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The Genius of Capitalism

The genius of capitalism is

that if you have lots of money

then you have lots of friends.

And if you have lots of friends

and if they’re the right kind of friends

you’ll always have lots of money

even when you fail

 

The genius of capitalism is

that Kenneth Lay doesn’t have to worry

about his retirement.

Leave that to his former employees

 

The genius of capitalism is

that money talks.

My money talks to your money

and your money talks back.

What? You haven’t got any money?

Speak up. I can’t hear you

 

The genius of capitalism is

that Kenneth Lay can say Enron stock

is a great buy

while he’s selling.

And Enron executives can say Enron stock

is a great buy

—sign here, we’ll load up your pensions with it—

while they’re selling.

And investment analysts—

remember what I said about friends?

Investment analysts can say Enron stock

is a great buy

even when it’s going down, down, down

like the people who listened

because they didn’t know they were listening

to liars

 

The genius of capitalism is

that the invisible hand

will make everything all right

as long as people act in their enlightened self-interest.

And if they act in their unenlightened self-interest

the invisible hand

will make everything all right

for those whose unenlightened self-interest

speaks loudest

and has the most friends

 

The genius of capitalism is

that oil men

can become presidents

and vice presidents

and still be oil men

and still work for oil companies.

And when an oil man becomes president

he remembers his friends

with deregulation and tax breaks and seats at the policy table

and forgets his friends

when reporters ask too many questions.

Kenneth Lay?

Isn’t he the Enron guy?

Just met him

Daddy mentioned him once or twice

 

The genius of capitalism is

that you give me your time

and your labor

and your money

because you think you’re in on the game

but you don’t know the secret rules.

You too can get rich

but you won’t

not if you listen to me.

Because I lie

and people believe me

because they want to believe me

because they want to be in on the game.

Well you’re in on the game

you’re the loser

 

The genius of capitalism is

that Kenneth Lay still has lots of friends

and still has lots of money.

You’d have lots of money too

if you had invested it wisely.

Why did you invest in Enron

when Kenneth Lay and the other wise ones were selling?

Next time listen to the analysts

I mean next time don’t listen to the analysts

 

The genius of capitalism is

that if you have lots of money

then you have lots of friends.

And if you have lots of money and friends

then you have lots of power.

And if you have lots of money and friends and power

then you own the oil wells

and you own the road

and you drive the biggest, meanest car.

Move over

and stay out of my way

when I’m behind the wheel

and I’m riding with a genius

the genius of capitalism.

—Stephen Leon


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