What is the Boots Theory?

The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.

I first read Men At Arms by Terry Pratchett in my teens, and this passage was an eye-opener.  It’s not a new idea, but it’s an important one.  And it’s told in a way that sticks with you, making it a perfect political parable.

It stuck with me, so here we are:  Boots Theory.  A blog about politics and society in Aotearoa/New Zealand, from a leftwing perspective.  With it being an election year I hope I’ll have a lot to write about …

2 Replies to “What is the Boots Theory?”

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