Scrooge and Adam Smith

It will no doubt delight critics of economics everywhere to learn that Ebenezer Scroggie, the merchant who inspired Charles Dickens’ miserly tale, was related to Adam Smith:

Scroggie was born in Kirkcaldy, Fife; his mother was the niece of Adam Smith, the 18th century political economist and philosopher.”

Dickens, however, had mild dyslexia and read Scroggie’s headstone as “Ebenezer Lennox Scroggie – mean man” when in fact it read “meal man,” referring to Scroggie’s trade in corn. Scroggie by most accounts was actually the life of the party.

Hat tip to Tim Taylor who has further thoughts.


Mind you, many Fifers are mean buggers - presumably it relates to growing up with the keen east winds.

Karl Marx moved and died in the City (of London) interestingly enough.

I really enjoyed Sylvia Nasar's incorporation of Dicken's in Grand Pursuit.

Here's a humorous little piece (shameless plug) where Scrooge learns some Keynesian economics:'s-christmas-carol/

That link doesn't seem to work, here's another go:

If Dickens had read the epitaph correctly, perhaps he would have written Children of the Corn.

nice one. of the most prolific writers of 19th century Britain had mild dyslexia??? I would imagine that he would have either chosen a different career, or gotten pretty damn good at reading. Maybe he had a very good (and overworked) editor?

Dickens died in 1870. Dyslexia was not even a word until 1887. How do we know Dickens was dyslexic?

He was a lousy scrabble player?


George Orwell's book for dyslexics?

Tyler, you should throw a link up to Landsburg's blog today relating to scrooge

How would you play scrabble with Dickens if he were dyslexic? Would he get extra points?

All you need to know is that classicists assumed (correctly) that labor was paid only a subsistence wage. All hail a return to the ownership society! Go ahead and pinch the maid's bottom. Party on!

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