Chapter 4: The American Dream

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"All these years, you've lived but you've never had a life."  - The Age of Adaline, in theaters April 24

The friendly exchanges between Mr Ambrose and Miss Linton continued with ever growing ferocity. About a month after the auction, both moved their business headquarters to the USA to have a larger battleground. The American economy was booming — just the right environment for two business moguls who wanted nothing so much as to eviscerate each other!

 People were streaming from the countryside into the cities, sure they could find better employment in a factory than on their family farm. Who needed farmers anyway? This was 1929, after all, a modern age! If everyone worked in a factory, they could just build machines to plant and harvest the corn for them! Besides, the economy was booming. The politicians promised it would never stop booming, and that soon, everybody would be rich! What could possibly go wrong?

Most of these cheerfully optimistic people found their ways into Lilly's or Mr Ambrose's many factories, where they produced cars, and lightbulbs, and razorblades and refrigerators — very, very many cars, and lightbulbs, and razorblades and refrigerators.

"More!" Mr Ambrose yelled, striding along the balustrade he'd had erected in this factory just like in all the others so he could glare at his slaving workers. It was a very efficient way of making them work three times as fast as normal. "Refrigerators! I want more refrigerators, do you understand? We will flood the market with our refrigerators! She will not sell another refrigerator ever again! We will have the monopoly on refrigerators all around the world! We will have the monopoly on everything all around the world! Work, people! Work faster!"

"Um..." Behind him, his current secretary cleared his throat. "Mr Ambrose, they can't work any faster. The assembly line is already going at top speed."

"Then invent a new top speed!"

"Err... Yes, Sir!"

"And do it right speedily!"

"Yes, Sir."

A moment passed. When, at the end of that moment, Mr Ambrose still felt the presence of his secretary behind him, he turned.


"Sir... I was just wondering..."

"Spit it out!"

"I was just wondering whether this," he gestured down to the assembly line full of refrigerator parts, "is actually such a good idea."

"Producing refrigerators?"

"Producing so many of them, Sir. Producing so much of everything."

Mr Ambrose's cold eyes bored into his very transitory employee. "And why, pray, is that not a good idea?"

"Well... I mean, what happens if we end up producing more goods than people can buy?"

"Then we are one step closer to gaining the monopoly and putting her out of business once and for all!"

"Well, um, yes, Sir, but don't you think there might be a slightly negative impact on the economy? Maybe we should reconsider and—"

This secretary was fired about a day later.

In the absence of critics, cheerful over-production continued. Mr Ambrose conquered the market on refrigerators, and while his back was turned, Lilly managed to get a de-facto monopoly on ovens. Swearing bitter revenge, Mr. Ambrose managed to take the market on car tyres, and so on and so on... 

Prices plummeted. There were so many cheap industrial goods around that people finally started asking themselves: "Why buy anything? It'll be even cheaper in a week or two."

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