Perhaps it would be worthwhile at this juncture-as the Kingdom marches bravely
and progressively forward with the sustainable development of a free market-based
economic system-to review some of the basics of how capitalism really works.
As any student even remotely familiar with the famous Scottish economist Adam "Pinch-a-Penny"
Smith (1723-90) knows well from a cursory glance at the Wealth of Nations, the First
Law of Capitalism is:
"There ain't no gawl dang free lunch so if the 'Invisible Hand' hasn't passed
by your neighborhood lately then you ain't seen nuttin' yet."
The Second Law of Capitalism, as amply demonstrated during this week's Independence
Day celebrations, is:
"And there ain't no free fireworks neither so expect the 'Visible Hand' to be
in yo face to collect."
Such was the experience of many of the cafe owners along the waterfront who received
polite visits from the Office of Fire Fighters soliciting donations of two cases
of beer per establishment. After all, what fun are fireworks without a few cold ones,
especially for the guys who deal with the issue daily!
The Third Law of Capitalism, evolving logically from the first two, says:
"Given that lunches ain't free, and recognizing that you ain't got no bread
to buy one, down a few bruskies and then just go out and steal it."
The expat donors who are supporting a program at Wat Unalom, which includes the provision
of a nifty generator, appreciated the defecits of this law when it became apparent
that some clever soul had run a line from the temple's generator to the new lamp
posts installed along the riverfront esplanade.
The donor's pockets were tickled pink to discover that their creatively financed
power bill was about one mile long.
The Fourth Law of Capitalism is quite important as it deals with what happens when
you get snagged on any of the first three Laws:
"Remain humble, don't get angry, give as an initial response 'Heh, heh, heh.
I don't know', and make sure you have a look of complete innocence on your face when
delivering the mandated response."
This Law was proclaimed because ignorance of the Law is totally excusable or, at
the very least, negotiable. Be prepared to bargain!!
The Fifth Law of Capitalism is as old as time itself and was best phrased by Thucydides
(c460-400 BC) in his The History of the Peloponnesian War:
"The strong do what they will and the weak do what they must."