Saturday, January 8, 2005

What's Your Price?

A flurry of news stories lately has reminded me of this old story:
George Bernard Shaw once found himself at a dinner party, seated beside an attractive woman. "Madam," he asked, "would you go to bed with me for a thousand pounds?" The woman blushed and rather indignantly shook her head.

"For ten thousand pounds?" he asked. "No. I would not." "Then how about fifty thousand pounds?" he contined.

The colossal sum gave the woman pause, and after further reflection, she coyly replied: "Perhaps." "And if I were to offer you five pounds?" Shaw asked.

"Mr. Shaw!" the woman exclaimed. "What do you take me for!" "We have already established what you are," Shaw calmly replied. "Now we are merely haggling over the price."
Apparently, every man has his price. For some, it seems, the price is obscenely low. How much would it take for you to sell your honor? Would you do it for a million dollars? How about a quarter of a million? How about even less than that?

Editor & Publisher reports the sad story of a cheap media whore who was bought off by some much more expensive whores.
Tribune Media Services (TMS) tonight terminated its contract with columnist Armstrong Williams, effective immediately. But Williams told E&P that he plans to continue his feature via self-syndication.

TMS' action came after USA Today reported this morning that Williams had accepted $240,000 from the Bush administration to promote the No Child Left Behind education-reform law on his TV and radio shows. E & P subsequently reported that Williams had also written about NCLB in his newspaper column at least four times last year.
Meanwhile, CBS has been reporting on the shady dealings of a high-class whore. Well, maybe not high-class, but certainly high-priced.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Darleen Druyun, but she’s been spending a lot of your money — your tax money.

For 10 years, Druyun was the Air Force official who decided how much to pay for bombers, fighters, missiles -- you name it. She had such a reputation for toughness, she was commonly known as "The Dragon Lady." Which is why there is shock that Druyun, one of the most powerful women in Washington, is headed to prison.

In the biggest Pentagon scandal in 20 years, it appears that billions of dollars were doled out to the Boeing Company, as Druyun was accepting personal favors for her family.
Click on the links to read the full stories, if you think you can stand it.

Meanwhile, consider this: If you work for the government, the bribes you take will come from the private sector. But if you work for the private sector, the bribes will come from the government. Vicious circle. Vicious world.

I'm beginning to think that greed is the most destructive disease known to man. Once you catch it, you can never have enough money. You can never have enough of anything. Your life ceases to imitate art and begins to imitate Monopoly. From then on, you're doomed to go round and round, buying up everything you can get your hands on, and for what?

While you're enjoying that thought, here's another piece from Peter Hammill.

You've got some shares in a speculative venture
you've got some stock in a gilt-edged bond
you're stretched out tight by the terms of debenture
the game is on

You chase the bulls in eternal Corrida
the thought of loss is more than you can bear
you scan the index for a market leader
a tip and a prayer

You better see daylight
night comes on the City so soon
You say you are a Christian capitalist
but you dance to a different tune

Jobs for the boys and dole for the shop-floor
rationalize, strip the assets and run
If the contract stalls, then you've just got to cop more
ain't Monopoly fun?

You made some pretty deals along the way
Judas and Faust are in accord
When the revolution comes you may be blown away
but I bet you'll end up on the board

Only the money
Only the money

Sometime in the future you may realise
that the day you made your decision
to follow money as a goal
was your darkest dawn
and that, since then
you have venerated figures as deities
and, for you
people are just pawns

But that includes you
you're just an asset like the rest
and you, too, stripped naked, beg the Money-God
not to put you to the test
But He's got no further use for you
Now there is silence on the floor

Clever money-computers chatter privately
There's no people anymore

Only the money
No people anymore