Friday, December 2, 2016

A Christmas Carol - meet cast member Lawrence O. Grey, Jr. and learn more about Mr. Fezziwig!

Tell us about Mr. Fezziwig.
Mr. Fezziwig is a character from the novel "A Christmas Carol created by Charles Dickens, to provide contrast with Ebenezer Scrooge's attitudes towards business ethics.  Scrooge, who apprenticed under Fezziwig, is the very antithesis of the person he worked for as a young man.  Mr. Fezziwig is portrayed as a happy, foopish man.  In Act 1, Scene 5 of A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of Christmas Past takes Scrooge to revisit his youthful days in Fezziwig's world located at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution.  Dickens used Fezziwig to represent a set of communal values and a way of life which was quickly being swept away in the economic turmoil of the early nineteenth century.

Scrooge is reminded how his own values have diverged greatly from those of someone he once admired.  Fezziwig is also a capitalist, but he moderates profit maximization with kindness, generosity, and affection for his employees.  In the novel and researching Fezziwig's life, we see more is revealed of what happened to Fezziwig and more of Scrooges evolution to the stingy miser he became.

Fezziwig:  "It's not just for the money alone that one spends a lifetime building up a business...It's to preserve a way of life that one knew and loved.  No, I can't see my way to selling out to the new vested interests, Mr. Jorkin.  I'll have to be loyal to the old ways and die out with them if needs must".

In the end, Jorkin hires away from Scrooge and buys out Fezziwig's business, moving it from private to shareholder ownership.  As an agent of shareholder interests, Jorkin and his managers, Scrooge and Marley, are constrained from diverging from the goals of profitability, making it more difficult to be a Fezziwig even if they were inclined to.  Fezziwig's successor Jorkin demonstrates the weakness of self-interest when he announces to the Board of Directors that the company is insolvent after years of embezzling.  Scrooge and Marley demonstrate their cunning self-interest by using the crisis to attain controlling interest in the company.  These new managers replacing the Fezziwig's are predatory towards shareholders and employees alike, the product of a process and a mindset that Dickens felt was at odds with humanity itself."

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