Never Ending Campaign

Friday, February 9, 1996

Call it Conspiracy 4

Date:  96-02-09 14:13:41 EDT
From:  JGetz          

FRIEDMAN: These are "credit cards."
BURNS: a sort of cashier's check?
FRIEDMAN: No. It's a sort of credit line the bank establishes at a high rate
of interest.
BURNS: Letters of exchecquer?
FRIEDMAN: It's digital...done with computers. These have actually been around
for awhile...
BURNS: I'm a bit out of touch on that--gold's the thing for me. (tossing
coin--SMITHERS reflexively grabs it) But to the point...about these
SMITHERS: Credit cards.
BURNS: (to FRIEDMAN) You're loaning them money? I fail to understand. We
don't want them to have money.
FRIEDMAN: But it's easy money--very easy. It changes their buying pattern.
More impulse purchases...
BURNS: Ah, I see...electronic geegaws and playpretties. Ephemeral diversions,
soon discarded.
FRIEDMAN: Yes sir. As opposed to investing in houses, businesses, capital.
We'll dry that up.
BURNS: (doing a double-take) What? The one hand doesn't know what the other's
doing, sir. You're opening the Keynsian sluices with this...this wafer-thin
thing...and shutting down the flow at the other end. How ever shall you
justify it?
FRIEDMAN: We're combatting inflation.
BURNS: (snickering) Combatting...inflation?
FRIEDMAN: Yes. It's called Monetarism. We'll raise the prime rate to keep
people from spending too much...
BURNS: (waving credit card) And at the same time they'll be spending like mad
with this lozenge--but not on capital. Hahaha. No capital investment. I see.
banks won't be loaning money to small businesses, black people--but they will
be loaning money for comestibles, alcoholic beverages, clothing,
haircuts...why the lower orders might as well take their children's
inheritance, put it in a big pile and set it on fire! Why this is quite
FRIEDMAN: But...of course they'll wind up owing the bank money.
BURNS: Yes...and as the bumper sticker says.."I owe, I owe, it's off to work
I go"...there's a lot of wisdom in the bumper stickers, shouting in the
street, as it were.
SMITHERS: A very biblical metaphor, sir.
BURNS: Debt leads to industry...commendible. All those idle hands will be put
to work. None of that spare change encouraging hippies, drug addicts and
artists. But I forsee another problem...
SMITHERS: What's that, sir?
BURNS: If they're working...won't they be making something? All that wealth has to go somewhere, and if
everyone's making more of it, we can't help but distribute some to the lower
orders, now can we?
SMITHERS: We've anticipated that as well, sir. They won't be making
anything--most of them.
BURNS: If they're working, why aren't they making anything?
SMITHERS: We're going to call it a "service economy."
BURNS: Service economy?
SMITHERS: Yes, sir. Restaurants, cleaning services, window washing.
BURNS: But what know...the white collar set?
SMITHERS: We've got the Tofflers working on that--a nice little puff piece.
ALVIN TOFFLER: We're going to call it the "information age"...nobody makes
anything anymore...just ideas...information.
BURNS: I see. (flapping his arms) And we're all going to go flying away into
a big happy cloud--just like Peter Pan, haha. But...of course...if they
create those ideas in my factory, on my analytical engines...they are my
ideas, now aren't they?
SMITHERS: Absolutely sir.
BURNS: I think I'm beginning to like this service economy. You know what I
like about it?
SMITHERS: What sir?
BURNS: A service economy is an economy of servants...
SMITHERS: Hahahaha. Very witty. Very witty, sir.
BURNS: I think that will do. Meeting adjourned--now lets try out the sauna,
shall we?
(They push away from the table, walk out. Chatting, happy.)

BURNS: A bit of a sweat, a roll in the snow, and a good stiff birching. Quite
the thing, eh Smithers?
SMITHERS: (stuttering) Ye...yes, sir.

(They walk off down a hall. We still hear them, faintly, fading out.)

BURNS: Does this mean I can wear my top hat in public again?
SMITHERS: Yes sir.
BURNS: Beat them?
SMITHERS: Of course, sir.


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