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Humphrey Bogart, Globalization and "Sweat Shops"

September 20, 2004

50 years ago the delightful romantic comedy Sabrina (1954), starring Audrey Hepburn and directed by Billy Wilder, was released. The other two stars of the film play the scions of a wealthy business family that own and manage an international business conglomerate. Linus Larrabee (Humphrey Bogart) is the older, responsible brother who is passionately devoted to the family business. David Larrabee (William Holden) is the younger playboy brother who doesn't understand his brother's calling.

In this startlingly relevant and stirring exchange, Linus explains to David why he is so passionate about further developing the family business:

David: "You've got all the money in the world."

Linus: "What's money got to do with it? If money were all there was to it, it'd hardly be worthwhile going to the office. Money is a by-product."

David: "What's the main objective, power?"

Linus: "Ah, that's become a dirty word."

David: "Well, then, what's the urge? You're going into plastics now. What will that prove?"

Linus: "Prove? Nothing much. A new product has been found, something of use to the world, and so a new industry moves into an undeveloped area. Factories go up, machines are brought in, a harbor is dug, and you're in business. It's purely coincidental of course that people who never saw a dime before suddenly have a dollar and barefooted kids wear shoes and have their teeth fixed and their faces washed. What's wrong with a kind of an urge that gives people libraries, hospitals, baseball diamonds, and movies on a Saturday night?"

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