Hell Money

by on June 19, 2007 at 7:10 am in Economics, Travels | Permalink

I’ve always liked this joke.

Paddy O’Brien died and as is the Irish custom the mourners were throwing money into his coffin.  The town miser, whom everyone despised, cried out "I loved Paddy O’Brien.  Whatever anyone else puts into the coffin, I will double!"  Thinking the miser a little bit drunk the townspeople took this as an opportunity to teach him a lesson.  Gathering all their money they showered the coffin with $3012 in bills and coins, more than had ever before been given at a funeral.  The miser then gathered the money, wrote a cheque for $6024 and threw that in.

The Chinese have a similar custom of burying the dead with money but like the miser they understand monetary economics (if not perhaps signalling theory).  Big white guy explains in his interesting post on Chinese hell money.
Hell10
Hat tip to Marcus at the Mises Economics Blog.

1 Tony Vallencourt June 19, 2007 at 11:04 am

If he threw in a check for $6024, and it was buried, then it was he who taught the townspeople a lesson in the difference between cash and checks.

Townspeople: -$3012
Paddy O’Brien: -$0.05 (appx. cost of a wasted check)

2 save_the_rustbelt June 19, 2007 at 2:22 pm

There is a similar joke involving an American lawyer.

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