Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hedgehogs, Board Games, and Debt

A few items too short to justify a full-length post, but interesting in their own right:

* This article is proof, if proof were needed, that the English are far more sentimental about animals than Americans could ever hope to be. "Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital," indeed! On the other hand, if you ever need a leg cast for a baby hedgehog, you know where to go.

* There are more strange stories associated with World War Two than we will ever know, but this plan to help POWs escape from captivity, by way of Marvin Gardens, is one of the more ingenious Allied ideas I've come across. (Afterthought: isn't "Marxist-themed Monopoly game" an oxymoron?)

* And, finally, as we head through the holiday shopping season, some historical perspective for those who believe consumer debt is a recent problem in America: in the second edition of The Affluent Society, economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that American consumer debts in the thrifty 'fifties rose by 55 percent (1952-56), and grew another 133 percent - from $42.5 billion to $99.1 billion - between 1956 and 1967. "Our march to higher living standards," Galbraith concluded, "will be paced, as a matter of necessity, by an ever deeper plunge into debt." (Affluent Society, Second Edition [New York, 1969], 158.)

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