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September 29, 2006

a silly game   (quote)

It began to dawn on [Thorby] that control and ownership were only slightly related; he had always thought of "ownership" and "control" as being the same thing; you owned a thing, a begging bowl or a uniform jacket—of course you controlled it!

The converging, diverging, and crossing of corporations and companies confused and disgusted him. It was as complex as a firecontrol computer without a computer's cool logic. He tried to draw a chart and could not make it work. The ownership of each entity was tangled in common stocks, preferred stocks, bonds, senior and junior issues, securities with odd names and unknown functions; sometimes one company owned a piece of another directly and another piece through a third, or two companies might each own a little of the other, or sometimes a company owned part of itself in a tail-swallowing fashion. It didn't make sense.

This wasn't "business"—what the People [a tribe of space merchants, traversing an intergalactic silk road] did was business... buy, sell, make a profit. But this was a silly game with wild rules.

  - Robert A. Heinlein, Citizen of the Galaxy

Posted by yargevad at September 29, 2006 01:23 AM

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