Backhand Theory of Economics

By Sir Titus Titmouse

The so-called "Backhand Theory of Economics", attributed to the anarcho-syndicalist guerrilla and vaudeville actor Carl "Zeppo" Marx, is an infamous retort against the economist Adam Smith's "Invisible Hands" theory.

In his An Inquiry into the Sinister Nature and Nefarious Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Smith proposed that two metaphorical hands steer the market to achieve its optimal function; the right hand represents "natural" market forces which tend towards market equilibrium, and the left hand represents some kind of shadowy international conspiracy, secretly manipulating the market to their own mysterious ends.

Marx, upon meeting Smith in a pub in Shropshire, remarked that Smith's theory was "a load of bourgeois, capitalist, anti-Semitic hogs-wallop." Marx then offered his own theory that the market could be better represented as one effete aristocratic hand holding the chin of the worker, while the other lands a backhanded slap across the worker's cheek.

Marx then attempted to illustrate his theory with an impromptu impersonation of his brothers' vaudeville slapstick routine, and the resulting pub brawl grievously injured several apparently innocent bystanders, including the Archduke Franz Ferdinand-Nagy of Hungary, whose subsequent death led to The Trans-Sylvanian Troubles and, ultimately, the fall of the Hungarian Empire.

See: The Trans-Sylvanian Troubles, Zeppo Marx


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