Do You See?
>Here’s an interesting folktale:
Once upon a time, there was this group of moneylenders and shopkeepers who resided in a village somewhere in one obscure part of the world where people barely knew how the east was different from the west or north from the south. Although these folks did not bicker much about these issues, neither were they interested to know from where their food and articles of daily use came from, whether they had enough doctors or medicines in case they needed them or if their schools were teaching them stuff that would help them find stable jobs, have homes and later, a safe retired life. These were good people in this village, but because they truly believed the earth was flat, they rarely dared to go out far for fear of getting toppled at the edge.
The moneylenders and shopkeepers meanwhile, assured the good folks that they did not need to venture out far as everything the villagers wanted could be provided by this bunch of enterprising business people.
This is how it continued for several years until when one of the shopkeepers called E simply collapsed and people were surprised to find out that E had been indulging in bad business ethics, in essence, lying and cheating. This probably gave him heartburn and colon cancer, a deadly combination.
All that scandal was discussed animatedly but forgotten quite soon as other interesting things like an attack by a foreign enemy took place on the unsuspecting village. Laws, lifestyles and lot of other things changed owing to this dastardly incident. The village head was elected a second time and he led his army into another faraway village to punish the allies of the attackers. That war still rages today and costs a lot for the innocent inhabitants of our little village, but then, WTF, patriotism first, though our simple villagers.
To cut to the chase, very recently, the moneylenders and shopkeepers who have been regulating very important aspects of public life, business and politics, as well as funding the wars and several such important projects, found themselves without the expected returns. It appeared that the villagers were unable to pay back to the business community as per the high interest rates charged. Because the villagers did not have enough good jobs, enough assets and savings, also enough security that might prompt them to do timely paybacks. This despite the fact that the villagers often worked overtime, at two or more jobs, barely finished education or had little in healthcare or vacations.
So, when this situation continued, one by one the moneylenders and shopkeepers started to declare themselves “defunct” and asked the village head to bail them out. The amount they asked for was several times more than they could have spent in healthcare, education or environment for all these many years. Quite a few villagers found this a big joke and even protested. All that money the business community demanded was after all, supposed to be the money villagers paid in taxes so they could have improved governance. Some even pointed out the case of E, when it had gone bankrupt, causing irreparable harm to many villagers, taking their money with it. However, many others did not even understand what was going on and they thought the business folks must be re-instated. This is because the defaulters “constituted” the village economy.
Secretly, the moneylenders and shopkeepers were happy that nothing majorly punitive or critical was thrown their way. Even if they had lost out a bit, their core asset was intact and their leaders could still take home plump salaries, go for Caribbean cruises and buy land in Hawaii. After all, the villagers still believed in them. Goodfellas.
I’m stopping my folklore here. Because I ain’t no crystal gazer. If the people of this village don’t learn any lesson from this crisis, they sure are suckers for everything devious. Or else, it’s chow-time again dudes!