AN ARGUMENT THAT SMAUG COULD HAVE PROVIDED AN ECONOMIC BENEFIT. A comment by Dr. Dan H. on the Guerilla Economist post makes an argument that Smaug could have been “an economic good”. One dragon could have provided protection against the depradations of multiple dragons. (“Where you have one big, solitary dragon you won’t get another one.”) A negotiation with Smaug might reach a settlement “whereby the dragon gets fed, watered and occasionally gets more gold in return for keeping other dragons away….” Dr. Dan H. concludes that: “The only real trick is how you get the dragon to sit still and listen for long enough to make the pitch to it.”
Historical analogies come to mind. Think of ancient Rome as a dragon. Tribes that became “Allies” of Rome received protection from other ravagers and pillagers in return for taxes and other considerations.