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Citibank's chief economist, on today's government shutdown:

"The world's largest economy looks like the Land of Oz run by munchkins," Willem Buiter, Citigroup's global chief economist, told CNBC after the U.S. government shutdown began.

Allow me to say, alas, if only.

I have, of course, been one of the loudest and fiercest critics of Ozma, the girl Ruler of Oz, carefully documenting all of the numerous historically attested examples of what I have termed "Ozma fail," including, but not limited to, actions leading to gross injustice, kidnapping, an attack on the Emerald City, war or genocide. So I think I cannot be accused of bias when I say both "if only" and "how unfair," or of gross partisanship if I take up cudgels in her defense.

Oz, after all, is arguably one of the most successful economies in the known or unknown universe, so wealthy that it can even offer a free suite of rooms, elegant food, and free jewels to American hobos who just happen to be passing by. The Emerald City also provides lavish parties and entertainment at no cost to the local population. Areas of the kingdom suffering economic distress can apply for and receive economic assistance from the central government in the Emerald City. The result is an economy that is the marvel of the magical world. I can think of only one negative: the country has been so successful that it has embarked on an ethically questionable colonization program, though Oz's ambassadors assure the Royal Historians of Oz that the several countries of the Nonestic Ocean are eager to join in the economic benefits of Oz's planned, centralized economy.

Mind you, by the standards of Citibank's chief economist, some aspects of the Oz economy may seem a bit alarming. Oz, after all, is a centralized, planned economy offering free universal health care (provided by magic wand and natural, genetic immortality) and education -- an education which children and college students are literally forced to swallow down. Farmers are forced to turn over all agricultural surpluses to the Emerald City to be stored in giant warehouses to be distributed for the common good; products are evenly distributed, with no profit margin. To quote from the greatest of the Royal Historians:

Some tilled the lands and raised great crops of grain, which was divided equally among the entire population, so that all had enough. There were many tailors and dressmakers and shoemakers and the like, who made things that any who desired them might wear. Likewise there were jewelers who made ornaments for the person, which pleased and beautified the people, and these ornaments also were free to those who asked for them. Each man and woman, no matter what he or she produced for the good of the community, was supplied by the neighbors with food and clothing and a house and furniture and ornaments and games.

The Emerald City has also eliminated all overtime:

Every one worked half the time and played half the time...

and executive management:

There were no cruel overseers set to watch them, and no one to rebuke them or to find fault with them.

and, at least in theory, restricts the practice of magic to only three individuals in the country, stifling magical innovation, although in practice this rule is widely circumvented and appears to be a lot less popular than the "no overtime" rule.

To be fair, this economy is run by Ozma, not Munchkins. Point to Citibank.

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Comments

( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
seawasp
Oct. 1st, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
Heh. When you lay it out like that, I realize that I created the mirror-verse version of that in the State of the Dragon King, which is an almost entirely Libertarian state where people pay for things as they use them, do good works as they feel like, pay for their status directly, and so on.

Yet in both cases it can *ONLY* work because there is a supernatural, incorruptible (presumably) power watching over the system to prevent the failures which occur if you try to execute these approaches with ordinary puny humans.
mariness
Oct. 1st, 2013 04:33 pm (UTC)
:: grins :: L. Frank Baum did say somewhere or other that this sort of system wouldn't work in the U.S., even though it works just fine in Oz, because, well, fairies. I suspect the "no one can die" also plays a large role in reducing medical expenses. And I don't think we can rule out the possibility that either Ozma or Glinda has added something to the Oz water to make the average citizen of Oz a little more docile and a little more altruistic....if a lot happier :)
vovat
Oct. 1st, 2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
I guess Ugu the Shoemaker wasn't drinking that water. Maybe he would only drink filtered rainwater.
seawasp
Oct. 1st, 2013 07:13 pm (UTC)
Mrs. Yoop, the Su-Dic, and Coo-Ee-Oh appear to have evaded exposure as well.

Alternatively, they DID get their doses, and without them they'd have been psychopaths at the Joker level.
mariness
Oct. 1st, 2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
Well, maybe Mrs. Yoop was saved by the inherent resistance of all Yookoohoos to outside magic not involving Green Monkey transformations? The Su-Dic had extra brains in a jar and Coo-ee-oh didn't have a heart that could be enchanted.
seawasp
Oct. 1st, 2013 08:22 pm (UTC)
You might get the "heart" bit to work for the Glass Cat or the Scarecrow, but Coo-ee-oh was as far as we know a human girl, so must have had a heart, even if she acted heartless. No textev otherwise.

The others are clever explanations.
swan_tower
Oct. 1st, 2013 08:40 pm (UTC)
. . . so when do we get to read this fanfic?
seawasp
Oct. 1st, 2013 08:55 pm (UTC)
I already WROTE my Oz Novel (which has different explanations for why certain things happened) and I'm not getting sucked into that again!
vovat
Oct. 1st, 2013 11:50 pm (UTC)
Or Mrs. Yoop was too big for the enchantment to have much effect on her.
seawasp
Oct. 2nd, 2013 12:18 am (UTC)
I'd think that she'd drink the same proportionate amount, so if she wasn't specially resistant it'd get her too.
mariness
Oct. 1st, 2013 07:36 pm (UTC)
Well, I don't know that I'd consider him an average citizen. That level of crabbiness is difficult to eradicate.
seawasp
Oct. 1st, 2013 08:23 pm (UTC)
Crabbiness? You mean legitimate resentment at finding that some far-removed administrator had arbitrarily decided that your family's traditional trade could no longer be plied!
mariness
Oct. 2nd, 2013 02:38 pm (UTC)
See, now, THIS is a legitimate critique of Ozma's government!
seawasp
Oct. 2nd, 2013 03:33 pm (UTC)
Yep. And as you probably recall I had Ugu and Erik make a point of that in _Polychrome_.
seawasp
Oct. 1st, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
Now you're heading down the mind-controlling autocracy yellow brick road.

mariness
Oct. 1st, 2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
Hee. I did say "possibility."
bondo_ba
Oct. 2nd, 2013 02:27 pm (UTC)
You should have sent this to some economics mag. It is brilliant enough that even the mainstream would have considered it!
bondo_ba
Oct. 2nd, 2013 05:11 pm (UTC)
Aha!

So now I need to choose an ideology, hmm...
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )

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