Silas Marner As An "Economic Agent"

Literature & EconomicsMemo #2 In Silas Marner by George Elliot, the main character Silas Marner is a weaver whom is intent on collecting as much money as he possibly can. Through his work, Silas is similar to and different from the economic agent . An economic agent is a term assumed by economists to describe a person who buys, sells, works, and or makes decisions in an economic setting. When this term is applied to Silas, the similarities and differences to the term are made evident. After Silas was found guilty of murder and thievery by the divine judgment by drawing lots , he abandons all faith in God and moves to Raveloe. Once in Raveloe, he buys a small cottage on the outskirts of town. It is here that Silas embarks on his goal of making as much money as he can. This is the first similarity between Silas and the economic agent . One goal of the economic agent is the pursuit of profit. Back in Lantern Yard, Silas had to work for a wholesale dealer at a lower rate and was paid weekly. When he finished Mrs. Osgood s table-linen, she paid him five gold guineas. This was the first time that he did not have to pay a middleman. He realized the potential profit and began to pursue it day and night. Silas furthers his pursuit of profit by lowering personal expenses to make more money. Silas acts as an economic agent in each step of his business by making and selling the product and buying the materials nesceserry for his work.


One day when Silas was taking a pair of shoes to be mended, he saw that Sally Oates was sick. He brought her a bottle of brown water that cured her. There was a wise woman who used to cure sick people with home remedies. When the news hit town about Silas s miracle work, every man and woman went to Silas to be cured. They offered to pay Silas for his services making him a fair profit. Silas might have driven a profitable trade in charms as well as in his small list of drugs . However he refused to take part in this business because he believed that it was false. This is the only time that Silas differs from the definition of an economic agent . The economic agent would have pursued this new trade and continued weaving in a pursuit of higher profit. In the case of Silas and his weaving business he fits the term of an economic agent . He buys, sells, works and makes decisions in the interest of profit. However, when he made the decision not to sell any charms or cures he fell far from the term economic agent . He gave up the chance to make a profit breaking the first goal of any economic agent

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