swreader wrote: Trish wrote:
Tina a.k.a.SusanSto.Helit wrote:Moist is Not in with these characters.
No. (Financial sector CEOs, etc bit here)
Set a thief to catch a thief is good.
Moist is scum.
Lots of snakes are fascinating to watch.
Trish, I think you are confusing Gilt and Moist. But I do think that Terry is writing about the financial world, swindles, and how they take place.
It seems to me that Moist pretty much has the view of the world that the great mass of people are a rather pedestrian kind of evil, and thus can be manipulated and deserve to be.
Moist's thefts from the forgeries at the banks are part of the game he plays seeing if he can outwit the rich and powerful--not for personal financial gain, but as a "game".
Nor has Moist, in his own mind, done anything all that wrong--because he hasn't seen the pain he has caused. He is quite insulted and yet upset by Pump's accusation that he has murdered 2.338 people.
But Moist changes in the course of the novel. He has a talent for manipulating other people and he really is far more intelligent than average. He has been forced by Vetinari's angel trick to see people as people. Consequently, he has developed a sense of conscience by the end of the book which is why he sets out to destroy Gilt and the Board of Directors of the Trunk. He is, in fact, the only one who can do it without destroying the society, which may explain why Vetinari chose him.
If one thinks of Moist in terms of Ponzi schemes, he'd be the original Ponzi--a small time con artist who took a number of people for what was a good deal of money to them, but not on a national scale.
Reacher Gilt (which sounds a bit like guilt) is much more like the type of corporate criminal you allude to. Gilt is operating on a much bigger scale with ambition so mad that even an Igor won't stay with him. He is the Bernie Madoff, the AIG, the Countrywide Executive (and all the others) of Ank-Morpork. It is significant, however, that Vetinari has the meeting with the Board of the Trunk at the beginning, and that Gilt (like a good Republican) insists that The Trunk is Private Property and cannot be regulated for the welfare of the state. We only come to see Gilt for the ruthless eveil man he is toward the end of the book.
Gilt remains a background figure until Pratchett has educated Moist. The fake message that Moist slips into the Trunk's transmission - The Charge from the Dead - is the revelation of the major corporate criminal. And like the amoral mad being that he is, Gilt is nowhere to be found by the time the message is read out. He has left his co-conspirators to "face the music" alone.
The Board of the Grand Trunk have taken over The Trunk because the original owners were not sophisticated enough in finance. This really is robbery with intent to kill. And Gilt's associates, the various bankers are corrupted by him, as he says in the final speech to Igor, because they are corruptible in nature. All of them have fiduciary responsibility to their depositors, shareholders, whatever--but they are embezzling for personal gain.
Gilt kills--not directly but like a corporate decision, without getting his hands dirty. He kills young Dearheart and he kills Angrahammrad by accident because he was trying very hard to kill Moist. Those people represent threats in some way to his operation and he is totally indifferent to the death of Angrahammrad and the near deaths of Groat and Stanley. He kills Horsefry because, although he is a part of the operation, he is also a threat, a weak link who might expose the scheme. And slowly but surely he is killing The Trunk--the operators who are forced to work in unsafe conditions, without adequate time for repair or rest for themselves. He is in the process of destroying one of Ank-Morpork's vital institutions and bringing an economic collapse like the Great Depression.
What distinguishes his activities from Moist's is Gilt's megalomaniac willingness to destroy a whole society for his personal gain. In roundworld terms, he is one of the "movers & shakers", the head of insurance industries, banks, oil and coal companies, who are concerned only for themselves because they believe they are the only people who matter.
Gilt steals money and life from society because he sees society, not as real individual people, but as a mass to be manipulated for his own profit.
My first reading of GP was that Terry had created a Butch Cassidy figure. A conman, yes, but a likable one. Then I read it again. And again.
Moist may differentiate himself from Gilt (whose name I read as "plated, false" rather than guilt), but he is no different. He is only unaware.
Embezzlement: Gilt & Co used Grand Trunk monies to buy the Trunk, but also dipped into other client's accounts to cover this. Not true embezzlement; just moving some numbers around. You know, like Moist did.
Yes, Moist blanches at Mr Pump's statement that he has killed "2.-whatever people" because he did not think through the damage he wreaked.
Wreaked is a pretty good word. How many people, now, in 1933, in 1873, lost everything because banks shuttered and paper money became worthless? And how many "did the Moist," knowingly and deliberately took advantage of those who did have a bit saved?
In GP (US paperback, pg 112), Gilt tells Horsefry that "nothing is going to go wrong" because Horsefry thinks of money in the old-fashioned way.
He goes on: "Money is not a thing. It is not even a process. It is a kind of shared dream. We dream that a small disc of common metal is worth the price of a substantial meal."
In MM (Us paperback, pg 107, 108), while being interviewed by Sacharissa, Moist uses Gilt's own analogy to describe worth
when he says: "Sell the gold to the dwarfs. Money is a commodity, nothing more. A potato is worth more than gold."
Yep, these are different books. However, someone mentioned the evolution of Moist's character. Oh, yeah... he evolved.
Gilt hired Mr Gryle to kill and destroy. He knew it and accepted the consequences
Moist destroyed, too; the difference is he did so at two removes and only when he was shown the shadow of his damage by Spike, did he realize his actions affected real people in real time.
Moist did not think of the consequences of his actions.
Does this make him a "nicer" con man?
Does his donation of the stolen 150AM to the PO really absolve him of his damage? Does that donation truly mitigate his deliberate forgeries and grift?
Graft has always been with us. Some famous author (no, pooh, I don't remember who and am not going to look it up to satisfy your curiousity) said "8% graft is acceptable."
Ok, I could live with the county commissioners, school district and the village skimming 8.
I could even live with the bank taking 8 for their trouble.
It's when they wade into 8x arbitrary-number-here that I get upset then even more upset when I do some simple math and see just how much has been appropriated for "society."
Thing with GP, just as with all Pratchett's other novels, is that it does deal with people now
and life now
It just hits much closer to home.
I am interested what Moist will do with the A-M tax office.