The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey
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The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey tells the story of a boy who becomes shipwrecked on an unfamiliar island after being swept out to sea in a storm. Having previously lived in a relatively free society, in this new strange land he experiences culture shock as he learns of bewildering laws and traditions of the island’s inhabitants. The story highlights the absurdities of the laws, the controls imposed on people’s lives, and the economic drawbacks of these laws.
The laws highlighted are recognizable as common to many countries throughout the world. As the story unfolds, the part individuals in society play in political decision-making and personal responsibility is introduced for discussion.
Background on the Book
Why have several hundred people and more than forty public policy institutes and organizations around the globe produced or promoted a couple hundred thousand copies of The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey in 71 published editions in 47 languages?
Satire has always been used among intellectuals throughout the world to circumvent censors and to send messages without triggering resistance. The book and film ”Hammer and Tickle” asserts that humor helped bring down the Soviet empire. Is satire still useful? I believe so. It is sometimes necessary in order to get past the censors in Iran, in China, and even in many local American school boards that are hostile to free markets.
Business and Academia
The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey originated as a series of economic and political commentaries for KHVH, an all-news radio station catering to the business and professional community in Hawaii. Response to my weekly economics commentaries was at zero until I tried satire along the lines of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. The response was electrifying.
The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey has since been serialized for business and academic communities with The Boss magazine in Nepal and the Keizar (Economic) Seminar journal in Japan. Assen Kanev, founder of the Bulgarian Free Market Institute, reports that during serialization of the book in SEDEM Weekly, the newspaper rose in circulation from 10,000 to 20,000 during the run, helping to make SEDEM the second largest weekly newspaper in Bulgaria. There was so much interest that Assen arranged an interview with me on Radio Free Europe to expound on the philosophy. The book has now been published in two editions in Sofia, becoming a regular reader in both government and private schools.
Why is it important to find a new approach when teaching economics? 1) Economics is usually not taught from a free market perspective and 2) economics is usually boring. Students rarely find standard college textbooks to be very interesting. Indeed, two thirds of those students surveyed have a negative opinion of these texts. The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible: A Free Market Odyssey is intended to remedy these problems in all levels of economics education.
I hope you enjoy the book! – Ken Schoolland
About Ken Schoolland
Ken Schoolland is presently an associate professor of economics and Director of the Entrepreneurship Center at Hawaii Pacific University. Prior to this he was the Director of the Master of Science in Japanese Business Studies programme at Chaminade University of Honolulu and head of the Business and Economics Programme at Hawaii Loa College.
Following his graduate studies at Georgetown University, he served as an international economist in the U.S. International Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Commerce and on assignment to the White House, Office of the Special Representative for Trade Negotiations.
Ken Schoolland left government for the field of education, teaching business and economics at Sheldon Jackson College in Alaska. He also taught at Hakodate University in Japan and wrote Shogun’s Ghost: The Dark Side of Japanese Education, which has been published in English and in Japanese.
Ken Schoolland is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, President of the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL), a member of the Board of Scholars for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, and is a Sam Walton Fellow for Students in Free Enterprise (now called ENACTUS).