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Thread: An economic fable - the man on the mountain and the man in the valley - discuss!

  1. #1
    New Member
    Aug 2017


    An economic fable - the man on the mountain and the man in the valley - discuss!

    The man on the mountain and the man in the valley.

    The man on the mountain kept sheep and goats, and the man in the valley grew corn in neat rows in his fields. One winter, there was a lot of snow on the mountains, and many of the sheep and goats got stuck in the snow and died. That winter, the man in the valley shared his corn with the man on the mountain and they survived until spring.

    Later, in the spring, the floods came into the valley after the heavy snow melted, which meant the man in the valley had a poor harvest that summer. Both families were hungry that summer and winter. Thereafter, the man on the mountain built winter shelters for the herds and paid more attention to the weather. He stockpiled corn as a fall back in hard times for himself, his family, and his herd. The man in the valley tried to build more storm ditches to handle the flood water, and built the foundations of his house higher, to rise above the flood waters.

    A few years later, another hard winter hit the area. The man on the mountain brought his herds into the indoor shelters and dug in for the winter with his family. They all lived reasonably well on the corn that was stored. The following spring, the floods once again hit the valley, and even though the ditches helped a little, the effect on the corn harvest that year was severe.

    The value of sheep and goat products rocketed, while the abundance meant that both the man on the mountain and the man in the valley were able to survive. With the profit from the meat and animal products, the man on the mountain was able to build a bigger silo for his winter stock of corn. Everything was going well for the man on the mountain, but then he'd worked hard to protect himself from the winter snows. The man in the valley struggled when the harvest was poor, and so he asked his children to make luxury goods for the man on the mountain to buy back some of the corn he had earlier sold so they could survive.

    Over the course of the next years, the man on the mountain was able to increase his mountain product yields and cultivate more and more of the mountain for his herds. His sons were kept busy and his wife and daughters enjoyed the luxuries travelling up from the valley below. As the man in the valley got poorer, because his time and energy was given less to farming and more to producing luxuries just to survive the season, he decided to sell his best farm land to the man on the mountain to buy goat meat and milk to survive the effects of the floods that came every few years.

    After a decade or more, the man in the valley approached the man on the mountain and said that he should share some of his land and wealth, since the land left for him in the valley was the worst land, and was harder to farm and was at higher risk of floods. The man on the mountain at first refused, but then said he’d sell some of the valley land back to the valley man for an extortionate amount of goods. Tensions rose, and the man on the mountain decided to build a very high wall around his land, the kind that couldn’t be climbed very easily. The wall was expensive, but it kept the valley people out. He even used the labour of the sons from the valley to build it. In other words, the valley man paid for the wall. The man on the mountain was so impressed with the wall that he decided to use more stone to build himself a large mansion on the slopes of the mountain, where he would have an imperial view over the mountain and the valley below. Again, the sons of the valley man gave their labour to the task.

    One day, the mountain blew up in a huge plume of volcanic ash and fiery lava. The man on the mountain was in his new mansion. He ran out from the stone building and ran in a panic down the mountain side, but he quickly came to his high wall and he couldn’t find a ladder anywhere nearby to get over it. He died a rather horrible death. The lava crept half way down the mountain and stopped. The ash covered the valley floor and this made the next season very difficult for that those who survived the eruption, but eventually the ash was washed away into the ground, and the mountain went quiet again, and the valley bloomed with all the rich fertiliser that the mountain had spewed out.

    The man in the valley moved his home to just above the flood line and just below the lava belt. He dismantled the wall and used the stone to build a monument to the man on the mountain and his folly and greed. The man from the valley and his large family became busy tending the mountain flocks and farming the valley floor below. But with the security of knowing he could now survive the snow, floods and eruptions, he used his time and ingenuity to build a cable car to travel up and down between the mountain and the valley, making life much easier for him and his growing family.

    After a few seasons, both the mountain and the valley thrived, and the man from the valley shared the riches of both with his whole family.


    Please ask permission if you want to reproduce this text somewhere else. It won't be a problem with a link back to this forum where it was first published. But just let me know. I might use it myself again later.
    Last edited by NorthernLight; 12th August 2017 at 03:47 AM.
    Thanks from OldGaffer, BigLeRoy, Babba and 1 others

  2. #2
    Banned Camp
    Jul 2013

    Nashville, TN
    A good story...we are having some experiences with walls and exploitation ourselves...
    Thanks from Friday13

  3. #3
    Radical Centrist BigLeRoy's Avatar
    Jan 2016

    This is brilliant stuff! I salute you, sir!!

  4. #4
    Galactic Ruler Spookycolt's Avatar
    May 2012

    By the wall
    You can't copyright things you type on PH.

    Technically it belongs to them now.

  5. #5
    Scucca Æthelfrith's Avatar
    Jun 2010

    I was thinking more how the call for copyright, given its generally used to create economic rents, had a certain irony...

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