Rope for sale?

Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

In it’s common usage, I’m not sure this is a strong critique of capitalism. It suggests that capitalist systems more efficient to the degree that the best way for non-capitalist societies to acquire quality hanging rope at reasonable prices is to import them. It seems to suggest that in the absence of capitalist rope production and export, hanging would be impossible. Leave it to a communist to assume that the availability of an item (e.g., rope) is entirely determined by a single supplier’s willingness to sell it to you.

Whereas, a good capitalist knows that the only rational thing to do is to sell the rope with which one is hanged[1].

Let’s say that you desire to hang me, you bastard. First, it is reasonable to assume that, this being prior to the successful completion of your communist revolution as capitalists still need hanged[1], I am not the only supplier of rope. Even if I am the only supplier of rope, it is reasonable to assume that a communist lynch mob will be perfectly happy to forcibly take some of my rope supply without paying for their nefarious purposes. Failing that, it is unlikely that an industrious communist lynch mob would fail to find some way, regardless of the technical implements that may or may not be at hand, to slay me (e.g., fists of fury, trampling, Barbara Streisand karaoke-fest, etc.).

Under these conditions, it is my rational and responsible duty to sell you the rope with which I shall be hanged for the following reasons (not all reasons apply equally to all conditions):

  1. The care of my family, which is about to be deprived of its father.
  2. Improving the sales figures of my rope company in order to attract investors.
  3. Open new markets for my product (e.g., rope imports by communist lynch mobs).
  4. Increase market share over other rope suppliers, who are competing to sell the rope with which I shall be hanged[1].

Would capitalists sell you the rope with which you will hang them? Of course! They’d be stupid not to.

Oh, wait, the rope is a metaphor? Well, too bad, I spent too much time writing that junk above to change it now. Maybe nobody will notice.


  1. Grammar lesson. Remember it is “hung like a horse” and “hanged like a horse thief”.

Author: Josh Witten

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