February 1, 2018
"In business you ask what price, not what religion. And Protestant trousers keep you just as warm."
--Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage and Her Children, Translated by Eric Bentley (NY: Grove Press,  1955, pp. 52-53).
Ostensibly set during the Thirty Years' War between Catholics and Protestants (1618–1648), Mother Courage is the tale of a wandering saleswoman who follows armies across devastated battlefields, supplying soldiers and generals with alcohol and other comforts.
War creates the opportunity for profit, and peace the devastation of falling prices. Ironies abound, of course, and the play is a reflection of the devastation of World War II. While Brecht's play is ultimately anti-market and anti-entrepreneurial (I won't give away the ending), the quote above is a moving reminder of why markets solve some problems that ideology cannot.
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