observance of free lunch law


Observance II
Soon after Baron James Rothschild made his fortune in Paris in the early
1820s, he faced his most intractable problem: How could a Jew and a German, a total outsider to French society, win the respect of the xenophobie
French upper classes? Rothschild was a man who understood power-he
knew that his fortune would bring hirn status, but that if he remained socially alienated neither his status nor his fortune would last. So he looked at
the society of the time and asked what would win their hearts.

 The French couldn't care less. Political influence? He already
had that, and if anything it only made people more suspicious of hirn. The
one weak spot, he decided, was boredom. In the period of the restoration
of the monarchy, the French upper classes were bored. So Rothschild
began to spend astounding sums of money on entertaining them. He hired
the best architects in France to design his gardens and ballroom; he hired
Marie-Antoine Careme, the most celebrated French chef, to prepare the
most lavish parties Paris had ever witnessed; no Frenchman could resist,
even if the parties were given by a German Jew. Rothschild's weekly
soirees began to attract bigger and bigger numbers. Over the next few
years he won the only thing that would seeure an outsider's power: social
Strategie generosity is always a great weapon in building a support base,
particularly for the outsider. But the Baron de Rothschild was cleverer still

He knew it was his money that had created the barrier between hirn and
the French, making hirn look ugly and untrustworthy. The best way to
overcome this was literally to waste huge sums, a gesture to show he valued
French culture and society over money. What Rothschild did resembled
the famous potlatch feasts of the American Northwest: By periodically destroying its wealth in a giant orgy of festivals and bonfires, an Indian tribe
would symbolize its power over other tribes. The base of its power was not
money but its ability to spend, and its confidence in a superiority that
would restore to it all that the potlatch had destroyed.
In the end, the baron's soirees reflected his desire to mingle not just in
France's business world but in its society. By wasting money on his potIatches, he hoped to demonstrate that his power went beyond money into
the more precious realm of culture. Rothschild may have won social acceptance by spending money, but the support base he gained was one that
money alone could not buy. To secure his fortune he had to "waste" it. That
is strategie generosity in a nutshell-the ability to be flexible with your
wealth, putting it to work, not to buy objects, but to win people's hearts.
Observance III
The Medicis of Renaissance Florence had built their immense power on
the fortune they had made in banking. But in Florence, centuries-old republic that it was, the idea that money bought power went against all the
city's proud democratic values. Cosimo de' Medici, the first of the family to
gain great fame, worked around this by keeping a low profile. He never
flaunted his wealth. But by the time his grandson Lorenzo came of age, in
the 1470s, the family's wealth was too large, and their influence too noticeable, to be disguised any longer.
Lorenzo solved the problem in his own way by developing the strategy of distraction that has served people of wealth ever since: He became
During the campaign
of Cambyses in Egypt,
a great many Creeks
visited that country for
one reason or another:
same, as was to be
expected, for trade,
same to serve in the
army, others, no doubt,
out of mere curiosity, to
see what they could see.
A mongst the sightseers
was Aeaces 's san Sylosan, the exiled brother
of Polycrates of Samos.
While he was in Egypt,
Syloson had an extraordinary strake of luck:
he was hanging about
the streets of Memphis
dressed in a flamecolored cloak, when
Darius, who at that
time was a member of
Cambyses's guard and
not yet of any particular importance,
happened to catch
sight of him and, seized
with a sudden longing
to possess the cloak,
came up to Syloson
and made him an offer
for it.
His extreme anxiety to
get it was obvious
enough to Syloson,
who was inspired to
say: "1 am not selling
this for any money, but
if you must have it, 1
will give it to you for
free. " Darius thereupon
thanked him warmly
and took it. Syloson at
the moment merely
thought he had lost it
by his foolish good
nature; then came the
death of Cambyses and
the revolt of the seven
against the Magus, and
Darius ascended the
throne. Syloson now
LAW 40 341
had the news that the
man whose request for
the jiame-colored cloak
he had formerly gratified in Egypt had
become king of Persia.
He hurried to Susa, sat
down at the entrance of
the royal palace, and
claimed to be included
in the official list of the
king's benefactors. The
sentry on guard
reported his claim to
Darius, who asked in
surprise who the man
might be. "For surely, "
he said, "as I have so
recently come to the
throne, there cannot be
any Greek to whom I
am indebted for a
service. Hardly any of
them have been here
yet, and J certainly
cannot remember
owing anything to a
Greek. But bring hirn
in all the same, that J
may know what he
means by this claim. "
The guard escorted
Syloson into the royal
presence, and when the
interpreters asked hirn
who he was and what
he had done to justify
the statement that he
was the king\· benefactor, he reminded
Darills of the story of
the cloak, and said that
he was the man who
had given it hirn.
"Sir, "

Darius, "you are the
most generous of men;
for while J was still a
person of no power or
consequence you gave
me a present-small
indeed, but deserving
then as much gratitude
from me as would the
most splendid of gifts
today. J will give you in
return more si/ver and
gold than you can
count, that you may
342 LAW 40
the most illustrious patron of the arts that history has ever known. Not only
did he spend lavishly on paintings, he ereated Italy's finest apprentiee
sehools for young artists. It was in one of these schools that the young
Miehelangelo first eaught the attention of Lorenzo, who invited the artist to
eome and live in his house. He did the same with Leonardo da Vinei. Onee
under his wing, Michelangelo and Leonardo requited his generosity by beeoming loyal artists in his stable.
Whenever Lorenzo faeed an enemy, he would wield the weapon of
patronage. When Pisa, F1orenee's traditional enemy, threatened to rebel
against it in 1472,

 Lorenzo plaeated its people by pouring money into its
university, whieh had onee been its pride and joy but had long ago lost its
luster. The Pisans had no defense against this insidious maneuver, which simultaneously fed their love of culture and blunted their desire for battle.
Lorenzo undoubtedly loved the arts, but his patronage of artists had a praetieal funetion as weH, of whieh he was keenly aware. In F10renee at the
time, banking was perhaps the least admired way of making money, and
was eertainly not a respected souree of power. The arts were at the other
pole, the pole of quasi-religious transeendenee. By spending on the arts,
Lorenzo diluted people's opinions of the ugly souree of his wealth, disguising hirnself in nobility. There is no better use of strategie generosity than
that of distraeting attention from an unsavory reality and wrapping oneself
in the mantle of art or religion.
Observance IV
Louis XIV had an eagle eye for the strategie power of money. When he
eame to the throne, the powerful nobility had reeently proven a thorn in
the monarehy's side, and seethed with rebeHiousness. So he impoverished
these aristoerats by making them spend enormous sums on maintaining
their position in the eourt. 

Making them dependent on royal largesse for
their livelihood, he had them in his claws.
Next Louis brought the nobles to their knees with strategie generosity.
It would work like this: Whenever he notieed a stubborn eourtier whose influenee he needed to gain, or whose troublemaking he needed to squelch,
he would use his vast wealth to soften the soil. First he would ignore his vietim, making the man anxious. Then the man would suddenly find that his
son had been given a weH-paid post, or that funds had been spent liberally
in his horne region, or that he had been given a painting he had long coveted. Presents would flow from Louis's hands. Finally, weeks or months
later, Louis would ask for the favor he had needed all along.

 A man who
had onee vowed to do anything to stop the king would find he had lost the
desire to fight. A straightforward bribe would have made him rebeHious;
this was far more insidious. Facing hardened earth in whieh nothing eould
take root, Louis loosened the soil before he planted his seeds.
Louis understood that there is a deep-rooted emotional element in our attitude to money, an element going baek to ehildhood. When we are ehil-
dren, all kinds of complicated feelings about oUf parents center around
gifts; we see the giving of a gift as a sign of love and approval. And that
emotional element never goes away. The recipients of gifts, financial or
otherwise, are suddenly as vulnerable as children, especially when the gift
comes from someone in authority. They cannot help opening up; their will
is loosened, as Louis loosened the soil.
To succeed best, the gift should come out of the blue. It should be remarkable for the fact that a gift like it has never been given before, or for
being preceded by a cold shoulder from the giver. The more often you give
to particular people, the blunter this weapon becomes.

 If they don't take
your gifts for granted, becoming monsters of ingratitude, they will resent
what appears to be charity. The sudden, unexpected, one-time gift will not
spoil YOUf children; it will keep them under YOUf thumb.
Observance V
The antique dealer Fushimiya, who lived in the city of Edo (former name
for Tokyo) in the seventeenth century, once made a stop at a village teahouse. After enjoying a cup of tea, he spent several minutes scrutinizing the
cup, which he eventually paid for and took away with hirn. A local artisan,
watehing this, waited until Fushimiya left the shop, then approached the old
woman who owned the teahouse and asked her who this man was. She told
hirn it was Japan's most famous connoisseur, antique dealer to the lord of

The artisan ran out of the shop, caught up with Fushimiya, and
begged hirn to seIl hirn the cup, which must clearly be valuable if Fushimiya
judged it so. Fushimiya laughed heartily: "It's just an ordinary cup of Bizen
ware," he explained, "and it is not valuable at all. The reason I was looking
at it was that the steam seemed to hang about it strangely and I wondered if
there wasn't a leak somewhere." (Devotees of the Tea Ceremony were interested in any odd or accidental beauty in nature.) Since the artisan still
seemed so excited about it, Fushirniya gave hirn the cup for free.
The artisan took the cup around, trying to find an expert who would
appraise it at a high price, 

but since all of them recognized it as an ordinary
teacup he got nowhere. Soon he was neglecting his own business, thinking
only of the cup and the fortune it could bring. Finally he went to Edo to
talk to Fushimiya at his shop. There the dealer, realizing that he had inadvertently caused this man pain by making hirn believe the cup had great
worth, paid hirn 100 ryo (gold pieces) for the cup as a kindness. The cup
was indeed mediocre, but he wanted to rid the artisan of his obsession,
while also allowing hirn to feel that his effort had not been wasted. The artisan thanked hirn and went on his way.
Soon word spread of Fushimiya's pUfchase of the teacup. Every dealer
in Japan clamored for hirn to seIl it, since a cup he had bought for 100 ryo
must be worth much more. He tried to explain the circumstances in which
he had bought the cup, but the dealers could not be dissuaded. Fushimiya
finally relented and put the cup up for sale.
During the auction, two buyers simultaneously bid 200 ryo for the
teacup, and then began to fight over who had bid first. Their fighting
never regret that yuu
unce did a favur to
Darius the son of
Hystaspes. " "My lord, "
replied Syloson, "do
not give me gold or
silver, but recover
Samos fur me, my
native island, which
now since Oroetes
killed my brother Polycrates is in the hands
of one of our servants.
Let Samos be your gift
to me-but let no man
in the island be killed
or enslaved. "
Darius consented to
Syloson 's request, and
dispatched a force
under the command
of Otanes, one of the
seven, with orders to do
everything that Syloson
had asked.
M oney is never spent to
so much advantage as
when you have been
cheated out of it;for at
one stroke you have
purchased prudence.
1 788-1860
LAW 40 343
Kung-yi Hsiu, premier
of Lu, was fond offish.
Therefore, people in
the whole country
consäentiously bought
fish, wh ich they
presented to him.
However, Kung-yi
would not accept the
presents. Against such a
step his younger
brother remonstrated
with him and said:
" You like fish, indeed.
Why don't you accept
the present offish?" In
reply, he said: "It is
solely because I like
fish that I would not
accept the fish they
gave me.
Indeed, if I accept the
fish, I will be placed
under an obligation to
them. On ce placed
under an obligation t()
them, I will some time
have to bend the law. If
I bend the law, I will be
dismissed from the
premiership. After
being dismissed from
the premiership, I
might not be able to
supply myself with fish.
On the contrary

, ;f I do
not accept the fish from
them anti am not
dismissed the premiership, however fond of
ish, I can always
supply myself
with fish. "
344 LAW 40
tipped over a table and the teacup fell to the ground and broke into several
pieces. The auction was clearly over. Fushimiya glued and mended the
cup, then stored it away, thinking the affair finished. Years later, however,
the great tea master Matsudaira Fumai visited the store, and asked to see
the cup, which by then had become legendary. Fumai examined it. "As a
piece," he said, "it is not up to much, but a Tea Master prizes sentiment and
association more than intrinsic value." He bought the cup for a high sumo
A glued-together work of less than ordinary craftsmanship had become
one of the most famous objects in Japan.
The story shows, first, an essential aspect of money: That it is humans who
have created it and humans who instill it with meaning and value. Second,
with objects as with money, what the courtier most values are the sentiments and emotions embedded in them-these are what make them worth
having. The lesson is simple: The more your gifts and your acts of generosity play with sentiment, the more powernd they are. The object or concept
that plays with a charged emotion or hits a chord of sentiment has more
power than the money you squander on an expensive yet lifeless present.

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