The following is a transcript from Cookie Monster’s recent guest lecture at the Harvard Business School. Like Kim K., he also wore his finest pinstriped pantsuit, black leather trench coat, and (though not for public viewing) SKIMS undergarments. Unlike Kim K., Mr. Monster opted to perform his speech to the tune of his smash hit, “C is for Cookie.”
Now what starts with the letter C? Cookie starts with C. Oh, Harvard Business School, I’m sure you can think of other things that start with the letter C.
C is for Career: It’s the reason all of you are here!
You want to climb corporate ladders and break glass ceilings,
Only if, in your pockets, billions appear.
Listen close; my intention is not to hurt your feelings.
C is for Capitalism:
Your favorite economic system
It made your clothes and the pens you use to write
And of course, who wouldn’t want Cheetos-flavored Sprite?
C is for Compete:
It’s the name of this capitalist game
You’re here training to be the winners
Because the winner takes it all
And the loser goes unnamed.
Remember how C stands for Cookie?
You’re the Business School, so it’s okay if I have to remind.
Well, take any corporation that, say, sells cookies,
And you’ll find exploitation baked inside.
Say you can bake 40 cookies in an hour
And they sell for a buck a piece
You set the oven, melted the butter, perfectly measured the flour
But because I am your boss, I give you $15 for the labor that I lease.
Not one of those cookies would exist without you,
But I, who performed no productive labor,
Will pocket the remaining $25, the surplus value.
I’ll spend it exactly how I like — thanks, my little baker!
C is for Counterargument:
“But the capitalist takes all the risk!” you say.
“It is very difficult to open a bakery in today’s day and age.”
Is that sufficient reason to pocket someone else’s pay?
There is a power imbalance inherent in the system of the wage.
A capitalist opens a business and risks losing it.
A worker takes a job and risks their autonomy — to someone else they must submit.
A capitalist loses their business and risks becoming a worker.
A worker loses their job and risks their life being thrown into disorder.
C is also for Commodification:
In capitalism, everything is for sale
Would you like to eat, breathe, live?
Get some money, place it on their golden scale.
Dear HBS, I hope my uncouthness, you’ll forgive.
See, even in this country with its abundant(ly misplaced) fortune
The number of states where you can work for minimum wage, full-time,
And afford a two-bedroom apartment is none, as of 2021.
Meanwhile the U.S. spends millions treating homelessness as a crime.
A surprise medical bill will cost you an arm, a leg, and your life.
As many as nine million American children went to bed hungry last night.
It’s no surprise that the U.S. is a site of such political strife,
When your net worth is the only thing that makes life a right.
C is for conflict
C is also for class
C is for class conflict
(Perhaps, at this point, it seems I’m reading straight from Das Kapital
But don’t dismiss me as a freedom-hating, Stalin-loving radical.)
If democracy is rule by the many,
But the needs of the many aren’t secure,
Something must be going amiss in a land with such plenty, —
Catering only to the interests of the entrepreneur.
Take, for example, C is for the CIA
(That C also stands for colonialism):
If a socialist leader in South America is elected with a resounding yay,
We simply must overthrow them– in the name of preventing despotism!
As an added plus, we keep taking their national resources — no one is in the way.
The corporate world lobbies for pipelines destroying Indigenous land
They manufacture missiles and demand a war to match
They say “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and take tax cuts from Uncle Sam’s hand
The world’s nearly in ecological collapse, and they’re still looking for profit to snatch.
C is for Change:
Change that’s good enough for us all
Change is always possible
No matter how big or how small
Before capitalism, feudalism was the mode of production.
Perhaps if you went back in time and asked a serf,
They never would’ve imagined feudalism’s destruction.
There was a system before capitalism and there will be one after
We can either ride the wave until into destruction and fascism we descend
Or the people, the working class, can become their own master.
C is for Collaboration:
Because human nature is not inherently one of deceit
Scientific innovations, orgies, disaster relief:
Society’s at its best when we collaborate, not compete.
C is for Collectivize:
Because why should Sidechat be democratic but not your workplace
Workers should have democratic control of the enterprise
They will keep the operation running while solving problems majorities face.
Workers would decide how to use the value of what they produce there,
And we’d see society decenter profit to prioritize community care.
If all vital products are accessible and free,
What need does anyone have to charge you for a single cookie?
Let’s give a title to this ideology of which I speak
It also starts with a C — the letter for which I am such a geek.
Drumroll, please… Cookieism is its name!
You all look a bit surprised — perhaps there’s a different C-word my ideas could claim.
The world is so big and so round
The world is a cookie
And if you dig so deep and so far into the ground
You will only find more cookie
If you take only one thing away from today,
We can all have a piece of the cookie: this is what I’ve attempted to convey.
Thank you for your time, I will take no questions, now I must dip–
It’s time for Cookie Monster’s afternoon chocolate chip.