A time-saving tip when reading the daily news

Reading the classic literature helps in many ways.  Such as saving time when following current events.  The same patterns repeat themselves over and over, facilitating recognition and understanding.  For instance, consider the current financial crisis.  Speculators of all kinds, from banks to hedge funds, have made bad bets and lost money.  Accordingly, we are told, they must be bailed out for the sake of the nation.

Today’s reading is from “Major Barbara” by George Bernard Shaw (1906), Act III.  The speaker is Andrew Undershaft, co-owner of the vast munitions company Undershaft and Lazarus.

The government of your country!  I am the government of your country; I, and Lazarus.  Do you suppose that you and half a dozen amateurs like you, sitting in a row in that foolish gabble shop, can govern Undershaft and Lazarus?

No, my friend; you will do what pays us.  You will make war when it suits us, and keep peace when it does not.  You will find out that trade requires certain measures when we have decided on those measures.

When I want anything to keep my dividends up, you will discover that my want is a national need.  When other people want something to keep my dividends down, you will call out the police and military.

And in return you shall have the support and applause of my newspapers, and the delight of imagining that you are a great statesman.

Government of your country!  Be off with you, my boy, and play with your caucuses and leading articles and historic parties and great leaders and burning questions and the rest of your toys.  I am going back to my counting house to pay the piper and call the tune.

I hope you have found this helpful.  Our regular geo-political analysis will resume this evening, again grappling with Chet Richards’ question:  can the America re-embrace the Constitution?

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