Wednesday, October 15, 2008


As we're constantly reminded, the collapse of the market means that we need financial experts now more than ever. Despite the infantile protestations of a demagogic populace rejecting its betters, it's painfully apparent to the educated classes that expertise is crucial at this conjuncture. Bertolt Brecht wrestled with a similar situation in the 1930s, and I thought a poem of his might help us illuminate our current position.

Difficulty of Governing

Ministers are always telling the people
How difficult it is to govern. Without the ministers
Corn would grow into the ground, not upward.
Not a lump of coal would leave the mine if
The Chancellor weren't so clever. Without the Minister of
No girl would ever agree to get pregnant. Without the
Minister of War
There'd never be a war. Indeed, whether the sun would rise
in the morning
Without the Fuhrer's permission
Is very doubtful, and if it did, it would be
In the wrong place.

It's just as difficult, so they tell us
To run a factory. Without the owner
The walls would fall in and the machines rust, so they say.
Even if a plough could get made somewhere
It would never reach a field without the
Cunning words the factory owners writers the peasants: who
Could otherwise tell them that the plough exists? And what
Would become of an estate without the landlord? Surely
They'd be sowing rye where they had set the potatoes.

If governing were easy
There'd be no need for such inspired minds as the Fuhrer's.
If the worker knew how to run his machine and
The peasant could tell his factory from a pastryboard
There'd be no need of factory owner or landlord.
It's only because they are all so stupid
That a few are needed who are clever.

Could it be that
Governing is so difficult only
Because swindling and exploitation take some learning?