The Yellow Brick Road as the Gold Standard: The Wizard of Oz as Economic Fable

The Wizard of Oz as economic fable?

Here is a piece on the economic interpretation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 vision, brought to the masses through the 1939 Judy Garland film, and brought to the world’s understanding in 1964 by high school teacher Henry Littlefield:

“The Tin Woodman represents the industrial worker, the Scarecrow is
the farmer and the Cowardly Lion is William Jennings Bryan.”

Bryan was a Democratic presidential candidate who supported the
silver cause. But he failed to win votes from eastern workers and lost
the 1896 election. In the same way, the Lion’s claws are nearly blunted
by the Woodman’s metallic shell.

The Wicked Witch of the West is associated with a variety of
controversial personalities, chief among them the industrialist Mark
Hanna, campaign manager to President William McKinley.

In this scenario, the yellow brick road symbolises the gold
standard, the Emerald City becomes Washington DC and the Great Wizard
characterises the president – and he is exposed as being less than


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