Those who don’t understand basic economics are more likely to believe in all sorts of asinine social theories that will gradually destroy their will to live. Here’s a story that explains basic economics.
Once Upon a Time, in a Land Far, Far Away…
Imagine three people — Jeremy, Olga, and Malia. Each are given two rabbits. Jeremy, excited about his luck, throws a party, eats his rabbits and throws out the fur and bones. Jeremy is left with no rabbits.
Olga, grateful for the rabbits, decides to breed them. She soon has a total of 10 rabbits. To celebrate her achievement, she throws a party and serves four of them. She keeps the fur to make a scarf for herself. The bones are discarded. Olga has six rabbits and a scarf.
Malia also breeds her rabbits. Soon, she too has 10 rabbits. Instead of eating them, she performs experiments on 6 of them. The first experiment makes six of the rabbits sick. She had to put them down. She salvaged and stored the fur and bones. She dissected them, studied their physiology. Malia has 4 rabbits.
Jeremy, not having any rabbits, asks Olga if he can have one of hers. She refuses. Jeremy still has no rabbits.
Olga continues to breed her rabbits. She soon has 20 rabbits. To celebrate her achievement, she throws a party and serves 6 of them. She saves the fur to make mittens and a hat. Olga now has 14 rabbits, a scarf, hat, and mittens.
Malia continues to breed her rabbits. She soon has 13 of them. She performs experiments on 10 of them. Eight of them get sick and die. As before, she dissects them, saves the fur and makes some tools out of the bones, including one that will make it a lot easier for him to forage for rabbit food. The two remaining experiment rabbits are remarkably healthy, vibrant. Malia now has 5 rabbits and some tools.
The Welfare System
Jeremy, not having any rabbits, asks Olga if he can have one of hers. She relents, gives him two, one of each sex, and tells him to breed them so he won’t have to ask her for rabbits anymore. Jeremy is annoyed and humiliated but takes the offer. He immediately eats both because he feels that he’s been without for so long. He discards the fur and bones.
Olga continues to breed her rabbits. She soon has 60 of them. To celebrate her achievement, she throws a party and serves 10 of them. She saves the fur to make a sweater. She now has 48 rabbits (two were given to Jeremy) and a growing wardrobe. She’s considering hiring someone to take care of the rabbits.
Malia continues to breed her rabbits. Something happened to two of her experiment. They have become so horny and fertile, they’re producing 10 times more rabbits than do the others! Malia discovers rabbit viagra!!! She now has 100 rabbits and feeds all of them rabbit viagra. She throws a party, serves a feast of 20 rabbits. She makes a coat out of all the fur she’s saved. She’s so busy with research and development, she stores the bones and hires someone to make tools out of them. She also hires someone to take care of her rabbits and to build rabbit houses so she can devote more time to research.
The Police State
Jeremy, still without rabbits, asks Olga for two rabbits. Olga refuses and chides him for being irresponsible. Jeremy explodes and calls Olga a “selfish, greedy cunt,” a “bitch with no feeling for other people except herself.” “You’ll pay for this, bitch,” he tells her as he heads to Malia’s. Jeremy asks Malia for two rabbits. She too refuses but offers him a job cleaning rabbit houses that will pay him two rabbits per week. He grudgingly takes it. He eats both rabbits immediately. Seeing that Olga has so many rabbits, he asks her why she doesn’t pay him more since she has so much. Olga reminds him that he’s lucky to have a job because he doesn’t have much experience caring for rabbits, as he eats them immediately instead of breeding them. That sends Jeremy into a rage. He storms away and tells Olga she’s a “greedy, cold-hearted bitch who gets her kicks from fucking with polite and nice hard working people like me.”
In the end, Jeremy makes a living stealing rabbits from Olga and Malia, even though it’d be a lot easier to breed the rabbits he once had. To prevent theft, Olga and Malia fund a security force and build a prison to house Jeremy and others like him. Olga purchases rabbit viagra from Malia. Olga hires more and more people to take care of her growing colony of rabbits. She then opens restaurants specializing in rabbit stew, and starts a fashion line offering clothing made of rabbit fur. Malia now has billions of rabbits. She sells as many as she can to those she thinks will use them well and continues her research and development efforts. Her rabbit empire employs many, as there’s much work involved in caring for billions of rabbits.
The Point of the Story
Too many people think that economics is a zero-sum game, where for every winner there’s a loser, every resource one gains is resource someone else loses. Those who think economics is a zero-sum game will develop self-destructive habits and attitudes. They’ll believe it’s necessary to screw other people to get ahead.
There aren’t limited resources because human creativity isn’t limited. We can produce as many rabbits as our creativity allows. Some produce rabbits better than others, while others only consume them. Anything is possible. Someone may discover a way to use our piss to fuel our cars. The point is, the economic pie isn’t static, it can grow or shrink. The Olgas and Malias grow this pie. The Jeremies shrink it because all they do is consume and destroy. And then there’s the rest of us who help the Olgas and Malias grow the pie. We nurse them when they’re sick, we feed them when they’re hungry, we entertain them when they need distraction, we manage their resources so they can produce even more.
There are those who envy those who own the largest portion of the pie. If you’re one of them, ask yourself if you’d rather everyone share equally a tiny pie — size of pinky tip — or if you’d rather have a tiny portion — size of your fist — of a huge pie half of which belongs to a few people. I’ll take the fist sized portion and continue to do all I can to help those who are able to grow the pie. I’d rather make rabbit stew for Malia than hang out with Jeremy.