A passage from an old book I’ve been reading

It seems relevant right now. And well, I’ve always admired the Japanese for many aspects of their personality and culture, least of all their manifold contributions to the arena of, uh, sensual entertainment.

“The leaders of Nippon were stupid. They took all of the gold out of Tokyo and buried it in holes in the ground in the Philippines! Because they thought that The General* would march into Tokyo and steal it. But The General didn’t care about the gold. He understood that the real gold is here —” he points to his head “— in the intelligence of the people, and here —” he holds out his hands “— in the work that they do. Getting rid of our gold was the best thing that ever happened to Nippon. It made us rich. Receiving that gold was the worst thing that happened to the Philippines. It made them poor.

— Goto Dengo
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

  • The General the character is referring to is Gen. Douglas MacArthur. If you have to know, the entire book is a mishmash of WWII, crypto, and Yamashita treasure hunting. Cool.
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