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Dickens' the Christmas Carol and 19th Ð'-Century British Society

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Dickens' The Christmas Carol and 19th Ð'-century British society

Dickens' The Christmas Carol is known as a cute exaltation of the Christmas Ð''spirit' of charity and love for our fellow man. Almost everyone growing up as a kid has read or seen some kind of version of The Christmas Carol during the holidays in the month of December. It is a story about a tightfisted lonely man known as Scrooge who learns to give and receive love which I think we would all agree is more than appropriate for the season. But Dickens' story has more meaning and as you get deeper into the story you learn that there is a dark reflection on a changing society

The economic theory embedded in The Christmas Carol by Dickens' is one of hardships and poor times like the British society in the 19th century. Life was hard in Dickens' England. The Poor Laws relegated debtors and the jobless to prisons or workhouses where families were separated. They were fed harsh diets designed to sustain them, barely. Children were 'apprenticed' to industries where they became a source of cheap labor. Examples of this,

was the Cratchit family which was a poor family who could barely afford dinner for Christmas and the details in the story about how people lived during that time. There was basically a utilitarianism philosophy, which argued that people didn't enjoy basic rights, and so the object of the Poor Laws was to make the workhouses so awful that any kind of private menial labor would be an improvement. But many Englishmen chose begging or a life of crime instead. The economic theory of this time period is known to favor the views of Thomas Malthus, who a pessimist who described economics as the dismal science.

There were several economic/social relationships described in the story. Many of them related to Scrooge due to the fact that Scrooge was the man in the story who was very wealthy but didn't share his money with anyone in the society and had no Christmas spirit. An example of this in the story is when Scrooge refuses to assist the charitable businessmen, asking instead, "Are there no prisons? And...workhouses?" or when he comments to the businessman's reply that the poor would rather die than go to a workhouse, saying, "If they would rather die...they had better do it, and




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