An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The American then asked, "Why don't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Wharton MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. In time, buy several boats and eventually you would own a fleet. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. Then you would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then, senor?"

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions."

"Millions, senior? Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire, move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."


One thing the story doesn't say is that by the time you get your millions, the kids are all married and gone and don't want to have anything to do with you. They only want your money. Your wife has gotten fed up with never seeing you and has also left. And you? You have become such a workaholic and a grouch that you can't even stand yourself. Once you have retired, what about your amigos? They have all forgotten about you years ago. So, who are you going to play with, take a siesta with? And where are your amigos that you will stroll to the village in the evening with and sip wine and play your guitar with? What did you say? You have forgotten how to play the guitar?! O well, who's to listen?

Enjoy Your Retirement...I'll Enjoy Life!!

I believe there is a lot more truth to this little allegory than first meets the eye. Let’s think about it for a while. So many people, wanting the whole pie, or more than their fair share, take so much that there is very little left for others. This is one reason we are running out of things like fish and have such high, worldwide unemployment. Let’s look at the fish and our Mexican amigo again. If everyone who wanted to fish took what he needed and a little extra to sell or trade for his family's needs and maybe a few wants, there would be plenty of fish and work to go around. The same is true with farming. If everyone who wanted to farm only grew enough for his needs and a little extra so he could buy or trade for fish from the fisherman as well as other needs, all the farmers and fishermen would have their needs taken care of. This can work for all trades.

So many want to be in control and get and sell all the fish to all the people. Similarly, the farmers want to grow and sell all the produce. We patent things so everyone will have to come to us if they want our products. We do this so we can get rich! We forget about the other guy. Anyone who looks at this way of doing business can see that there is a big problem with this kind of thinking. When a few control the products and do the work of producing consumables, the people who are left don't have the means to purchase what is being produced. We can see the results of this in the world all around us. Poverty and debt.

May we live our lives well defined.