By Chet Yarbrough
A Christmas Carol
By: Charles Dickens
Narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi, Kenneth Cranham, Roger Allam, Brendan Coyle, Miriam Margolyes, Time Mcinnerny, Jamie Glover, Emily Bruni, Jenna Coleman, Joshua James, Hugh Skinner
Dickens appeal in the 21st century is magnified by economic change.
The industrial revolution, like the tech revolution, put people out of work. In Dickens’ time, Great Britain’s and the world’s industrial growth demanded change.
Today’s tech revolution demands the same. The change required is different in one sense and the same in another.
The industrial revolution occurred in a time of scarcity while the tech revolution takes place in a time of abundance. Both revolutions require training for new kinds of jobs.
Smog plagued Great Britain as it grew in the18th century.
(This is smog in today’s Beijing.)
Dickens is born in 1812 and dies in 1870. He witnesses and writes of the squalor that existed in London during his adult years. “A Christmas Carol” is one of many stories he wrote that reflects on the human cost of economic change.
London fog 1952
In 1952, the streets of London were enveloped in a fog caused by coal used for domestic heat and industrial production.
An incident of London fog in the 20th century is comparable, on a local scale, to the world’s pollution crises today. An estimated 4,000 people were said to have died, with 100,000 made ill because of unusual windless conditions in that year.
Today, air pollution is compounded by global warming.
“A Christmas Carol” is a reminder of the damage world leaders can do by ignoring the plight of those who are most directly impacted by economic change. Too many American leaders are acting like Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley by ignoring the Bob Cratchit s and Tiny Tim s of the world.
For those who may not remember, Scrooge and Marley were capitalists who believe all that matters in life is personal wealth. Marley comes back as a ghost to offer Scrooge a picture of past, present, and future Christmases, based on how he lives the remainder of his life.
Todays’ political leaders are in Jacob Marley’s ghostly presence with a chance to change the future for the Crachits, Tiny Tims, and wage earners of the world. The world needs leaders who are not blinded by the allure of money, power, and prestige at the expense of the jobless, homeless, and disenfranchised.