one’s means was the secret of happiness and to live beyond them was the secret of misery. To be able to follow this advice, however, one must be able to control and limit one’s wants, but in a modern consumer society, not to have indefinitely expanding wants is to be a bad, or at least an anti-economic, citizen. For if you are satisfied with what you already have, and realize that to have more will not bring you any greater happiness, you are the salesman’s nightmare.

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