Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prudent Wives, Shoveling Snow, and the Benefits of Capital

About a month late from the calendar's perspective, winter arrived in Western Pennsylvania. Last week we had our first stretch of snow that genuinely called for daily shoveling of the driveway. As I tackled the job, several thoughts successively went through my mind. I first was reminded of a verse in Proverbs and then again was struck by the great mundane benefits we reap from capital goods every day.

In the fall, realizing our need for another snow shovel because of some wear and tear on our old ones and our daughters both of the age to want to actually help scoop snow (go figure), my wife took it upon herself to purchase a new shovel. She brought home, it turns out, not just any shovel, but a new 27" Suncast Pusher with graphite blade and galvanized steel wear strip at the point of impact. It is outstanding! It is fifty per cent wider than our smallest shovel and cut my shovel time greatly. It is so amazing that shoveling the driveway has been turned from a chore into an opportunity for triumph over the elements. My wife made an excellent choice for which I am very grateful. As Solomon wrote, "House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD" (Proverbs 19:14).

I also quickly marveled at how we benefit from more and better capital goods while doing something as mundane as shoveling snow. It would be possible, after all, to clear my driveway without a shovel. It would take a tremendously long, cold, and tiring time, but it could be done. I could also have done it with one of our older and smaller shovels. That fact that my wife invested some of our savings in a newer, larger shovel greatly decreased my shovel time by greatly increasing my productivity. One more reminder that the truths of economics are manifest each day.

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