Long before the printing of money, golden eggs were the only currency.
In a deep cave, goose Day-Lewis, the last of the gold-laying geese, was still at work.
Day-Lewis lived in the country known affectionately as Utopia. Every day, Day-Lewis laid 10 perfect golden eggs, and was loved and revered for her service. Luckily, everyone had read Aesop’s fables, and no one tried to kill Day-Lewis to get all those extra eggs out. Still Utopia did pay a few armed guards to keep watch for the illiterates, just in case.
Utopia wasn’t into storing wealth because it wanted to run some important social programs to improve the education and health of the country. Thankfully they didn’t run a deficit and issue bonds so we don’t need to get into any political arguments about libertarianism.
This article is about golden eggs.
Utopia employed the service of bunny Fred to take the golden eggs to the nearby country of Capitalism in return for services of education and health. Every day, bunny Fred took 10 eggs out of the country. Every day, goose Day-Lewis produced 10 eggs. It was a perfect balance. The law of conservation of golden eggs was intact.
Thankfully, history does not record any comment on the value of the services received for these eggs, or on the benefit to society of those services, so we can focus on the eggs story.
Due to external circumstances outside of Utopia’s control, on January 1st, the year of Our Goose 150, a new international boundary was created between Utopia and Capitalism. History does not record the complex machinations behind the reasons for this new border control.
However, as always with government organizations, things never go according to plan. On the first day, January 1st, there were paperwork issues.
Bunny Fred showed up with 10 golden eggs, and, what he thought was the correct paperwork. Nothing got through. Luckily, unlike some government organizations with wafer-thin protections for citizens’ rights, they didn’t practice asset forfeiture for “possible criminal activity we might dream up and until you can prove you earned this honestly we are going to take it and never give it back”. Instead they told Fred to come back tomorrow.
On January 2nd, Bunny Fred had another run at the problem and brought another 10 eggs. The export paperwork for the supply of education and health only allowed for 10 golden eggs to be exported to Capitalism so border control sent on the 10 eggs from Jan 1st and insisted Bunny Fred take 10 eggs take back to Utopia.
On January 3rd, Bunny Fred, desperate to remedy the deficit of services in Utopia took 20 eggs – 10 from Day-Lewis and 10 he had brought back from border control the day before.
Insistent on following their new ad hoc processes, border control could only send on 10 eggs to Capitalism. As they had no approved paperwork for “storing” extra eggs, they insisted that Fred take back the excess eggs.
Every day, the same result:
- Day-Lewis produced 10 eggs, Bunny Fred took 20 eggs to border control
- Border control sent 10 eggs to Capitalism, Bunny Fred brought 10 eggs back
One day some people who thought they understood the law of conservation of golden eggs took a look at the current situation and declared:
Heretics! This is impossible. Day-Lewis, last of the gold-laying geese, only produces 10 eggs per day. How can Bunny Fred be taking 20 eggs to border control?
You can’t create golden eggs! The law of conservation of golden eggs has been violated.
You can’t get more than 100% efficiency. This is impossible.
And in other completely unrelated stories:
and recent comments in CO2- An Insignificant Trace Gas? – Part One