a parable

Farmer Bob hires five workers to harvest his wheat. He speaks with the workers and agrees on paying five dollars a day for their work.
On day one, the workers harvest the wheat and Farmer Bob sells the wheat for $100. He takes $25 out of the profit and pays the workers.
On day two, the weather is great and workers manage to pull in a greater amount of wheat. Farmer Bob sells it for $125 and gives the workers $5 a piece for a profit of $100. Everyone is happy! Farmer Bob is thrilled that the hard working workers are increasing his profit, the workers are happy to have a job.
On day three, a storm breaks out, work is slow and the workers only bring in $75 worth of wheat. Farmer Bob is incensed! “”Listen here! This is unacceptable. The weather is ravaging my business! Today “”we”” only made HALF of what we made yesterday!”” He tells the workers that tomorrow they can come back to work for $4 a day instead of $5.
“”Hey!”” the workers cry, “”That’s not fair, we didn’t cause the storm! I have a family to feed!””
“”Go buy your own farm then!”” Farmer Bob growls. The workers hang their head and agree that they have no choice.
The next day, the sun shines and the workers bring in $125 worth of wheat. Farmer Bob smiles. He passes out $4 to each worker and congratulates them on a job well done. “”That’s a record profit, workers!”” He tells them with pride, counting out $105 dollar bills.
“”Well, can we have our old wage back?”” the workers ask.
“”I don’t think I can do that, workers.”” Farmer Bob answers. “”You see, there’s a new farm opening up the road that’s going to be cutting into the price of wheat around here. This is the best I can do.””
The next the workers work hard and bring in as much wheat as the day before. It sells for $110.
“”This isn’t good!”” Yells Farmer Bob. “”I told you this would happen, our profits are falling!”” The workers know what’s coming next. “”What if a storm breaks out? How will I survive on twenty or thirty dollars a day?”” He wipes a solitary tear from his cheek. “”Tomorrow, my Workers, the wage is $3 a day and no more lunch breaks! Oh, and Frank… you’re fired.””
And so on, and so on, and so on….

Lance Cameron Kidwell

22 October 2003

Posted in Miscellania

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