Surplus and scarcity: two economic models

This is a Canvas assignment which means you’ll be responding by using a text box and only I and Maria Alberto will see your submission.

For this assignment, plan to write between 250 and 300 words. You can write your response separately and then cut and paste it into the text box if you prefer that.

The Miller and the Steward each tell stories involve exchanges and transactions, though not usually involving money. Still, you could think of the world of each story as representing a kind of non-monetary economy involving what the characters “invest” in one another and what they hope to receive in return, even though these transactions are not financial ones. Think about how each story treats the idea of “profit” even when financial gain is not at stake (particularly in the Miller’s Tale). Use 2-3 specific examples and short quotations from each tale to analyze the transactional world of each story and how these worlds differ from one another in how they define a successful transaction.

It may be helpful to think about how the “economy” of the Miller’s tale involves abundance and surplus while the Steward’s story takes place in an environment defined by scarcity and competition. The same is true for how both men talk about themselves in their introductions to their own stories. You could also think about the moral economy of the two very different worlds these storytellers create. Which of these worlds would you rather do business in?

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