Talk:Sock Under The Mattress
And, as Hubert Turvy, the city's (so far) sole economic expert has proven ...the more money goes under the mattress (Flask twenty-Eight), the less money there is available to fund new investment, research and development, business expansion, et c (Reservoir Eleven), and the consequences are foreclosures on existing loans(Flask Nine), collapsing businesses (the vernier scale on the left of Flask Seventeen), job losses(Flask Seven), a catastrophic loss of demand, all those little Socks Under The Mattress come out all at once, and flood the economy with long-withheld cash at a time when there are less and less goods produced for that money to buy, thus fuelling inflation... and, in a word, Recession.
Following through the logic of economic collapse, the reader is invited to think of the further consequences of economic recession, as happened in France in the 1790's.
The trigger factor in starting the French Revolution was not the sudden spread of abstract political thought concerning the equality and liberty of Man, and the necessity of creating a free, equal, and libertarian state. No, that's Reg Shoe talk, which as Reg discovered, to his disappointment, is foreign to the average Joe's way of thinking.
What really kicked it off was an issue dear to the heart of the average person - you can stuff your highfalutin' political talk, what really matters, here and now, is that the price of a loaf of bread has suddenly inflated to more than that tightfisted boss is prepared to pay me each day! I'm only paid seventeen sous a day, and those greedy bakers think they can get away with charging twenty sous for a single loaf? I've had to bring out my sock from under the mattress, and what I've been able to save over a few years will be GONE in a few days!
This combination of anger, resentment, hunger and fury at galloping inflation in the cost of essential goods, brought about at least in part by long-hoarded savings coming out all at once at a time of perceived need, caused the Parisian peasantry to at first take over the bakeries and co-operate in distributing bread and collecting payment for it (they very scrupulously left behind seven sous each, which the populace thought was a fair price for a loaf). When the Army was called in to shoot and arrest, and after public rage had been kindled by the execution of several people perceived to be ringleaders, to participate in street battles with them... and before they knew it, France was in the middle of a Revolution. Not over ideology, that was imposed later by the Reg Shoes who saw their chance and filled the leadership vacuum, but over something as simple and basic as the cost of a loaf of bread..
Ankh-Morpork feels like a city which straddles the time period 1400-1900... in the main, it feels like it's got to what we would call the Industrial Revolution, but there are pockets still rooted in the far past and little glimmers that feel ahead of their time. But a general analogy of 1800, in our calendar, feels like a good consensus time. In our world, this might have been an Industrial Revolution, but it was also an Age of Revolutions in the political sense... Vetinari would be very tuned into signs of potential instability, such as happened in France in 1790. He'd be very much aware of the cost of a loaf: in the early chapters of Making Money, he just co-incidentally reveals a detailed awareness of where the city's bakeries are located... of course, that was only to facilitate addressing an otherwise dead letter...
A close reading of Night Watch in fact reveals that the unrest which sparked off the Glorious Revolution of the 25th May stemmed from popular disaffection concerning the increasing price of bread...