Sunday, April 5, 2009

30-year-old Economic Wisdom from Peter Sellers

It's Sunday, and I'm taking a day of rest from blogging to tend to my garden. But as I started uncovering my long-suffering perennials, I was reminded of one of my favourite movies of all time, "Being There". If you haven't seen it, and don't want slight spoilers, watch the movie first then read this later.

Chance, the illegitimate and developmentally disabled son of a millionaire, gets thrown out of his ancestral home and ends up as as an unintentional economic guru to the Washington political elite. They think he talks in metaphor, when really his entire world revolves around gardening. It's all he knows. He's the thinking man's Forrest Gump.

In this scene, Chance is introduced to the President of the United States by Benjamin Rand, his new powerful patron. What follows may be from a 30-year-old movie, but it's relevant right now. (Cut and pasted from IMDB)

President "Bobby": Mr. Gardner, do you agree with Ben, or do you think that we can stimulate growth through temporary incentives? [Long pause]

Chance the Gardener: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.

President "Bobby": In the garden.

Chance the Gardener: Yes. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.

President "Bobby": Spring and summer.

Chance the Gardener: Yes.

President "Bobby": Then fall and winter.

Chance the Gardener: Yes.

Benjamin Rand: I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy.

Chance the Gardener: Yes! There will be growth in the spring!

Benjamin Rand: Hmm!

Chance the Gardener: Hmm!

President "Bobby": Hm. Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time. [Benjamin Rand applauds]

President "Bobby": I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.
I'll be back tomorrow with original content. Now back to that garden...

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