“All this happened,” thought Nekhludoff, “because all those people—the governor, inspector and the other officers—saw before them, not human beings and their duties toward them, but the service and its requirements. Therein lies the difficulty.”
"It's not me. There's nothing I can do. I'll lose my job if I don't do it. And look — suppose you kill me? They'll just hang you, but long before your hung there will be another guy on the tractor, and he'll bump the house down. You're not killing the right guy."
"That's so," the tenant said. "Who gave you orders? I'll go after him. He's the one to kill."
"You're wrong. He got his orders from the bank. The bank told them: "Clear those people out or it's your job."
"Well, there's a president of the bank. There's a Board of Directors. I'll fill up the magazine of the rifle and go into the bank."
The driver said: "Fellow was telling me the bank gets orders from the East. The orders were: "Make the land show profit or we'll close you up."
"But where does it stop? Who can we shoot? I don't aim to starve to death before I kill the man that's starving me."
"I don't know. Maybe there's nobody to shoot. Maybe the thing isn't man at all. Maybe, like you said, the property's doing it. Anyway I told you my orders."
The Grapes of Wrath (1939)