Harmony Chapter 17: Economic Lesson

Filed: Harmony @ 6:31am on May 24, 2011 No comments yet! :(   Word Count: 684
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This entry is part 17 of 28 in the series Harmony

And so, another share wasn’t meant for me. Picking apples in this orchard wasn’t a fun-filled adventure in tree climbing but rather a driving test to see how close to each tree you could get without hitting it.

It was also a speed test because with only 1 or 2 ready apples per tree, you had to quickly alternate between 3 tasks:

1) Drive next to a tree
2) Pick an apple without leaving your seat
3) Throw softly the apple into the cart attached to the tractor

We went on in almost silence for the rest of the way and as soon as the cart was full, we simply drove back to the monorail track where Cassiopeia had intended for us to simply continue reading our books until the monorail would be back.

“With your help, we are quite early, we might have to wait a little”, simply told me Cassiopeia before returning to her book.

“Can I ask you something Cassiopeia?”

“Sure…”

“You suggested I help you pick apples, right? What would be the advantage for the community if I decided to help you. In what way would the community be served better with two people manning his orchard?”

“Well, we would be able to pick more apples and do it faster”

“I understand, but does the community need more apples? Shouldn’t I instead choose a share which needs more people because it is understaffed at the moment?”

“I guess, but it’s really up to you”

“But see, that’s the thing that I don’t understand. On earth, there are 2 main poles for economic development. One is capitalism and the other is communism. Under capitalism, what drives production is the law of offer and demand. Because you need money to produce things, you only produce things in the long term which will sell enough to make money and make you live. Here, there is no money, so capitalism doesn’t apply. We cannot let demand control the offer because no one supervises the demand. You told me you didn’t really know how many apples were needed. You will a do crate per day probably because you were taught to fill a crate”

“Indeed”

“But what if your crates all broke and you got a new bigger crate. Suddenly, by a pure coincidence, you would work more and the apple production would have to increase. If the new crates were smaller, the opposite would occur. It’s madness to rule a city this way. I am guessing it’s the same thing with cow, wheat, sugar, anything really. Each person tries to either do as much as possible in a day, or fill a random quota of production which isn’t based on anything tangible demand. You fill in a crate per day because your predecessor filled in a crate per day and she probably copied her predecessor until we reach the first orchard lady who filled in a crate simply because she didn’t produce enough apples to fill in two.”

“So you think I should produce two crates? We could get another tractor and we could each produce one per day, increasing the size of the orchard if we needed to”

“No, that’s not what I am saying. We are living under communism. Everyone works for the community, and the community works for everyone. On earth, it never worked because of corruption, but here, it works because people aren’t afraid to work hard. But what doesn’t work is that no one supervises the production to ensure the prosperity of the community.”

“Well, we never had problems before”

“Tell me Cassiopeia, is there more people in the city today than when you were a kid?”

“Yes, every generation is bigger than the previous one”

“So eventually, we will need to increase the production, but we will need to plan it. Perhaps one day build a second city to house workers like you who work far from the main city. Somebody needs to do the long term planning. Someone needs to think about the future.”

“And who would do that? I mean, I wouldn’t know where to start. I wouldn’t know how to do that, and I doubt anyone here would know how.”

“Don’t worry, I have someone perfect in mind…”

Series Navigation«Harmony Chapter 16: ApplesHarmony Chapter 18: Autopilot»

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