An excerpt from George Orwell’s Animal Farm (2009 edition):
Gloom hung heavy over the farm. It had been many months now and most feared that the farm faced bankruptcy. That is until one day, from the upper-most window of the farmhouse came the victorious squeals; “Everything’s going to be ok comrades! We’ve made a big fat profit of £2980!”
All the animals instantly erupted into a rapturous chorus of cheers, as many had worked their asses off – especially the asses – and lost so much through these difficult times. A tear could be seen forming in the thick-set eye of Old Boxer, who had suffered immeasurably since coming back from retirement. “The dream’s still alive,” he croaked.
“Does that mean we can now celebrate?!” squawked Single-Mother Goose.
“Not yet,” said Old Major sternly. “We, the pigs, shall be giving ourselves a ‘bonus’ feast tonight, but that is only to reward ourselves for all our hard work.”
“But we’ve all worked hard!” bellowed Old Boxer, “I’ve lost my retirement to this farm!”
“Yes, but some hard work is more hard-working than others,” replied the Major. “And besides, we’ve all made sacrifices in these difficult times. I mean, I even stopped drinking Cognac.”
“But what about these fat profits then, comrade?” shouted wise old Benjamin. “Surely we’re owed some of that? After all, we’re the ones who have propped-up this farm!”
“Yes, but that was systemic, rather than directly propping-up of the farmhouse, wasn’t it? Besides, you are indeed owed some of the profits – at 0.1% your savings – however, with the deduction of stable’s rent at 8% interest, I’m sorry to say there’s none left.”
“But I had saved so much! Why is that interest gap so astronomically wide?” called Benjamin.
“Hard times me boy, hard times,” said the Old Boar.
“So what are you going to do with all the money then?” flapped Single-Mother Goose.
“We will be giving most of the money to our ‘valued shareholders’ – us Pigs. The rest we will hold onto for the public good, as only We the Pigs, know how to invest it efficiently within the marvellous market economy.”
“Such as on a lavish feasts for yourselves, comrade?” hollered Benjamin.
“Who ever said anything about comrades? The feast is merely proportional compensation,” calmed the Old Major. “After all, you wouldn’t want us taking our skills to other farms instead now, would you?
At this all the animals began muttering as they recalled how the Hens had been ousted from their hutch as the Pigs had deemed it necessary to sell off the wood.
“Shouldn’t we have some sort of committee to ensure that you pigs always invest responsibility and for the good of everybody on the farm?” asked one of the horses.
“What!?” cried Napoleon. “Regulation is the absolute enemy of prosperity. It is a concept invented by Mr Jones and other deviants. The farm will fall into ruin if there’s any regulation. Anyway, the intricacies and complexity of the farm means that you animals couldn’t possibly understand all the work us Pigs do.”
“We believe in self-regulation. We will shoulder the burden of ensuring the stability of the farm, as only we pigs can do”, finished the Old Major. “What you’ve got to understand is that this is all for the public good. And don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll all benefit from the beauty of trickle-down economics – We’ll throw the scraps of our feast into the swine bowl for you all!”
“This is totally unfair!” shouted Single-Mother Goose. “What gives you the right? We haven’t seen you do one day of hard work!”
“Oh, We’ve been very busy in this house, calculating liquidation rates, fractional reserves, bond payments, dividend supplements, and or course, investment potentials for all of you! And you, Single-Mother Goose,” he said with a fire in his eye, “are swiftly falling in your potential.”
“And what exactly does all that jargon mean?” retorted Single-Mother Goose.
It means we will have to repossess your Goose House,” squealed Napoleon the Pig. The Old Major nodded.
“We might as well take our skills to other farms then,” growled Old Boxer. The animals, all nodding in unison, began to leave.
“Wait! You simply can’t do that!” hurried the Old Major. “You cannot let this farmhouse fail.”
“Why? Wouldn’t that be the true market economy that you so dearly cherish?” said wise old Benjamin.
“But comrades, we’re too important to your wellbeing!” shouted the Old Boar.
“Hard times me boy,” replied Benjamin over his shoulder, “hard times.”