Monday, February 13, 2012

The Tale of the Berry Pickers

Almost two years ago I introduced you to the land of Nectarinia.  Nectarinia produces vast amounts of honey, some of which is given to the government to promote the public good.  Unfortunately, the people of Nectarinia made the mistake of selecting a Pooh Bear as their current leader.  And as everyone knows, pooh bears have an insatiable appetite for honey.  We now revisit Nectarinia as it has its annual berry harvest.

Every year the delicious nectar berry bushes produce fruit for a short two week period.  The berries are only ripe for this time and almost all of the berries get picked before they spoil. The people of Nectarinia stop refining honey during this time to collect as many of the coveted berries as they can.  This year’s harvest has just concluded and leader Pooh Bear is addressing the people. 

Pooh Bear:  “I have noticed that during the berry harvest that some people were able to collect many more berries that others.  I propose in the spirit of fairness and equity that we take some of the berries from the people who picked many and give them to the people who picked few.” 

The people who would receive more berries were ecstatic.  “Free Berries!” they exclaimed.

But the people who had picked the most berries (the “Big Pickers”) were outraged.   

Big Pickers: “Fair? Are you serious?  How is it fair to take away the berries that we worked so hard to pick?”

Pooh Bear:  “But I am the leader, so only I get to decide what is fair and I like having the power to decide who gets the berries.  And those people just love me for providing them with free berries.”

But the “Big Pickers” were not mollified.  “Many of us sacrificed to gather more berries.  Some bought books on berry picking strategies. Some invested resources to create better berry picking processes.  Some went without adequate sleep to gather the berries and some required medical treatment from being scratched by the thorns.  What gives you the right to take away our berries?” they protested. 

Pooh Bear:  “But these people still don’t have enough berries.  How do you propose to correct that?”
Big Pickers:  “Perhaps instead of spending all your time developing plans to take our berries, you could develop some ideas on how to increase the berry crop.”

Pooh Bear:  “That’s just kooky talk.  How would we do that?”

Big Pickers:  “Maybe we could expand the space where the berries are planted.  Maybe new fertilizers could be approved that would increase the berry yield.  You’re the leader; it’s your job to figure it out.”

Pooh Bear:  “I think you guys are just greedy.  It’s that berry (and honey) greed that is hurting Nectarinia.  Of course it is just you guys who are greedy.  The rest of us really aren’t.  So that gives us the moral authority to tell you how bad you really are and as punishment you need to give up your berries.”

Big Pickers:  “Look we realize some people need help to get berries.  When the berry redistribution plan was started it was to provide berries for those who were unable to pick any due to special circumstances.  But over time, more and more people found reasons not to go pick and to then receive free berries.  Now you want to take even more of the berries for people who do pick berries, but not enough of them.”

Pooh Bear:  “That may be true.  But who wants free berries?”

The Free Berry Recipients:  “We Do!”

The Big Pickers: “You do realize that if you take more of our berries, the total harvest will be reduced and there will be fewer berries for everyone.”

Pooh Bear: “What strange talk is this?”

The Big Pickers:  “It’s called economics.  I would think an Ivy-league educated pooh-bear would have studied economics.”
Pooh Bear:  “Yes, yes I do remember a class called economics in college.”

The Big Pickers: “Perhaps Poo Bear should have paid more attention in class.”

So Pooh Bear and The Big Pickers continue to vigorously debate how the berries from the harvest should be redistributed. 

The First Nectarina Blog 

1 comment:

  1. Each Harvest there were less and less, big pickers, ( top 20% paying 80% of all taxes) and more and more free berry pickers....( 50% paying zero federal taxes)....No incentive. This is not a story, this is reality....The key is to allow, or, not allow, Poo Bear to be the leader. each picker has a choice...but the playing field is slanted in favor of Poo and the free berry pickers, until.....