(12 - 15) The Economics Island

Notes on Robinson Crusoe, Chapters 12 through 15:

The Economics Island: Microeconomics, Keynes and Marx.

Usually economists use Robinson’s example to illustrate Microeconomics concepts, and that’s pretty useful, after all Microeconomics tries to understand the human being mindset without considering social / institutional feedback effects over the individual.
That’s probably a very poor definition, but I hope it helps you understand why Robinson is such a lovely character to us economists (so glad I can finally say that!).
The Economics Island, though, makes one wonder about other economists, and how well would their theories fit into this story. Particularly, I wonder, would Marx’s “Commodity Fetishism” or Keynes’ “Liquidity Preference” be related to the book? Maybe I’m way out of line here, but I believe both authors explain quite well this passage:
“ The last thing I found was a secret drawer in the cabin. In that drawer there was some money (…) I smiled to myself when I say this money. ‘O useless stuff!’ I cried. ‘What are you good for now? You are not worth picking up. This little old knife is worth much more. I have no manner of use for you. Lie there, where you are, and go to the bottom’. I was about to leave the cabin when I looked around again. The bright pieces were so pretty that I could not bear to leave them.”
Isn’t this passion for money, even in a situation where it can’t be used, somewhat surprising?
It makes me think about the intrinsic value of money, or how people valuate money independently of the goods that it can buy. Keynes explains why people leave bequest to their children using the intrinsic value of money argument, for instance, and, the very same concept suits pretty well the passage above.
Perhaps Marx’s “Commodity Fetishism” shall be evoked. I would definitely do that if I could.
I suppose this concept is also related to the passage above, but, I’m not sure that I can prove my point, so, let’s just keep that as a hypothesis for now…


(7 - 11) Protestantism, Labour and Salvation

Notes on Robinson Crusoe, Chapters  7 through 11.

Robinson sat down and cried like a baby, after all he was a human being,
not a robot. But he soon held his tears and started thinking about the wild  
animals that could be near him. If Robinson had kept crying and complaining
about his situation, he could have died that first night, but, instead of
lamenting, he was smart enough to climb a tree and spend a sound night.

In the next morning the main subject of the book finally appears:
Labour and Salvation.

Robinson soon finds out that only hard work will keep him alive on this
Island. The relation Labour / Salvation, portrayed by Protestantism, is key to
Robinson’s  survival on the island. On his second day, Robinson has to work a
lot in order to build a raft and bring food and some other things from the ship to
the shore. He manages to bring everything ashore and, all his sweat will
definitely pay off sooner or later.

We already knew that Robinson is a brave man. Now we have found
out that he is a very clever and patient man as well. Will these skills be enough
to keep him alive?

He has guns, powder, food, clothes, tools, courage and brains, what else
does he need to survive in such a wild environment?

Perhaps some luck?


(1 - 6) Robinson Crusoe in the Economics Island

Audiobook: http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/book/robinson-crusoe-written-anew-for-children-by-james-baldwin

Notes on Robinson Crusoe, Chapters 1 through 6.

Amazing story, I can't wait to read the next chapters.
Everything happens very fast...
From a boy in old York who wanted to be a sailor to a grown man cast away in a strange island!
Does he regret not listening to his parents?
It's hard to answer to this question. He is probably scared now, seeing all his mates are dead. But, still, I don't think he regrets; after all he wanted to be a sailor and a sailor he has become!
We will have to continue reading the book so we can answer to that question, but we have already seen that Robinson is a very brave man, so I think he will figure out how to survive at this island.