Monday, 8 September 2014

The Famous Five and rent seeking

From 'Five Go To Smuggler's Top' by Enid Blyton:

"Why are you telling me all this?" said Uncle Quentin scornfully. "It's of no interest to me. I'm only interested in a plan for draining the marshes, not smuggling goods across them."

"Exactly, my dear fellow!" said Mr Barling [the smuggler], amiably. "I have even seen your plans and read about your experiments and Mr Lenoir's.

"But the draining of the marsh means the end of my own business! Once the marsh is drained, once houses are built there, and roads made, once the mists have gone, my business goes too! A harbour may be built out there, at the edge of the marshes - my ships can no longer creep in unseen, bringing valuable cargoes!

"Not only will my money go, but all the excitement, which is more than life to me, will go too!"

"How do I come into this" [Uncle Quentin] asked. "Why have you kidnapped me?"

"I know that Mr Lenoir is going to buy your plans from you," said Mr Barling. "I know he is going to drain the marsh by using your very excellent idea. You see, I know all about them!

"I know too that Mr Lenoir hopes to make a lot of money by selling the land once it is drained. It is all his, that misty marsh - and no use to anyone now except to me! But that marsh is not going to be drained - I am going to buy your plans, not Mr Lenoir!"


JohnM said...

That's only true of the old edition. More recent editions show that evil Uncle Quentin's threat to the rare crested marsh snail's habitat was safely averted after the protest camp persuaded the environmental agency to fine him. Remorseful, he then goes on to build windmills on the marsh which unfortunately decimate the rare birds, but hey, if you want omelette you should use only the best eggs.

Mark Wadsworth said...

JohnM, nice one.