Princess Navina Visits Malvolia
The first book of the series describes a country (Mal=evil, volio=wish) where the rulers seek the greatest misery for the greatest number. To this end, they have adopted policies to undermine economic incentives, destroy families, weaken character, and increase social tension. The crowning achievement of the politicos is a prosperity fine, a punishment levied on citizens for earning money. Andyou guessed itthe fine is proportional: the more you earn, the higher the fine. The whole idea is to discourage people from working, saving, investingan excellent foundation for misery. Readers will thank their lucky stars that they live in a country where politicians seek to help, not hurt, citizens!
Illustrations by Diana Schuppel show the delightfully vexing Malvolian artifacts: beds too soft to sleep in, doors too low to walk throughand the dugeball, a kind of basketball with sharp blades attached. It hurts if you dont catch it right, explains its inventor.
Behind the humor and adventures, Payne has identified a significant problem in modern democratic theory. When policies have so many unintended and perverse consequences, can one say that we are solving social and economic problems through the democratic political process?
(54 pages, illustrations, published in 1990)
For those of us who see through the subtlety, it is both constructive and amusing.
Gordon Tullock, Professor of Economics and Political Science, University of Arizona.
In the best tradition of harming by helping—and funny too!
–Aaron Wildavsky, Professor of Political Science, University of California, Berkeley.
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr, author and editor of The American Spectator.
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