Dave asks the more profound question of who owns the earth, are we right to claim this island for ourselves? Both Claudia and Rachael make the obvious remark that they were there first and most certainly don’t feel inclined to have their spot ruined just because other people have messed up their own island. They don’t want to make a great deal of sacrifice or go beyond the call of duty helping others to such an extent that they will miss out. They have plans to have children of their own and want to put them in the front of the queue ahead of outsiders. Dave can see that there is no shortage of space on this island to fit a good number of people in. There will be longer waits at the well, more noise and more disruption, but potentially more things getting done on the island as well. There is a trade-off between some attractive benefits against less serenity and loss of control. Worse still, new ideologies may not be particularly welcome now that so many principles have been established and enjoyed.
Claudia has another worry, that being what do they do should a group of people invade the island. They can’t fend off a large attacking force. They can potentially talk with their neighbouring island communities and form a pact so that nobody is subjected to such perils. Nevertheless, they are vulnerable. An island community would be commended if it throws its arms open to visitors especially if there was something there of geographical significance.
Ben has spent the most time building a place called home and treasures it deeply. By sharing it with the others there is a connection and shared ownership that spreads out to the boundary of the whole island. It won’t be just Ben that would feel somewhat cheated if it was taken away from them against their will. All of them understand that it is rough for people who live in a failed state and don’t feel like they have the means necessary to put things right. It can be tough for people to break away from somewhere, especially the place of their birth due to the changes developing there. Some will stay put, maybe because they are too old or too weary to leave and whilst it is regarded as unfair, will look upon it as an evolution that they are stuck with. Sometimes it is a case of trying to make the best of a bad situation. Few relish relocating. Everything gets more awkward once all the places with the fine geography begin to fill up, so there is an incentive to remedy the problems at the source.
Some people keep themselves to themselves and concentrate on making their own area as good as it can be. It can become a beacon for others to consider emulating. However, Claudia saw people not bothering to do that. They were instead more focused on spreading an ideology as far afield as possible. Hence, we are faced with invaders by force or by stealth. An individual will attain power, cement it through domination and will have a temptation to push it out like a fungus consuming all in the way.
Some places have reasonable philosophies laid out but are poorly interpreted. Countries may have a written constitution with an importance placed upon armies, aims regarding the development of agriculture and so forth. People in charge take it upon themselves to ensure that no stone is left unturned getting the defences in place and so much money is spent on that, that agriculture, business and other commerce become neglected. The aims are useless if not adhered to in a measured way. Paranoia and propaganda take the place of prudence.
There is no money as such on this tiny island nor any need for it yet. Neither is there any thinking that things in the shared pool belong to a distant body. Likewise, a collective share and share alike ambition is fantastical. Ben has made the best hammock and loves it dearly. Make no mistake about it, it has been made clear that there is no wish to have Dave, or anyone else anywhere near it. Sharing has its limits. When Ben wants to lie down, Ben wants to lie down and gets aggravated by keep having to turf Dave out and then always be the one cleaning and de-crumpling it. People find that no amount of favours can really compensate for the option to have what is theirs when it suits them most. Ben is not mean nor selfish and like the rest will share many things, but a free for all is a naïve dream and will remain as that, just an idea that never sees the light of day. Whilst they all fall into a blissful level of cooperation, they respect each other’s preferences where practical. Convenience comes before romantic thinking. Ben would rather spend a few days making an extra knife to keep sharp and keep in the draw so that it is always there when required. Dave would rather have just one communal knife that they all use, but then who is the one that leaves it the other end of the island and forgets to return it to the kitchen. In situations like this Ben could have made something else in that time, something for all or something for just their sole use, making them richer in effect but at a cost of many a bugbear. Some well-meaning principles and one for all and all for one schemes can be great on paper but hopeless in reality. They only work if everyone is exactly the same in every single respect and all individuality is banished along with freedoms to choose for ourselves.
We will pay for convenience sometimes. It all depends on our mood and the situation. We like to be able to choose and bring our personality into play. We could all car share so long as we accept the lack of choice of model, ignore the mess some leave it in, are patient waiting for one to be available, never mind being the one to deal with the maintenance and have no desire to personalise it. All to benefit from a relatively tiny reduction in costs. The fuel costs, wear and tear on the brakes and tyres etc. and the depreciation in value are all dependant on the mileage so no savings there. Only a little of the capital costs is saved, not much for all the aggravation that it entails. Idealists may not always disregard the details but will ignore our unwillingness to do things that break away from the way we like them. We find methods that work for us and want to retain a way of life. It is not a reluctance to change the amount we consume but being pushed to change the way we do things that matters the most. If you have concerns about your personal consumption and the impact it has on the environmental you can choose to earn less thereby use less.
We may tinker more, adjust more and attenuate our activities reducing the harm, but it will not halt the inevitable. The course humankind was inclined to travel has always been towards a calamity of its own making. Vested interests conquer. We need constant reward, rewards today at the detriment of the future. I mentioned before the rat wired to an electric circuit and its craving for more and more until it dies. We too can’t muster the will to disconnect the cord. What will be will be.
In an economy with market forces prevailing there is a potential to pay more in compensation for jobs that are least enjoyed. We can pay to have others do things we don’t want to get involved in. In a controlled sharing economy, it would be nice to see all the plum favoured jobs handed out fairly and an abundance of volunteers to deal with the grim ones. However, it will just be the most adept at proving themselves to be the most worthy of better treatment that get the desired result instead of justifying it through working harder. The people that support the party in power get the beachside houses, the rest get allocated a tiny grim plot on a flood plain.
Ben of course would pay a premium in life prior for first class tickets but go without many other things to pay for them. Sacrificing one pleasure for another is par for the course and a nature of freedom rather than envy. My business, not your business to interfere with. Whilst it is quite apparent that many accumulate the means to have more, there is no equitable system that can remove the imbalance without capsizing the whole ship. People have tried setting punitive taxes and are keen to have redistribution measures in place. The more they try to make it fair the more iniquities and grief they cause. People get fed up with the system and make plans to escape. Then the borders are locked down to keep people from leaving. As that fails, those in command are constantly suppressing uprisings. Once it becomes so out of balance, Claudia’s nightmare becomes evident where only those in charge are in the lap of luxury and the rest scrape about in the wasteland. The social principle is respected but feared in equal measure. Those that espouse it are the most often in a comfortable position and want to drag down those that want to work and be rewarded for their pluck. The wealthy have the means to move before it gets out of hand whereas the less well-off are never so fortunate. Those with the right tenacity at the right time will always prosper and you can’t make money selling expensive goods and services if everyone is too poor to buy them. There is a certain degree of natural regulation, but there will be periods where some appear to have too much, but measures to deal with it can create bigger headaches.
Your island may be blessed with some coconut trees. You can harvest them, eat and drink from them and then make some maracas out of what remains. What you can’t do is borrow them. You can only consume what you have. Big states generate ‘I owe yous’ with a promise to pay back what is borrowed at a later date. Eating the fruits that you expect to have tomorrow makes the policy maker appear decent. However, it hides a nasty evil practice that is paid for by the next generation. The citizens get the impression that money grows on trees and that they can spend ad infinitum. One of the four had a sibling who took from their jar and kindly bought them a few things with some of it. It felt nice to be given gifts until they realized later how generous they were. How much fun it must be to spend other people’s hard-earned money. Maybe it is acceptable so long as you spend some of it for the benefit of the loser/victim.
Counting a few coconuts is just about within the capability limits of the general populace. Understanding big numbers is much harder as most economic facts just wash over the top of people at large. The same data can be interpreted in all manner of different ways leading to no end of strife. The great thing about being a politician is that no matter how badly you mess up, you are rarely held to account, you just walk away and leave it to others to sort out. On this island they will attempt to address this by regular evaluations of what is going on. There will be proper punishment for serious negligence, so that at the very least it serves as a warning to future governors.
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