Wired magazine has an article about a new game called “Cutthroat Capitalism.” The game is wonderful, if only because of the reaction to the game. Some people in the comments section of the article are outraged, like “Silentboom,” who says, “Robbery is not capitalism. True capitalism is driven only by willing participants who are transacting for the good of each. Organized crime is in no way shape or form, capitalism. This is crime, extortion, kidnapping, theft, etc. The breaking of laws, and worse the threat of violence can never be described as capitalist.” Apparently, Silentboom missed the news about Enron, Arthur Andersen, Bear Stearns, Bernie Madoff, WorldCom, and the latest monetization of human organs in New Jersey. Those examples are the tip of the capitalist iceberg.
But let’s give Silentboom the benefit of the doubt. Silentboom might be living in the Hamptons next door to Frank Newbold, Ivy League-educated acting chairman of the East Hampton Village Zoning Board of Appeals, a body that by its actions shows that capitalism is just as Silentboom imagines it, pure, non-violent, lawful, non-threatening. Newbold and his ilk have delayed expansion of the East Hampton Library, because they feel threatened by the less affluent.
Library Director Dennis Fabiszak has said that the East Hampton Village Board of Zoning Appeals has expressed concern that an expanded children’s collection would lead to more library usage by those who live in the less affluent areas of Springs and Wainscott.
The rich do not want the poor using libraries for obvious reasons. By using a zoning board, this kind of violence to the less affluent can be done lawfully. The acting chairman of the zoning board knows how to use the law, because it looks as if Frank is a Senior Vice President with Sotheby’s International Realty in East Hampton. Can we call Frank and the other board members criminals for participating in a decision that kept books from less affluent children? I do not expect Silentboom would, though it looks as if the members of the zoning board intended to act in a bloodless, cutthroat manner.
At Boing Boing, one of the people responding to the article about the library expansion writes about the board members, “How do they sleep? Seriously, how the fuck do they sleep?” Likely on 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton purchased by a servant (personal assistant). As Newbold said in a 1998 Fortune article entitled “Spoils of a Pig Market,” living in East Hampton is “strictly about rewarding yourself.”