What is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz REALLY About?

in life •  3 months ago

I still remember the first time I watched The Wizard of Oz. I was seven or eight years old and, honestly, I remember being quite unimpressed. I was only mildly entertained by the antics of Dorothy, The Cowardly Lion, The Tin Man, and the Scarecrow. The Wicked Witch of the West and those freaky flying monkeys gave me nightmares for weeks.

This story became much more interesting to me as I got older and began to dig deeper. There are no shortage of theories about the underlying message that author L. Frank Baum was trying to convey when he published the original book in 1900.

One of those theories was published in an article (1964) by Henry Littlefield and was expanded by Hugh Rockoff in his book, "The 'Wizard of Oz' as a Monetary Allegory" (1990). Both authors said L. Frank Baum’s book, and subsequent film, was an allegory for the monetary policy and political system of the late nineteenth-century. Although this theory has been challenged, the parallels are convincing.


Fact: In the original book Dorothy wore silver slippers, not ruby ones as portrayed in the film.


Baum was a member of the Populist movement of the day, who didn’t believe in the gold standard, which guaranteed the government would redeem any amount of paper money for its value in gold. The movement believed, that although the gold standard was good for the rich, it caused a cycle of hardship for most citizens since gold prices and currency values dropped every time miners found substantial new gold deposits. The Populists believed that the nation’s currency should also be backed by silver, which was more abundant, so the value of the currency would remain more stable.

Hugh Rockoff suggested in 1990 that the novel detailed the demonetization of silver in 1873. Rockoff claimed the cyclone that carried Dorothy to the Land of Oz represented the economic and political upheaval, the yellow brick road stood for the gold standard, and the silver shoes Dorothy inherited from the Wicked Witch of the East represented the pro-silver movement.


“No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.” ― L. Frank Baum


Moreover, the Emerald City is ruled by the Wizard, a heartless politician, who uses publicity and tricks to convince people he’s benevolent and powerful but really nothing but a selfish and evil mortal. The Wizard sends Dorothy into danger hoping she will rid him of his arch enemy, the Wicked Witch of the West. The Wizard pits people against one another, like chess pieces, to accomplish his own agenda. This sounds all to familiar, doesn’t it?

Additional points to ponder:

  • The City of Oz is named after the abbreviation for unit of measure that is commonly used for silver and gold (ounces “oz”);
  • Dorothy represents the average citizen who “trying to find a way back home”;
  • The road of gold leads to the Emerald City, which is thought to represent the fraudulent world of paper currency (greenbacks) which pretends to have value;
  • The Scarecrow represents Midwestern U.S. farmers, that had endured much hardship due to instability of the financial markets in the late 1800's;
  • The Tin Man represents the nation’s industrial workforce which had been hit hard by the Depression of 1890; and
  • The Cowardly Lion is said to represent politician Williams Jennings Bryan, a Nebraska congressman and a huge proponent of the free-silver movement.

Homework

After having learned all of this I'm going to go back and watch this film again with new eyes and see if there are any other correlations I notice. I challenge you to do the same.

I see so many similarities between the fragile financial conditions of the late 1800's and the "Everything Bubble" of today's fiat-based economic system. The only difference is now we have a the false appearance of a stabile economy in the U.S. due to the abundance of consumer credit and the Treasury Department's ability to print as much new money as they deem necessary. The truth is today's economy is a huge house of cards that could come crashing down at any moment.

The world is waking up to the fact that there alternatives, now over 1,500 of them, in fact. Cryptocurrencies have built in scarcity, most are decentralized, offer transparent transactions, and security for users. I think the best way to guarantee your future freedom and prosperity is to educate yourself as much as you can about these alternatives now.

Is this political and monetary allegory theory true? Your guess is as good as mine. Judging by the .gif above maybe L. Frank Baum was a great visionary who foresaw a day when distributed ledger technology transformed the world? The Emerald City looks an awful lot like it's constructed of green candlesticks! Goodbye for now, I think I'll join Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man, and the Scarecrow and skip on towards this bright future.

Yours in the Chain,

Eric Vance Walton

(Gifs sourced from Giphy.com)


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*I am an American novelist, poet, traveler, and crypto-enthusiast. If you’ve enjoyed my work please sign up for my author newsletter at my website. Newsletter subscribers will receive exclusive updates and special offers and your information will never be sold or shared.
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Such a great and detailed post!
The demonetization of silver in 1873 seems so similar to the demonetization of Crypto in 2018. We need our wizard of Oz... oh wait one’s on its way. HardFork! Love how you’re breaking down film story inspiration like this! I see a whole lot more of these coming our way from your keen mind if we’re lucky!

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Thanks my friend! I agree with your take on the similarities between that coinage act of 1873 and the state of the crypto market today. Did you hear that Goldman Sachs closed its crypto desk today? I really do think projects like HardFork will help quell the misinformation that is being propagated about blockchain and cryptocurrency. I really want to see this technology usher in a more free, secure, and equitable world.

Yes Eric, I believe Mr. Baum knew exactly what he was creating and for the express purpose as you have outlined, clever man indeed. So few have been exposed to the true story and the substitution of the ruby reds for the silver in the book.
It makes perfect sense when people actually stop and think about it, and movies are a great source of influence, as we know and hope.
We just need the right people making the right movies.

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I think he realized too. Mr Baum was a known Populist so it makes sense that he would want to spread his ideology to the masses. I can't wait for HardFork to be seen by millions of eyes. : )

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Neither can I.

That's quite an interesting theory! I was a fan of the book - it had very nice drawings if I remember correctly. I'll make sure to pass on the information to my son who's a fan of the movie!

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Que bellos recuerdos de mi época, que hermoso las imágenes y los colores,lo que mas impresiona eran los grandes disfraces de los personales que se interrelacionan entre ellos. Un cuento de adas hechas realidad

While I think it is a wonderful coincidence (or maybe some subconscious truth unwittingly) it is a nice theory, and a great way to explain monetary policy!

A great movie, my friend and you are absolutely right, cryptography is the future of our world and the current financial system has been decayed forever. For me, only kropto is an active alternative! Thank you, Eric.

I've watched a couple of videos about this, it is quite a convincing theory.
And even if it wasn't the intention of the film, it still makes a good addition to the story.
Maybe a modern day remake would involve clicking your heels together 3 times and thinking to yourself "There's no currency like crypto, there's no currency like crypto..."

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It is interesting for sure! I think I’ll add, “There’s no place like a bull market, there’s no place like a bull market..” 😂

Wow, what a great post. You know I studied this years ago. Well, friends sent me info showing me connections and it all makes sense.

I do remember the part about OZ and the smoke and mirrors of the government.

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Thanks! I heard about the allegory years ago and was just recently reminded of it by a podcast that mentioned the allegory briefly. This set me on the trail to find out more about it.

Wizard-of-oz-gif-500.gif

Thanks Eric! I love that idea about watching this film with new eyes! I'm gonna do that too!

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Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks Ann.

Good point you just made, @ericvancewalton. I think I need to re-read what you're saying about The Wizard of Oz. Moreover, as I read your post I remembered some things and put them into consideration with some things that are happening today in my country, Venezuela. The search for brains and hearts, and in the end get ripped off. And that iconic ending for us these days: "Hit your heels together three times and repeat the words'There is no place like home'. It'd be nice to go home and find out it's all been a nightmare. Greetings

An excellent review of THE WIZARD OF OZ by @ericvancewalton. It is no doubt an Allegory of a Political cum Economic System of the Community of the Set. That being said,what amused me in addition is the fact revealled therefrom that "Dexterity with which @ericvancewalton scribes can't be STOLEN from Him".

I've never watched this great and popular movie though I've heard a lot about it, I know it's very popular among the western folks, am also 101% sure many movies done in those ages has a little or more sublimal content in it, so I wasn't surprised reading this, but got enlightened the more about it.
Am sure I'll watch it one day, I hope they make a present remake of it like they did for Sound of Music and Beauty and the beast. So our generation could see it too.

Concerning the future prediction in the movie/book, many books actually Forsee all this things. Am a reader too, and I've seen and heard alot.

I just don't know the future could be this fast.

wow,really very interesting and talented movie.but i have no idea this movie story of Wizard of Oz.i am first time heard this movie matter to read your history theory.its fully new experience for me. i am agree with your anylysis point.cryptography is very interesting thing and future in the world that always improving doing financial system more foreverr.thanks to sharing for your brilliant history drawing and great point selecting theory of movie and book.specially your explantation skills very perpect.i am always attracted your showing everyday new tropic post.very well done and may god bless you for your great work.i am very lately comment your post.so,sorry for that..have a great day..my dear friend.. @ericvancewalton

Nice pic... Awesome . beautiful..

Oh my friend, you are right, I agree with your point, nice post guy. A hug from Venezuela!

Welcome to steemit. Nice to meet you

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Wonderful Wizard