The Greed And Capitalism Of Milo Minderbinder

2342 words - 9 pages

Joseph Heller's early sixties novel Catch-22 is a satirical representation of war and America's bureaucratic system. It is a comical and witty book which gradually seems to become more somber in its depiction of war and human suffering. In my paper I will mainly focus on Milo Minderbinder, one of the two main characters of the book, who as the personification of modern capitalism and human greed in general just like the mood of the book progressively changes from humor to fierce satire.
At the beginning of the book it doesn’t seem like the Milo Minderbinder is going to become the metaphor of capitalism and greed he later turns into, since he starts out as a simple mess hall officer, who as it says in the book, only wants to “give the men in the squadron the best meals in the whole world” and for whom “the position of mess officer was a sacred trust”. (Heller, 65) He is even described by Heller through the eyes of the main protagonist Yossarian as having a “simple, sincere face that was incapable of subtlety or guile, an honest, frank face” and as “a man of hardened integrity who could no more consciously violate the moral principles on which his virtue rested than he could transform himself into a despicable toad”. (Heller, 66) An example of the integrity Milo possessed in the beginning is also the episode where Milo gets McWatts stolen bedsheet back from the thief by making him think that he was going to give him dates, giving us thus a preview of his trade abilities. Milo’s moral principles are evident in the fact that he didn’t even want to borrow dates from the mess hall because he’d consider it stealing from the government, so he borrows them from Yossarian and returns them to him as promised along with a piece of McWatts bedsheet as a sign of gratitude .Later he returns a piece of the bedsheet to its rightful owner, but also keeps one as a as he puts it reward for his enterprise, work and initiative.(68) .This piece is for Milo’s famous syndicate which is here only in its beginning stage of development. Although Milo’s division of the bedsheet was illogical, absurd and comical, based on this one gets the impression that Milo is a friendly, trustworthy and moral character, who cares about his friends in the squadron and is always ready to help them. However, this seems less true the deeper into the story we get. It doesn’t mean that later on in the story Milo doesn’t care about his squadron at all, but simply that Milo puts profit and business ahead of it.
As his syndicate starts to develop it is quite absurd and comical but it seems as if though Milo’s intentions are in the right place. The reason he names for even starting this syndicate is so that he can give the good men in the squadron the food they deserve. (Heller, 69) At first it also seems quite kind from Milo that everyone has a share in the syndicate and therefore gets a part of the profit, but throughout the book it becomes more and more ludicrous and farcical since it is...

Find Another Essay On The Greed and Capitalism of Milo Minderbinder

The Trend of Democracy, Capitalism, and Globalization

617 words - 2 pages . One after another, the countries that make up the world's financial system are making the shift to a market-based economy. The fairly revolutionary trend of democracy, capitalism, and globalization, has been gaining momentum and storming the earth continent at a time; it will continue to do so in the foreseeable forecast. People of all tongues are coming to the realization that prosperity is a mutually dependent element, to reach it, we must

Greed In The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath

1179 words - 5 pages The Modernist movement took place in a time of happiness, a time of sadness, a time of objects, a time of saving, a time of prosperity, a time of poverty and in a time of greed. Two novels, written by Steinbeck and Fitzgerald, portray this underlying greed and envy better than most novels of that period. These novels, The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath, show that despite the difference between the 1920s and the 1930s, greed remained a

Greed and Power…The Death of a Society

1093 words - 4 pages In his satiric essay, A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift proposes eating children in order to highlight the fact that other plausible measures for fixing Ireland’s economic problems are being ignored. Swift implies that a nation’s most significant problems stem from the greed of the wealthy. He asserts this through his use of diction, satire, and ethos. Diction is used by the author in order to imply that those who are financially blessed

Corporate Greed and the fall of Our Economy

2231 words - 9 pages Today our economy is in a tail spin between greed from such corporate giants as Enron, WorldCom, and the nonsense lending from our leading institutions such as Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Our country has lost sight of what the American dream was based on. We have allowed a chosen few to over spend rip us off as a nation break our banks, and then ask us to bail them out on the backs of the tax payer.Congress passed a $700 billion rescue bill

The Inevitability of Capitalism

1297 words - 5 pages The exact origin of capitalism is unknown and to precisely trace its inception is, as Joyce Appleby says, a conundrum in itself. However, speculation negating the inevitability of capitalism is an even greater feat and rather fruitless. Appleby’s research and evidence thus far, support a great part of her assumptions retracing the colorful history of capitalism, though her case against its inevitability falls short. The question at hand is

Between the Forest and Greed?

940 words - 4 pages recreated. This seems far fetched from the eyes of an historian. Referring back to the history of the earth, one can assume that before humans inhabited the land that forests burnt to the ground leaving nothing but charred remains. Yet forests still exist today. Now, when they are threatened by fire, we save them instead of allowing nature to take its course. Meadows gives the reader a choice between 'the forest and greed'. If her choices were

The History of Capitalism

1434 words - 6 pages The History of Capitalism Capitalism is based on the same principles as mercantilism. The accumulation of means, materials, land and other things, this accumulation is called capital and “the property-owners of these means of production are called capitalists” (Hooker 2). Productive labor, human work that is necessary to make goods and distribute them, takes the form of wage labor. “The means of production and labor is manipulated by the

The contradictions of Capitalism

1536 words - 7 pages which acts as the driving force of capitalism. As a consequence, the capitalist creates a society which is alienating and brutal for the laborer. However, the domination of the capitalist system leads to the creation of a collective working group that can become a form for human development and the creation of new radical social changes. The core domination of capitalism lies with the domination over the capitalist himself. The purpose of capital

the future of capitalism

2232 words - 9 pages Third World History Book Report .      This book report reflects upon the writings of Lester C. Thurow in his 1996 book - "The Future of Capitalism". Thurow is a professor of economics at M.I.T. School of Management and has been a contributing editor to the Newsweek journal. "The Future of Capitalism" is an analytical look at the state of world economics in the late Twentieth Century. Thurow

Reversing the Culture of Greed

1158 words - 5 pages In the article entitled “Reversing the Culture of Greed,” Jung-kyu Kim gives us the opportunity to explore current America’s societal breakdown, which we attempt to view through the eyes of George Herbert Mead and James S. Coleman. We will focus on James S. Coleman’s Rational Choice Theory and its ramifications on present-day society and explore George Herbert Mead’s theory of Symbolic Interactionism as a solution to these ramifications

Max Weber’s "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism"

2391 words - 10 pages Max Weber’s work The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is arguably one of the most important works in all of sociology and social theory, both classical and modern. In the decades since its inception, this work has gone on to influence generations of social scientists with its analysis of the effect of Protestantism on the development of modern industrial capitalism. This work, examining such broad topics as religion, economics, and

Similar Essays

The Definition Of Capitalism: Greed Essay

1022 words - 4 pages Michael Novak once said , " Capitalism must be infused by that humble gift of love called caritas . " While this is a very moving and true concept , this is not the reality we live in . Our modern free enterprise , which derived its structure from the Catholic Church of the eighteenth century , is infused with many things , and love most certainly is not one of them. Although , Capitalism is essential for us to continue progressing into a

The Pros And Cons Of Greed

1225 words - 5 pages some individual benefit out of the less informed shareholders. This may be good from the CEO’s point of view, but the shareholders would hardly agree. It is this example of greed that is most applicable to our area of study and which can be contrasted from simple notions of profit maximization. In his paper "Market Crash Born of Greed", Lester Thurow recognizes that capitalism relies on the “good” version of greed, the desire to serve our own

The Evil Virtues Of Greed And Corruption

928 words - 4 pages their miseries on the farm. The animals’ memories of their misery on the farm prevent them from celebrating their newfound freedom. Throughout the novel, Napoleon attempts to gain power through diabolical strategies and extensive manipulation, just as the humans once did to him. In an attempt to grasp power, new leaders apply the same tactics previously used on them, promoting the evil virtues of greed and corruption. Throughout the novel, Napoleon

The Greed Of Man Essay

862 words - 3 pages The poem The Greed of Man shows readers what is bound to happen to the Earth because of the selfish nature of men. Through the tone of the speaker, the figurative language and rhetoric devices used, and the rhythm and rhyme, the poem exemplifies the Macbeth theme of insatiable greed, and its eventual destruction of the Earth. The poem The Greed of Man begins by describing many of the Earth’s pleasures and attractive features. The unknown