Bob Cratchit

Do you remember A Christmas Carol?

It was published by Charles Dickens in 1843. This is one of the few remaining stories from the 1800s that we circulate every year, over and over again, in varying interpretations delivered for Christmas consumption. Do you ever ask yourself why we keep retelling this old, old story over and over and over again every year at Christmas? So many other stories from the 1800s have been lost to history but this one pops up again and again and again.

The purpose of watching A Christmas Carol is to spread goodwill towards your fellow man and to encourage generosity and kindness. It also helps folks to be more charitable with their associates and with their money to help the poor. A Christmas Carol helps to curb the excess greed and self destructive tendencies of an economic system. I would argue, that by circulating this story over and over again, it tempers the more aggressive side of our human nature and is used by society as a moral lesson on the dangers of excess.

What is the danger of excess in an economic system?

The boomerang effect.

I want to look at one particular character in the story of A Christmas Carol. It is Bob Cratchit. Bob works for Ebeneezer Scrooge. He has a small family. He works for low wages and the work environment is not the best. He follows the strict rules of work in order to bring home wages to his family.

He has a cripled and sick son named Tiny Tim with a heart of gold. Everybody knows and loves Tiny Tim.

Did you know that a famous writer in the 1800s also had a life very similar to Bob Cratchit? He went on to write a super famous book that would spread all over Europe and the globe. His name was Karl Marx.

Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto a few years after A Christmas Carol came out. He went from job to job to job as a bit of a maverick reporter and economic thinker. He was financially supported by Frederick Engels most of his life.

For 10 years, he worked for a New York newspaper in London although he was never given citizenship there. He worked for Horace Greeley. His wages were below the living standard. He worked hard and had a small family and requested higher wages repeatedly for his cripled son… no avail.

JFK talked to the press about the life of Karl Marx in his speech, The President and the Press, in 1961. Here is what he said, word for word,

“Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen:

I appreciate very much your generous invitation to be here tonight.

You bear heavy responsibilities these days and an article I read some time ago reminded me of how particularly heavily the burdens of present day events bear upon your profession.

You may remember that in 1851 the New York Herald Tribune under the sponsorship and publishing of Horace Greeley, employed as its London correspondent an obscure journalist by the name of Karl Marx.

We are told that foreign correspondent Marx, stone broke, and with a family ill and undernourished, constantly appealed to Greeley and managing editor Charles Dana for an increase in his munificent salary of $5 per installment, a salary which he and Engels ungratefully labeled as the “lousiest petty bourgeois cheating.”

But when all his financial appeals were refused, Marx looked around for other means of livelihood and fame, eventually terminating his relationship with the Tribune and devoting his talents full time to the cause that would bequeath the world the seeds of Leninism, Stalinism, Revolution and the Cold War.

If only this capitalistic New York newspaper had treated him more kindly; if only Marx had remained a foreign correspondent, history might have been different. And I hope all publishers will bear this lesson in mind the next time they receive a poverty-stricken appeal for a small increase in the expense account from an obscure newspaper man.”

Food for thought.

I am not advocating for any economic system or any particular practice. Both capitalism and communism, left to their own devices, without proper checks and balances or constitutions or rules of law with strong legislative and judicial systems, can lead to grave consequences, devastation, and destruction. One can easily point to the Great Leap Forward or the Killing Fields of the Khmer Rouge or the Holodomor or the genocides or deportations to Siberia of other regimes.

I am merely pointing out things in our own environment here in America, how they influence our thought behaviors and mitigate our more base tendencies, and the long-term impact of human choices towards common societal beliefs of good or evil.


Author: J. Speer

I like to write. I have 5 books currently on Amazon, mostly fiction. I try to write positive and uplifting children's stories, expressive poetry for women, and interesting articles about personal growth, alternative medicine, and spirituality. My stories are often about diverse people but with human connection in mind through inner perspective. I love my characters especially the ones from my first book, Searching for Fire. I moved recently to Vermont. I live in the North Country region near Lake Willoughby, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. My heart will always be with Kansas but I love travel and meeting new people with diverse perspectives on life. I have found Vermonters to have many admirable qualities like stoicism and a love and stewardship of nature. My hobbies are writing, gardening, outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, and hiking. I am an amateur herbalist. Many years ago, an alternative medicine doctor cured me of a respiratory illness by teaching me about vitamins and for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude. I recently bought a Jeep Wrangler that fits my personality and love for adventure. Associated with the military in my younger years, I have lived in Israel, Germany, and Virginia as well - all of which I loved in different ways. I thoroughly believe in the military spouse phrase, "bloom where you are planted" and endeavor to carry a positive optimism wherever I roam. Most days are good but admittedly I get down sometimes. I am prone to sadness or severe cynicism at times, so I turn to music as my consolation and source of expression or inspiration. My favorite songs currently are "How Deep is Your Love" by the Beegees, "La Vie en Rose", "A Million Dreams" or maybe Karen Carpenter singing "Close to You" or Elton John singing "Your Song." I also like "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us" by Starship or "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders. "Faithfully" by Journey always reminds me of rollerskating with friends in the 1980s. My favorite quotes are from the Velveteen Rabbit, Steve Jobs, and this one..."To the caterpillar it was the end of the world, but to the butterfly it was merely a beautiful beginning." Or there is the quote from Peter Pan teaching Wendy..."What if I fall? But, oh my darling, what if you fly?" I also believe in being a pearl - graceful on the outside but full of grit and gratitude on the inside. My favorite women of the Bible are Ruth, Hannah, and Hagar. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Cheers, friend.

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