The following comes from an interview Waters did following the album's release and sums up what Roger meant the song to be rather well:
INTERVIEWER : "Not now john" is about over ambitions & drive for money and winning...blind ambitions to best the "wily japanese" and to conqueor the russian bear."
ROGER : Yes, but never mind the russian bear, what about the other members of the human race? Wait until they start trying to compete, and that's most of us. There are lots more of them than there are of us. There are more of the third world than there are of the old and new worlds. And as soon as they get TVs, they're going to get, well, up-tight. In fact, they may well say, "You've had your go, we want our go now. It's that kind of more."
INTERVIEWER : Would you say that the personality / persona of the singer in "not now john" has the same mentality or character as in "Have A Cigar?" We're all put together as a team.
ROGER : Well, yes. You've done your homework!