Our modern pilgrim sets forth in search of Worldly Wlsemen who might vouchsafe us a cure for our economic woes. Encountering puzzlements and contradictions, he explores the gloomy Caves of Establishment Dire, survevs the Spires of Oily Araby, discovers the perilous Valley of the Crossover. Along the way he meets Good News John, the Rueful Banker, the Jolly Hoarder, the Worried Multimillionaire. He strives to find the elusive Crisis of Energy, and vainly seeks sanctuary from the Beast of Inflation, which gnaws at the Virtues of Work and Thrift. When last seen, he is adrift in the Sea of Uncertainty.
If oil is $22 a barrel, does that mean $2 bread and 10 cent dollars? Do oil countries care about unemployment and inflation in the West? If USC fields a winning football team, will the Saudi Arabians be nicer to us? And what are they going to do with all that wealth? These are some of the many questions Adam Smith found himself asking when he traveled to the Middle East recently with the United States Secretary of the Treasury.