Sabrina, the odd tale of a love triangle between two wealthy brothers and chauffeur’s daughter. It’s a classic love story, despite being a little non-standard in its setup, but it also has a wonderful understanding of the larger motions of economics. Now I have talked about Sabrina before, and for this very same reason, but I feel the need to bring it up again as one of the movies that really understands how economics and capitalism actually work.
And this is first and foremost due to one little speech in the early parts of the movie that shows the character Linus Laraby (Humphrey Bogart) , and by extension the writer of the film, understood the true and positive nature of capitalism, outsourcing, and globalization.
LINUS LARRABEE: What’s money got to do with it? If making money were all there were to business it’s hardly worthwhile going to the office. Money is a by-product.
DAVID: What’s the main objective? Power?
LINUS: Agh! That’s become a dirty word.
DAVID: Well then, what’s the urge? You’re going into plastics now. What will that prove?
LINUS: Prove? Nothing much. A new product has been found, something of use to the world. So, a new industry moves into an undeveloped area. Factories go up, machines are brought in, a harbor is dug and you’re in business. It’s purely coincidental of course that people who’ve never seen a dime before suddenly have a dollar. And barefooted kids wear shoes and have their teeth fixed and their faces washed. What’s wrong with a kind of an urge that gives people libraries, hospitals, baseball diamonds and movies on a Saturday night?
Capitalism creates prosperity and wealth where none existed before.
And while more data is presented even Bhagwati’s book In Defense of Globalization, does not put the power of capitalism so succinctly as Linus’ speech.
Capitalism, business, creation, innovation, this is what rich can bring us through investment and management…
…and occasionally a romantic plot line as well.
This is actually what motivates a lot of people—this is the motivation of Ayn Rand’s heroes that she could never actually articulate in a way that was acceptable to most people—this is why capitalism works, because people love creating things that make the world better AND get paid to do it! You mean I get to do something great AND make a fortune? Sign me up.
The romance, the comedy, the bizarre situations in this movie, for me all is secondary to the beauty of this one little speech. This speech points out quite well that the free market and free trade are what bring prosperity to the whole world. That in spite of whatever idiotic ramblings of any ignorant leftist, capitalism and investment don’t rob from people they bring what people want and need.