Malvina Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems  

Free Enterprise

Notes: words and music by Malvina Reynolds; copyright 1958 by the author, 1963 by Schroder Music Company. In the Table of Contents to her songbook Song in My Pocket Malvina writes of this song: "'Free enterprise' is one of the razzle-dazzle phrases of our time that needs a little critical examination. This song and several others in this book first appeared [in 1951] in that excellent periodical devoted to songs of the people, 'Sing Out,' published by Peoples Artists of New York."

The air you breathe is poison, the food you eat is worse,
The dollars in your pay check are pennies in your purse.
In full page advertisements they praise it to the skies,
They tie it up with fancy bows and dress it up in fancy clothes,
It still offends the gentle nose, free enterprise.

Free enterprise, it's free enough no doubt.
Anything they give away you're better off without.

The bandits of the old days would hide their heads in shame,
Their old-time buccaneering was hardly worth the name.
They used to end on gibbets and dance against the skies,
And now they live on top the town and sport their minks and cars around
And buy up Congress by the pound, free enterprise.


There's nothing free about it, you pay at every turn,
Except the guys in Wall Street who have the stuff to burn.
They had to make new brain machines to count their profits' rise,
But since there's always room for more they still can make the market soar--
A little war does wonders for free enterprise.


They gag you if you holler, they kick you if you sneeze,
They throw you in the hoosegow for singing songs like these.
The only way to like it is to close your ears and eyes,
It's good for G. M. Company, Morgan and the A and P,
But it's just no darn good for me, free enterprise.


Malvina Reynolds songbook(s) in which the music to this song appears:
---- Song in My Pocket: Songs

Other place(s) where the music to this song appears:
---- Sing Out!, Volume 1(12) (1951), p. 11

Malvina Reynolds recording(s) on which this song is performed:
---- [none]

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