Sign Painters of the World Unite!

James McWilliams is an historian at Texas State University-San Marcos who has appeared on this blog before. He writes to tell us that he was driving in Austin when he passed a (presumably) homeless man holding up this sign:


McWilliams liked the sign so much that he offered the man $10 for it. “Evidently,” McWilliams says, “more than his labor was for sale.” The sign now hangs in McWilliams’s office.

Perhaps capitalism doesn’t suck as much as the man thought.


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  1. Derick says:

    This reminds me of that “‘Capitalism Sucks’ T-Shirts: $29.95″ comic.

    It also reminds me of those benches selling their own ad space, that say “by looking at this ad can calling this number, you’re *proving* bench advertisements work.” But by not calling it, the proof is gone. You make the right decision either way. Weird.

    While the situation itself is humorous, his sign doesn’t even have an arguement. It just has a bunch of Marxist-style words and sentences and then a stark evaluation of capitalism. It shows how vapid our culture’s political analysis that this sign is considered insightful.

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  2. Tim says:

    Well, the sign says that “capitaism”, not capitalism, sux. So maybe he is opposed to those who discriminate on a per capita basis.

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  3. xuanie says:

    This is a case where the commentator obviously has not read Marx. If he did, he’d understand that it requires labor to make this sign. Hence, the homeless guy was in fact selling his labor.

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  4. Joe says:

    Derick (#1)–Did you really expect him to write the entire argument on a single sign? It is an amusing summary of the argument and is nicely illustrated by the circumstances of the guy holding the sign

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  5. Jack says:

    @xuanie: unless someone else made the sign and donated to the homeless man :-)

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  6. econobiker says:

    That sign is from a much higher standard than the typical “Will work for food.” begging sign but far less smart of an idea than the “Please dontate money to keep me from stealing.” sign which is perhaps inspired by corporate methodologies.

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  7. Free Drive Ro says:


    No need for the sign to make an argument, look around you for the proof (unless you’re a bankster, then life is probably good)

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  8. matt says:

    he probably stole that marker.

    if he did, he was paid to steal. or encouraged, rather.

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