Mr Burns as the Invisible Hand of the Market

YouTube is bursting with neat little pop-cultural essays, isn’t it?

I just watched a good one about Frank Grimes of The Simpsons and “the cult of work.” It explains how the capitalist workplace pits worker against worker while positioning wealthy employers as the savior.

It also points out that the conservative’s routine answer to poverty is “work harder” and, when that fails, well, hard work is good in its own right so at least you can be virtuous as well as tired.

Obviously, we’re far more like Homer* than Grimes here at New Escapologist. We have long advocated for the opposite of Grimey’s values. We say that that hard work isn’t inherently or morally valuable and that hard work evidently isn’t the answer when you consider how the rich got rich and stayed there. “Nobody earns a billion dollars,” says the essay over pictures of Mr. Burns, “they steal it from the labour of those who have no choice but to take low-wage jobs in a system that previous billionaires maintained for new billionaires.”

(*though in a key way we are not like Homer. Homer continues to work, albeit ineffectively, and reaping the consumerist “rewards” of wage slavery instead of coming up with a coherent escape plan. He does try to escape in some episodes though, doesn’t he? I might be misremembering, but in the one about Maggie’s birth, his dream was to quit the nuclear plant and work in a bowling alley; he seemed to have been maneuvering himself into this position through some sort of plan before it was scuppered.)

Check it out. If you don’t care about the exploitation of billions of people for a wealthy few, it’s still just nice to think about the golden age of Simpsons. For all the flaws of the libertarian writer’s worldview, Frank Grimes’ funeral is still a great comedy moment. “Frank Grimes… or Grimey as he liked to be called.” Ahaha.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to find out if Odo on Deep Space Nine was a fascist collaborator.

Are you a Homer or a Grimes? Either way, the invisible hand at least allows you a copy of The Good Life for Wage Slaves.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

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