19

In the comic, Scrooge discovers that, due to a weird law, he legally owns a big copper ore mining operation just as the price of copper skyrockets.

The "owners" say that Scrooge knows that their lawyers will "get your silly loophole overturned", but they also mention that waiting for that will cost them a lot of money due to no active operations. So they offer Scrooge ten grand as a one-off deal for him to give legal rights to them to continue running their mining operation without Scrooge. Scrooge looks tempted at first, but decides that this was his big chance and he wasn't going to take that relatively small sum of money.

Then he gets a telegram saying that his family back home in Scotland need cash and for him to come home quick due to serious economic problems with their clan. Saddened, Scrooge decides to accept the offer, taking the first boat home.

But why would he do that? Why not keep the valuable copper mine and make that amount and much more in no time? Does he really physically need to be there for the mining operation to function? Couldn't he just go back to Scotland and wait for the money to be sent by whatever means they surely had in the late 19th century to transfer wealth reliably cross-country?

I get that the lesson is supposed to be that Scrooge didn't get and stay rich so "easily", but since he did decide on keeping the mine already, why backtrack on that just because you personally had to go back home? Is there something I'm missing? Did he assume that they would find a way to take it back if he couldn't be there and fight for it every day and fend off people?

34

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Scrooge is a lone prospector who's just gotten very lucky with the help of an obscure legal ruling and a lot of support from a wealthy patron who happens to have taken a shine to him as he passes through.

His claim on the mine is based on his ownership of the homestead on which the copper vein ends, which in turn requires him to occupy the land continuously in order to remain valid. As soon as he leaves, someone else will move into the homestead and the claim to the mine will be theirs and not his.

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Now, he could theoretically hire a passel of fine lawyers to defend his claim in his absence (noting that he does nominally own a valuable asset that he could at least try to borrow against) but in reality he's got no ready cash plus he needs to leave urgently.

Better to take the cash offer than try to fight it out from afar.

1
  • ooh.. the 'used nooses' joke is dark. – lalala Mar 4 at 9:57

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