(20 - 26) The day Robinson learned Adam Smith's diamond-water paradox.

Notes on Robinson Crusoe, Chapters 20 through 26.

1 year has passed. Robinson had sown grains of barley and rice.
After doing so, he decided to take a big trip and explore the island, which took about a month. At the other side of the island, he looked to the horizon and saw land, but he couldn’t tell whether that was another island or the mainland of America.
Either way it was risky to go there, he thought, for there might be savages.
So he returned to his castle and harvested his grains, which quite pleased him.
At this point, seeing how much he had accomplished at the island with his bare hands (figure of speech), for the first time in the book Robinson felt actually happy about everything that happened:
“My life was much happier than it had been while I was sailing the seas. I took delight in many things that I had never cared for before”.
He enjoyed himself for a little while, but, a few chapters / months later, he started wondering whether he could live there for all his life:
“I was always trying to think of some way to escape from the island. True, I was living there with much comfort. I was happier than I had ever been while sailing the seas. But I longed to see other men. I longed for home and friends”.
Then he built such a huge and heavy canoe (big enough for twenty men), that he couldn’t manage to push it into water! After working very hard in such a non-sense project, he went back to his cave feeling foolish, sad and thoughtful…
This was the day when Robinson learned Adam Smith’s diamond-water paradox, or its solution, as the passage below shall demonstrate:
“Why should I be discontented and unhappy? I was the master of all that I saw. I might call myself the king of the island. I had all comforts of life. I had food in plenty. I might raise shiploads of grain, but there was no market for it. I had thousands of trees for timber and fuel, but no one wished to buy. I counted the money which I had brought from the ship. There were above a hundred pieces of gold and silver; but of what use were they? I would have given all for a handful of peas or beans to plant. I would have given all for a bottle of ink”.

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