Learning from Old Books

I started reading some old books I have in my library and found some interesting information for our grandfathers and fathers. One book was on writing acceptable business correspondence and it kind of laughingly tells its readers that you can sell more goods if you give inducements to ordering. A man, they tell you, wants money or coupons as an “inducement,” while a woman wants a “premium article.” It must be a special privilege for a “premium time.” “The letter to the business man may state that the price quoted is merely introductory and will soon be raised.” A good reason must be given.

The “stimulus to action,” comes at the end of the letter. This is to allow all functions to be performed. This mode of communication must only be made for a short period of time. Whatever a woman’s “Premium Article” is is not stated. It is apparently a prize for someone to induce her to order whatever is being sold. In my house, most coupons are looked at by my wife and daughter and I would believe that those “inducements to ordering” are coupons, which give monetary value to purchase of a certain type of object. That would be solidly in the book’s advice to men. Men crave money, and limited time offers. That seems to be the impetus to all of us, man or woman, to go shopping at a specific store.

One of my favorite stores is the Christmas Tree Shops, and although most of their items are made in China, it is still difficult not to pick up something which says that it is patterned after a Nantucket theme. They make ample use of short time sales and other items that keep us buying at their store. Both men and women try to buy what seems to be the best value they offer.

Another book I am reading is on the Economy. This one is a little less sophomoric. It has some fairly heavy arguments for buying and selling in the global economy but it was written years ago. It says that China will become a major player in the free market. It also says that the United States is not ready for the economic downturn that is sure to come as we lose market share. It states that a “balance” in the international market means that there is an equilibrium in economic forces. A balance can be acheived by simply balancing the national budget or it can be acheived as a more light-hearted description of acheiving equilibrium between the budgets of nation states. It can be honestly stated that the balance is currently not there as we skyrocket 17 trillion dollars in the red. I firmly believe that we are asking for a response from a creditor nation like China. It is very interesting that China is building nuclear aircraft carriers at this time. Whoever controls the oceans controls the world.

Anyway, the name of the second book is “The Imperious Economy,” by David P. Calleo. It was pubished by the vaunted Harvard University Press of Cambridge and London. If you can find a copy, it is well-worth the read.