Terry Pratchett’s social commentary is as relevant today as it ever was

By June 9, 2020Authors, Literature

Terry Pratchett (28th April 1948 – 12th March 2015) is the author of the Discworld series and co-author of Good Omens, among others.

His books are so full of wonderful characters, fantasy, and humour that people sometimes forget how relevant his social commentary was and still is today. His most famous quote considers wealth and inequality:

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.” 

Considering the recent events in the USA and Europe where communities are protesting and rioting against societal racism, some Pratchett fans have taken to Twitter to express their support of movements such as Black Lives Matter with their favourite Pratchett quotes.

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