Another Economic Riddle

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis 1876 (Auburn) – 1938 (Melbourne)

I venerate economists
As very learned blokes,
But when in paradox they speak
Their meaning oft I vainly seek,
Suspecting subtle jokes.
They say the whole world's down and out;
But here's what I can't see:
If every land, beyond all doubt,
In all the world is up the spout -
Then who's the mortgagee?

Do we owe money in the moon,
Or some celestial land?
Or have we creditors in Mars,
Or other fixed and unfixed stars,
Who hold our notes of hand?
If not, why all the fuss and fret?
I've conned it o'er and o'er,
And find no clear solution yet.
If all the earth is deep in debt,
Who is the creditor?

When men go into bankruptcy
The case is plain as day:
What is not in the dear wife's name
Grim creditors will promptly claim,
And assets melt away.
But when a whole wide world's in soak
And cannot raise the tin,
Here's where I half suspect a joke:
When all the earth goes stoney broke,
Who puts the bailiffs in?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis

Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis, better known as C. J. Dennis, was an Australian poet known for his humorous poems, especially "The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke", published in the early 20th century. Though Dennis's work is less well known today, his 1915 publication of The Sentimental Bloke sold 65,000 copies in its first year, and by 1917 he was the most prosperous poet in Australian history. Together with Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson, both of whom he had collaborated with, he is often considered among Australia's three most famous poets. While attributed to Lawson by 1911, Dennis later claimed he himself was the 'laureate of the larrikin'. When he died at the age of 61, the Prime Minister of Australia Joseph Lyons suggested he was destined to be remembered as the 'Australian Robert Burns'. more…

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