In this scene from Monsieur Vincent, the French chancellor summons Vincent de Paul to his well-appointed office to receive a valuable lesson in the management of the underclass. Challenging the social and political structures that give rise to yawning disparities is out of the question. But effective managers have many options. For example, Bottom of Pyramid (BoP) consumers with “severely limited resources” can have their product awareness and demand appropriately “stimulated,” generating market rate returns for Impact Investors. In times of fiscal belt-tighetning, the poor can be persuaded to allow their unused organs to be harvested for the benefit of the more productive classes. The bracing effect of the market will ultimately separate the winners from the losers, driving the latter to an early demise and thus relieving the strain on public coffers. If we’re impatient, we can simply “disappear” the poor, putting out of sight a demographic that undermines our faith in the benevolence of market forces. The goal is an uninterrupted flow of capital and goods, a sustained growth in the GDP. And for this we need good order. How to achieve it? Best not to ask too many questions.
Chancellor: The poor are multiplying and they’ve become a real threat. Beggars everywhere! And nowadays, if you don’t give them anything they threaten you.
Vincent de Paul: They’re hungry.
Chancellor: With my job, I have other kinds of hunger to appease! France is hungry, for safety, for order ... I’ve requested your presence here because I have some good news. After your life-long dedication to them, you’ll be happy to hear that, in two days, there will be no more poor people!
Vincent de Paul: How?
Chancellor: It’s very simple. They’re under arrest.
Vincent de Paul: But poverty is not a crime.
Chancellor: I’m afraid it very surely leads to it. My job is to anticipate, and that’s what I’m doing.