Ben the Businessman

Ben the Businessman has a simple, objective purpose in life:
to maximize his production and exchange it for goods and services,
thereby increasing his access to resources– e.g. food, water, housing,
young, beautiful women willing to marry him despite his ever-expanding

stomach, repressed inferiority complex displayed outwardly as obnoxious
overconfidence, and the extreme lack of passion that is the inevitable outcome
of a philosophy that reduces a human being to a biological machine. He is fairly
apolitical, cares little for any cause, but he is known to suddenly grow passionate

the moment it is suggested that the poor have a right to live comfortably.
I’ve maximized my production and efficiency, he says, why can’t they?
He doesn’t see mothers working until midnight just to feed their crying babies,
nor children leaving school to work in the factories his company sets up overseas.

He operates on the principle of rational self-interest, but seemingly has no interest
in his self, his actual self. He is interested in the self that wears the fancy suit and tie
and believes the poet must be exaggerating when she proclaims that there is beauty
in the world. He takes no pleasure in anything. He is saving up for a beautiful gravestone,

reading: here lies Ben, who was very efficient.

Lydia Hirsch is a poet, writer, and socialist living in Southern California. She can be reached at: Read other articles by Lydia.