The Axe man and the Saber-toothed Tiger
Once upon a time there was a Stone Age village. The men were all hunters, and every day they would go out to hunt saber-toothed tigers. One of them, Ugh by name, always seemed to have the best axe. His father had taught him and he seemed to have the sharpest edge, the best handle, and his axes really lasted. So one day one of the other hunters, Grunt, asked Ugh to make him an axe. He did, and everyone noticed how much better a hunter Grunt had become.
It was not long before others began asking Ugh for axes, and pretty soon he was spending all his time making finding flint, chipping axe heads and making handles. He became very hungry, as he had no time to hunt. So he arranged with all his hunter friends for them to pay him part of each kill, provided he kept them supplied with axes.
Now his reputation grew and grew. People from distant villages came and asked him for axes. He began to be overcome with orders, and although he had more than enough to eat, he could not keep up with demand. So he hired a friend, who was good at making handles, to assist, giving him part of the payments of meat. He took on an apprentice flint chipper too!
His business went from strength to strength. He had more meat than he needed, so he would barter meat for, say, eggs. Now the elders and tribal chiefs began muttering in their long-house. “Ugh is rich. He has too much meat and eggs. This is not fair.” So the chief, named Ubamu, came to him and said, “Ugh, you have to make baskets.”
Baskets? Ugh didn’t know anything about baskets, but he knew if he didn’t comply the marriage between his son and Ubamu’s daughter would not take place. The chief was pleased with the baskets, and gave each family one basket each. “More baskets”, he informed Ugh. Soon Ugh’s axe business began to suffer as he struggled to keep up with the chief’s demand for baskets to give away to the villagers.
Ugh began to starve. He fired his flint apprentice, his handle maker, and concentrated on baskets for the chief to give to everyone. Hunger forced him back to hunting, and soon he fell short on his basket payments to the chief. The marriage was cancelled, Ugh grew hungrier, and finally the chief banished him from the village.
Ugh died trying to survive on his own.
So the moral of the story? Socialism didn’t work then and it doesn’t now!