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Fun on Friday: Economics in One Song

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I love music. A good song can comfort, inspire or motivate.  There are a lot of really good songs out there. I found one the other day. I’ll get to that in a minute. But first, I have to say there are also some real duds.

I’m not just talking about boring bubble gum pop or bro-country. That’s a matter of style, and I guess some people like that stuff.  I don’t understand why, but who am I to criticize? After all, music taste is subjective.

But there are some lyrics that are objectively bad.

How about this brilliance from Des’ree?

I don’t want to see a ghost, it’s a sight that I fear most, rather have a piece of toast, watch the evening news. Life. Oh life. Oh life. Oh life. Doo doo doo doo.”

I confess; I don’t really want to see a ghost. But I don’t really want to see doo-doo either.

How about this one from Snap?

I’m serious as cancer when I say: rhythm is a dancer.”

Mmm… OK.

One more — this one from Donna Summer.

Someone left the cake out in the rain ! I don’t think that I can take it ’cause it took so long to bake it . And I’ll never have that recipe again … Oh, no!”

Oh no! indeed.

I’m sorry if feel like you lost some IQ points reading that brilliance. I’m so sorry, in fact, I’m going to make it up to you.

I ran across a song this week that actually teaches economics. And the music is pretty solid too – in my never to be humble opinion.

The song is called “Invisible Hand.” If you are familiar with Adam Smith, you immediately get the reference.

Tom Mullen wrote the song. I’ve known Tom for a while. He’s a libertarian author, (definitely worth following on Twitter) and of course,  also a musician. According to his bio, he’s been making music for over 30 years. During the 1990s, he was lead singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter for The Skeptics, an alternative power pop band that enjoyed regional acclaim and CMJ charting. Tom has opened shows for national acts including The Tubes and 10,000 Maniacs. He recently finished up a full-length CD titled “Into the Twilight” and plans to release it to radio in January 2021.

Now, I have to admit. I was a little skeptical about a song inspired by Adam Smith. There’s a lot of ways that could go wrong. But Tom knocked it out of the park.

Here are the lyrics.

Everybody wants to change the world,

There’s so much that they want to do.

They tell us all we’ve got to get together

But I wonder if they’ve thought that through.

They say a central plan is what we need

To overcome all this thoughtless greed.

 

All for one and one for all,

We have to have a single mind.

They say we can’t pursue our separate interests

If we don’t want people left behind.

I’m here to tell you that it just ain’t true.

We help each other when we don’t mean to.

 

Chorus

That’s what we call the invisible hand,

Something no politician understands.

Leave it up to supply and demand

And follow the golden rule.

 

There’s no such thing as a “common good.”

Everybody’s got a different way

To figure out what will make them happy.

It’s not for someone else to say.

That’s ok, you can leave them be.

They’ll help more people if they’re just set free.

 

Chorus

That’s what we called the invisible hand,

Long before Summers, Friedman, Keynes or Rand.

No economic program ever planned

Comes close to the good it can do.

 

Middle

What I’m telling you is nothing new;

It just isn’t what you want to hear.

But free your mind from thinking red or blue;

Let go of all that instilled fear

 

Don’t believe so-called “public servants

‘Cause they’re all out for themselves, too.

Anything they take from someone else,

They also take away from you.

Don’t believe them; there ain’t nothing free,

You’re better off with your liberty

 

Chorus

Just leave it up to the invisible hand,

There’s no better way to serve your fellow man.

Trade in peace and at no one’s command,

See that your rulers fall,

That’s what will save us all.

You have to admit, that’s way better than this jewel by Janet Jackson.

My swag is serious, I’m heavy like a first-day period.”

Eww!

Lord knows we need some economic education in this country. It’s pretty cool that Tom has figured out a way to package some economic truth into a song. A lot of people who would never pick up “Economics in One Lesson” will listen to a catchy tune. I mean, for goodness sake, they’ll listen to Madonna tell them, “I don’t like cities, but I like New York. Other places make me feel like a dork.”

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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About The Author

Michael Maharrey is the managing editor of the SchiffGold blog, and the host of the Friday Gold Wrap Podcast and It's Your Dime interview series.
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