I love the illustration for Christopher Hitchens' Vanity Fair
story, "America the Banana Republic." It's based, of course, on the beautiful Jack Davis poster
for Woody Allen's Bananas
Hitchens' piece is well worth reading, too.
I was very struck, as the liquefaction of a fantasy-based system proceeded, to read an observation by Professor Jeffrey A. Sonnenfeld, of the Yale School of Management. Referring to those who had demanded -– successfully -– to be indemnified by the customers and clients whose trust they had betrayed, the professor phrased it like this:
America the Banana Republic
These are people who want to be rewarded as if they were entrepreneurs. But they aren’t. They didn’t have anything at risk.
That’s almost exactly right, except that they did have something at risk. What they put at risk, though, was other people’s money and other people’s property. How very agreeable it must be to sit at a table in a casino where nobody seems to lose, and to play with a big stack of chips furnished to you by other people, and to have the further assurance that, if anything should ever chance to go wrong, you yourself are guaranteed by the tax dollars of those whose money you are throwing about in the first place! It’s enough to make a cat laugh.
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