(7 September 1876 - 22 June 1938 / Auburn, South Australia)

Another Economic Riddle

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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