Peanuts …

A commonly known – und uncontested – pattern is that people who are more or less poor, have to turn every cent, 人民币, копейка, centavo … around and round before spending it … – so different to those who have enough, barely looking at the denomination.

And so it is as well on the “other side”, those who are at the receiving end, or those who are dealing with the “payers” – these are then people who do the same with the money they receive or that have to check, when closing a bank account, transferring petty money from these poorish people into another account or even country etc.: every cent, 人民币, копейка, centavo … has to be turned around and around again and again, forms have to be completed … .

The prayers of the rich and superrich may be better, more substantial, in any case surely: “closer to the higher ecehlons”, to those whom they elected as the political leaders and to heaven?.

Capital is said by a Quarterly Reviewer to fly turbulence and strife, and to be timid, which is very true; but this is very incompletely stating the question. Capital eschews no profit, or very small profit, just as Nature was formerly said to abhor a vacuum. With adequate profit, capital is very bold. A certain 10 per cent. will ensure its employment anywhere; 20 per cent. certain will produce eagerness; 50 per cent., positive audacity; 100 per cent. will make it ready to trample on all human laws; 300 per cent., and there is not a crime at which it will scruple, nor a risk it will not run, even to the chance of its owner being hanged. If turbulence and strife will bring a profit, it will freely encourage both. Smuggling and the slave-trade have amply proved all that is here stated.[1]

And so is it with all the rest of it – cum grano salis and at times inversely: A petty crime will be most likely detected and at court it will be turned around and around like the cents until a reason is found to penalise it I the most stern manner. The major and definitely criminal offense of speculators and other “functionaries” may even get away with some fanfares, re-interpreting the delict as support of economic development, act of fostering investment and growth and good deed.

You remember Brecht’s Macheath, asking in Act 3, scene 3

What is the burgling of a bank to the founding of a bank?

Indeed, we have to take up again o the wisdom of the ancestors, already struggling with a world characterised by these patterns

To nonsense, reason’s self they turn; Beneficence becomes a pest; Woe unto thee, that thou’rt a grandson born! As for the law born with us, unexpressed;– That law, alas, none careth to discern.


[1]            T.J. Dunning, l. c. [Trades Union and Strikes], pp. 35, 36; in: Marx, Karl, 1867: Capital; Volume I; in: Karl Marx/Frederick Engels. Collected Works; Volume 35; London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1996: 748, footnote 2


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