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Altneuland- Theodor Herzl's Zionist Utopia

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"Sometimes," said David, "the wording is so clever that the listener does not suspect that he is listening to an advertisement. This paper yields enormous profits. The subscribers pay one shekel a month for the service, and get back far more than that in profits. There are no expenditures for paper, printing, or mailing. However, the municipality of Haifa and the New Society make this enterprise pay them tribute. And representatives of the New Society supervise the 'paper' at its headquarters so that no false or alarmist reports or obscenities may be dictated into the apparatus."

Friedrich was struck by a word which David had used.

"Tribute?" he asked. "How can the Haifa municipality or the New Society (you still have to explain the latter to us) simply make a private enterprise pay them tribute when it is profitable?"

"This is a very special instance. A telephonic newspaper must lay its cables somewhere. Now, under our streets, tunnels have been provided for the reception of all kinds of pipes and cables (present and future) for gas, water, sewage, and so on. This tunnel runs under the pavement, and a section of it branches off into every house. All the houses are fitted with subterranean connections for these cables. We do not have to tear up our pavements every time we wish to instalia new utility. You may, if you like, regard this as symbolic of our whole system. Large cities, as you knew them, used to grow up without aim or plan. When illuminating gas, water supply, sewer pipes or electricity were to be installed, the streets had to be eviscerated time after time. No one knew the exact condition of the various services until there was an explosion. When we, however, drew up our plans, we knew just what utilities a modern city required, and therefore laid tunnels under our streets to accommodate them. The original cost of these tunnels was quite high, but they have more than justified themselves. Compare the budget of the Haifa municipality with that of Paris or Vienna, and you will realize how much revenue we derive from our tunnels. Since this telephonic newspaper also runs its wires through the street tunnel, it must pay a rental in proportion to its income. This rental accrues to the public treasury."

"The first remarkable thing I've found here," declared Kingscourt, "is that you pave your streets with Samuel Kohn's best diamonds. You're a damned clever lot. I never should have thought of it."

"There's a sting to your compliments, Mr. Kingscourt," replied David in a friendly tone. "But perhaps you'll reverse your judgment when you've been with us for a while."

"Fine! You'll find me quite ready to admit that I'm an old ass. But I do require evidence! ...And now, in the Devil's name, take us to the theater."

"To whichever you choose, dear Littwak."

"Well, gentlemen, since you won't decide, I suggest we leave it to the ladies."

They agreed.


The ladies were already in evening dress.

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