The Country of Engravings

In that country, a system of trade has developed which is unique among the lands I have visited.  I have had to reconstruct the history, as it is no longer remembered, but it seems it must have been as follows:
Certain artists found it convenient to trade their paintings and drawings for shelter and food. This arrangement worked well, and the artists began to make compact and portable drawings that they could carry on their persons, to use for trade in such places as they found themselves.
A certain artist, an engraver by trade, printed up engravings of a popular sort and used these in place of drawings, finding the production of them more simple.  Others found such a system sensible, and they too became engravers, to the point that much of the country was engaged in creating engravings, and very few in the labors that benefit society materially. When the situation had grown untenable, a solution was proposed that a single printer could handle all of the work, freeing up other artists time to spend on gardening and so forth.  This solution was universally acclaimed, and the work was given to one indivdual, in the employ of society as a whole. To further save effort, he chose to only produce a few engravings, though in such prodigous quantities that there were enough for all who desired them. The artwork itself, though very carefully executed, soon grew unappealing through too much repitition, but the system was so much of an improvement of the previous system that few complained.

Comments

Rebecca Stay said…
Good story. But I am afraid we live in at a time when "much of the country was engaged in TRADING and SPECULATING on the engravings, and very few in the labors that benefit society materially."
D said…
The picture is Science presenting Steam and Electricity to Commerce and Manufacture.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_$2_1896_SC.jpg

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