14. Jul, 2016

Crusoe's Island Hit by Recession.

“Depression Hits Robinson Crusoe’s Island” .
`‘Friday’ said Robinson Crusoe, ‘I’m sorry, I fear I must lay you off.’
‘What do you mean, Master?’
‘Why, you know there’s a big surplus of last year’s crop. I don’t need you to plant another this year. I’ve got enough goatskin coats to last me a lifetime. My house needs no more repairs. I can gather turtle eggs myself. There’s an overproduction. When I need you I will send for you. You needn’t wait around here.’
‘That’s alright, Master. I’ll plant my own crop, build my own hut, gather all the eggs and nuts I want myself. I’ll get along fine.’
‘Where will you do all this, Friday?’
‘Here on this island.’
‘This island belongs to me, you know. I can’t allow you to do that. When you can’t pay me anything I need I might as well not own it.’
‘Then I’ll build a canoe and fish in the ocean. You don’t own that.’
‘That’s alright, provided you don’t use any of my trees for your canoe, or build it on my land, or use my beach as a landing place, and do your fishing far enough away so you don’t interfere with my riparian rights.’
‘I never thought of that Master. I can do without a boat, though, I can swim over to that rock and fish there and gather seagull eggs.’
‘No you wont, Friday. That rock is mine. I own riparian rights.’
‘What shall I do Master?’
‘That’s your problem, Friday. You’re a free man, and you know about rugged individualism being maintained here.’
‘I guess I’ll starve, Master. May I stay here until I die? Or shall I swim beyond your riparian rights and starve there?’
‘I’ve thought of something, Friday. I don’t like to carry my garbage down to the shore each day. You may stay and do that. Then whatever is left of it, after my dog and cat have fed, you may eat. You’re in luck.’
‘Thank you. Master’ That is true charity.’
‘One more thing, Friday. This island is overpopulated. Fifty percent of the people are unemployed. We are undergoing a severe depression, and there is no way I can see an end to it. No one but a charlatan would say that he could. So keep a lookout and let no one land to settle here. And if any ship comes don’t let them land goods of any kind. You must be protected against foreign labour. Conditions are fundamentally sound, though. And prosperity is just around the corner.’

(Marjorie Atterbury. “The Industrial Worker” of 1932! Relevant?)

So, if you were Friday, what would you do and why?