Let’s be Frankenstein about the economy

Partially recovered original transcription by M. Shelley, ethics board stenographer.

Proceedings of medical board of inquiry, October 1818

Panellist 1: Thank you for giving up your time to come here today, Dr… ‘Fronk-en-steen..?’

Frankenstein: It’s Frankenstein, we’re not doing a Mel Brooks spoof here… [whispering from lawyer]… er whatever that might be. [To lawyer: ‘Really? 156 years?]

Panellist 2: Yes… moving on. Can you please describe the nature of your work?

F: I was employed by the Monsanto corporation…[whispering from lawyer]

P2: Strike that comment from the record please, Miss Shelley.

F:…er… by an anonymous benefactor, I mean, to investigate the reanimation of dead tissue. Strictly for medical purposes.

P1: And can you describe the results of your experiments?

F: They were all published on my blog

P2: Come on Doctor, no one actually reads anyone’s blog. [Panellists, Frankenstein and lawyer all look to one side of room whilst raising eyebrows or performing other comic mug, for some reason]

P1: For the sake of proceedings, Doctor, can you perhaps briefly summarise?

F: My experiments were going extremely well, all of the body parts were working well together and my creation was growing stronger by the day. It was… superhuman.

P2: And then what happened?

F: The creature became destructive, a danger to all around it. It was only a matter of time before it caused some sort of catastrophe.

P1: There are reports that you may have inadvertently transplanted the brain of a psychopath into the creature, Doctor?

F: Well, where some see a psychopath, others might see a strong leader… it’s true, the brain was taken from a place with a track record for psychopathic behaviour.

P2: And what measures were taken to put things right?

F: Well of course, we tried the obvious things, reason, begging, cajoling… but the creature ignored us, it was… drunk on its own power, becoming ever more callous and destructive.

P2: And this is what led to the fire?

F: It had to be destroyed, you see. Utterly destroyed.

P1: This is our concern, you see, Doctor. This seems extreme. Expensive. That’s why we put out the fire, at great expense, I might add, and saved your work.

P2: Very expensive. Could you not simply replace the brain? Make some modifications?

F: No, no… the paradigm is wrong… corruption is inevitable, a limitation of nature. You can’t concentrate that much power in one place, you see.

P1: After so much time and investment, surely this can be made to work? We cannot allow so much effort to be wasted.

F: No, not wasted. We have learned so much. We must heed the lessons, find different solutions to the problems that we were addressing, working with nature, not seeking to control it.

Panellist 3: [Clearing throat] Excuse me, gentlemen, but it seems to me that we’re straying from the issue somewhat. This is in danger of becoming a convoluted metaphor.

F: Yes of course! The world economy! That’s what we’re really talking about! Grown too powerful, too prone to corruption and misuse by unprincipled men… to make way for a more benevolent system we must…

P1: That’s quite enough of that, thank you Doctor.

P3: It seems clear to me that stricter control needs to be exercised. The Doctor’s creation will need to be carefully monitored if its great strength is to be of benefit to all.

F: You’re mad! Mad I tell you! It will destroy you all! [Dragged from room by burly guards]

P1: A regulatory body.

P2: And the press?

P1: We need a positive spin. The creation needs to be seen as essential, so that however monstrous it might appear, we cannot do without it.

P2: Will the public believe that?

P3: As long as we make the whole thing seem sufficiently complex. Smoke and mirrors, gentlemen. Fooling most of the people, most of the time is enough.

P2: And you’re sure that we can’t be found out?

P3: As long as we exercise a little caution. And I’m sure that Miss Shelley’s discretion may be relied upon…

…Fragment ends.

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