Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Does everybody gain from trade ALL the time?

In the second part the author states that "everybody gains from trade all the time." It was clear that the Palmers where slowly dieing of starvation. The article mentioned that they where losing weight and strength. It was evident by trading and increasing their consumption they where able to scare off starvation. Lets suppose instead that even after they trade water for fish and increase there consumption they still are dieing of starvation, however now that they are trading they are dieing more slowly. In the long run with out trade the Palmers die. In the long run with trade the Palmers still die. Infact they die slower and more painfully than they would with out trade and they hurt themselves rather than making themselves better off. The best thing for them to do would be to climb one of the large cliffs and jump to the bottom on to some really sharp rocks. This would allow them to die more quickly and less painfully than the super slow starvation. I would like to recompose the quote to say, "Everybody gains from trade, except when they still die."

There was a point where they where considering four options to survive: plunder, invest, beg, or trade. Trade worked in the authors version of the story. In my version they simply died more horrific deaths than they would have on there own.
Brace yourselves, there was a fifth option that the author negligently overlooked. However I will let those that read this to ponder what it may be, and no this is not a joke, there is an obvious 5th option. I'll give you two hints, its kind of like stealth plundering, and it is done on a daily basis around the world. Happy pondering!


  1. Option 5) The clever Palmers convince the relatively simpleminded Fishers that they have a divine mandate to rule the island and start a monarchist autocracy. King and Queen Palmer tax the Fishers a certain percentage of the food and water they collect and enjoy the good life. Eventually the Fishers wise up and figure out that the Palmers don't have a direct hotline to the deity. They revolt and behead their former rulers and go back to collecting food for themselves until they succumb to malnutrition and die.

    Am I on the right track?