Replacement ride – Chapter 2, Strip 293

And this is exactly why I think the age of armed conquest is coming to an end – why risk military adventures when you can just buy the economic assets that interest you? Tanks and Warplanes aren’t exactly cheap, after all, and they tend to end up damaging or destroying a good deal of the stuff you’re trying to get your hands on. Plus, if you conquer whole nations, there’s a considerable risk you’ll end up getting a whole lot more than you were bargaining for – you’re not getting just the economically interesting or at least scenic parts of a country, you’ll also get landfills, crumbling infrastructure, inhabitable backwaters…and you’ll be held RESPONSIBLE for all of it, as well!

No, the savy tyrant is likely to eschew the example of Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar in favour of a much more micro-targeted form of conquest: putting the money they squeezes out of their own populace into a sovereign wealth found and just buying up whichever choice pieces of foreign assets happen to be on the market. It doesn’t even take a second Napoleon to do it – and modern tyrants are less likely to labor under that time-worn delusion, anyway.

People like Stan are bound to thrive under such a system, of course…but, then, don’t people like Stan thrive under any system, anyway? And, no, Stan hadn’t consciously bought those companies – he got tricked! He had picked up a couple of brand-new SUVs which were on offer for free, and later was quite shocked to find that their trunks had been secretly stuffed – with car stocks. (Say against HUMMER what you want – but there sure aren’t many other cars large enough to slip somebody a controlling stake in General Motors without the buyer noticing…=P)

Anyway, with our villain equipped with a ride once more, everything’s shaping up for the final confrontation. And, yeah, he got the same model and color he had before – it’s a B-movie, after all: why build two different props when one can do, thanks to convenient assumptions? More on Thursday.

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