McStudge’s guide to capitalism

Reposted from a comment on The Passive Voice, in response to a discussion on Amazon, and why consumers hate and fear it so. (This remark may possibly have been made with the tongue somewhere in the vicinity of the cheek.)

Well, that’s capitalism for you.

You see, my poppets, under the capitalist system, the Wicked Capitalist (who always wears a top hat and a waxed moustache, like Snidely Whiplash; that is how you recognize him) gets his money by forcibly abducting Sweet Cathy Consumer and tying her to the railroad tracks in front of an onrushing locomotive: on which, for reasons not yet fully understood, is mounted a furiously whirling buzz saw. Nobody ever buys anything voluntarily, you see; it is all done by force and fraud. And of course Snidely twirls his moustache whilst he is doing it. That bit is Very Important.

All genuinely cultured and caring persons, including (it goes without saying) Great Authors and the Great Publishers who graciously permit them to live on leftover dog kibble, and occasionally on even richer and more Lucullan repasts than this, believe that there is a far more enlightened system, under which Sweet Cathy Consumer gives all her money to a Wise and Benevolent Bureaucracy, which then spends it for her on the Things That Really Matter (such as dog kibble for the right kind of Great Authors, and Mercedes-Benzes for the bureaucrats). Of course, if Sweet Cathy is insufficiently public-spirited (as, for some perverse reason, she almost always is), the Wise and Benevolent Bureaucrats will themselves have to resort to the locomotive and buzz saw to get her money out of her. But this is totally different from when a Wicked Capitalist does it, because, you see, it is All For Her Own Good and the Good of Society. Also the Benevolent Bureaucrats are clean-shaven, so they do not twirl their moustaches.

Just remember, nobody ever bought anything voluntarily from Evil Amazon. Then, my poppets, you will be properly educated so as to swallow the rest of the stories we require you to believe.

   H. Smiggy McStudge


  1. You got it, precisely. I never buy anything ‘voluntarily’ from Amazon: only because disability makes it impossible for me to shop normally (no energy, and can’t stand for even a few minutes before it gets very uncomfortable), am I forced to let the Evil A spend my money for me, from their (bounteous – strike that) niggardly selections.

    I have no choice.

    Too bad I love it. I must be one of those stupid consumers the Great Publishers rail about.

  2. Let me add my tail of woe: I have gotten over two hundred dollars, cover-price, in books
    (5 high quality children’s research books worth over $25 each by the cover price, each; two ancient paleontology books averaging over $40 each, and one that is only about five bucks)
    in the last two weeks, and spent less than fifty.

    It also reduces the number of books thrown away for space, since half of those were from Goodwill locations nation-wide.

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