Study Guide

Foundation Part V, Chapter 5

By Isaac Asimov

Part V, Chapter 5

  • The Commdor and Mallow meet, and we see that Mallow is pretty good at the political game too. The Commdor fancies himself just an average joe citizen and not the dictator he really is.
  • Well, Mallow is more than happy to play the game.
  • Mallow quickly cuts to the chase: free trade between the Foundation and Korell. What do you say, Commdor?
  • Nope, says the Commdor. The people of Korell don't want trade attached to a religion.
  • But neither does Mallow. He's a trader, not a priest. His religion is money, not the "mysticism and hocus-pocus of the missionaries" (V.5.19). Basically, his dream is to build a pool akin to Scrooge McDuck'sĀ money bin.
  • What's the catch for Korell? Only that the Commdor will have way too much money and love to handle.
  • The Commdor wants to know how to amass all this love and wealth, so Mallow shows him a necklace.
  • They set up a full-size mirror and bring in one of the Commdora's maids. When she wears the necklace, the stones glow just like aurora borealis. The girl is stoked to be wearing it, and Mallow offers it as a gift to the Commdora.
  • But the Commdor is less than impressed. Mallow points out that it may be just a trinket, but women will pay a lot of money for those things. LOL women! Plus the Commdor can work the whole low supply/high demand angle.
  • (Just wait until he discovers Ponzi schemes.)
  • Anyway, that's just a necklace. Then there are household gadgets like dish-washers, floor-scrubbers, lighting fixtures, and on and on. The Commdor profits nicely, and Mallow gets half the intake of whatever the Commdor buys.
  • That's way better than we ever got selling magazines door to door for our middle schools.
  • But Mallow is the gift that keeps on giving. He can even retool the Commdor's factories.
  • Rather than go into the details, the Commdor invites Mallow and his men to dinner that night.