Economics 101 from Adam Smith
On reaching the usual spot at the riverside, Juggernaut parked his car and came out lazily. Stretching his legs in preparation for a long walk along Missouri River, he spotted an old man walking slowly along the trail.
Just as a courtesy, Juggernaut said hi to the old man while walking passed him briskly.
“Good evening,” said the old man in British accent.
Juggernaut slowed down to keep pace with the old man. “How things going,” said Juggernaut, that was his common salutation.
“Good and you.”
“I am fine, I am Juggernaut.”
“I am Adam Smith,” said the old man.
“Adam Smith, the Father of Economics?” Joked Juggernaut.
“Indeed,” said the old man.
“No, I am the reincarnation,” said Adam Smith.
Juggernaut looked at the old man more carefully; he looked frail but healthy, dressed properly. “You sure sound English.”
“I am Scottish.”
“O yeah,” “What you think of economy now?” asked Juggernaut.
“I don’t know, sure it stinks.”
“When politicians say, ours is the richest country in the world, you buy that?” asked Juggernaut.
“Not with 10 trillion dollars in debt.”
“How about the constant boasting that we are the most productive nation in the world?”
“Productivity in relation to what?” “If you take consumption into consideration, down here, people are not productive at all,” Adam Smith looked dejected.
“How a postal worker, a teacher, a doctor or an engineer here enjoy higher standard of living than their counterparts in other countries?” “They work hard in other countries and yet their standard of living is much lower than here.”
“You are right,” agreed Adam Smith.
“Well, you are the Father of Economics, you explain,” questioned Juggernaut.
“I can’t.” “I believe the US dollar is overpriced, consequently, we are buying goods and services cheaply from others.”
“You mean, we are cheating,” Juggernaut tried to draw a conclusion.
“In a way, yes,” “the dollar has to be devalued.”
“Then what happens to those that bought of our debt in trillions,“ reasoned Juggernaut.
“Well, if someone is stupid enough to buy our debt, they deserve whatever the outcome,” concluded Adam Smith.
“To what level we shall devalue the dollar?”
“To a level no country can export their cheap goods and services to America,” Adam Smith sounded confident.
“Then manufacturing becomes profitable again here,” said Juggernaut.
“You got that right.” Adam Smith kept walking slowly.
“Can it happen?”
“May be in the next century” Adam Smith was doubtful.
“Then what will happen?” Juggernaut looked anxious.
“Well son, what happened to Mayan, Indus Valley, Roman, British, Turkish and other cultures in the past?”
“They were perished.” Juggernaut replied like a school boy.
“It could happen here too.”
“Well, lucky me, I don’t live that long.” Juggernaut looked relieved.
“Are you not a Hindu?” Adam Smith caught Juggernaut off guard.
“Then, you will born again, remember your faith believes in reincarnation,” Adam Smith looked mischievous.
“True, but I may not born in America.”
“How you know that?
“Starting today I will be praying to all my three million gods to make China the place of my rebirth,” replied Juggernaut with a smart smile.
“Wishful thinking son, good luck.”
“What do you think of trickledown economics?” asked Juggernaut.
“It is a bunk created for rich to pay fewer taxes,” reasoned Adam Smith.
“What about supply-side economics then?”
“Rubbish.” “No society can flourish and happy when greater parts of its citizens are poor and miserable.” Adam Smith looked sad.
“You are asking awful lot of bloody questions in economics, son,” “have you taken any courses in economics?” Adam Smith looked straight into Juggernaut’s face.
“Yeah, I did, I got some C’s and some B’s and no D’s, and I am not lying sir.”
“Good, how you like your economics Professor?”
“He was good but then he left teaching for politics and made lots of money.”
“Good for him, I wish I did that in 1700’s but again in those days there wasn’t much money in politics but lots of sexual transgressions though.”
"I personally like sexual transgressions, sir."
“Well, son, I was a lifelong bachelor and I have no interest in women,” said Adam Smith reflectively playing with his silver beard.
“Lets change the subject, if you don’t mind sir.”
“Not at all,” replied Adam Smith politely.
“Who was your best buddy?”
“Certainly, David Hume,” replied Adam Smith.
“How about Samuel Johnson?”
“I hated his guts but I liked him too.”
“What you think about Benjamin Franklin?”
“A smart American, indeed,” replied Adam Smith with a smile.
“Well, can I call you Sir Adam?”
“I hate titles particularly the one you mentioned.”
“Then, let me address you as Acharya, then,” Juggernaut was respectful.
“I don’t know what the heck that word means, but it sounds good to me,” Adam Smith appeared happy with the title Acharya.
“Well, Acharya means a respectful teacher,” explained Juggernaut.
“Then, I would accept that.”
“Any advice from the Father of Economics for me on financial investments?” questioned Juggernaut.
“Son, if somebody approaches you with a promise that he can make money out of money, run fast,” advised Adam Smith.
“Thank you sir, it was nice talking to you, can I shake your hand, I will be honored,” Juggernaut was earnest.
“Sure, you can,” Adam Smith was obliged.
Juggernaut extended his hand to hold old man’s hand to shake only to feel empty. Then, he tried to touch his face and shoulders, nothing, there was no physical person.
“Acharya Smith, I don’t feel your body,” exclaimed Juggernaut.
“No, you don’t feel my body, it was just my spirit talking or what you people call Atman,” replied Adam Smith.
“What you mean, you people.”
“I am sorry, I meant the people from India,” replied Adam Smith apologetically.
“Are you saying that all along I was talking loud with myself,” Juggernaut felt stupid.
“Yes,” replied Acharya Smith.
“I wonder what people walking or biking pass me thought about me talking loudly to myself.” “I am sure they think I am crazy or nuts,” Juggernaut felt embarrassed.
“Do you care what people think about you? “ Acharya Smith questioned.
“That’s good, son,” said the vanishing voice.
“I better not tell this experience to my wife.” “The next thing you know, she will take the earliest appointment for me with a Psychiatrist and that is scary” thought Juggernaut loudly before driving back home.