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The Parable of the Mexican Fisherman

An executive from America was standing at the pier of a Mexican village, taking a much needed vacation. It was his first in more than 10 years. He noticed a small boat with just one fisherman had docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna. The executive complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”

The executive then asked, “why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”

The Mexican replied, “I have enough to support my family for a little while.”

The executive 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, and stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.”

The executive scoffed, “I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery. 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, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then?”

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.. 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.”

-Author Unknown

I read this story at a subway shop in Austin, but there are plenty of links online that have it:
http://alanshelton.com/stories/the-parable-of-the-mexican-fi...

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It's originally from the German Heinrich Böll (1963)

This version is different from the original version written by the German Nobel-prize winner Heinrich Böll in 1963, but basically tells the same story.
Almost every student in Germany should have read his famous "Anecdote concerning the Lowering of Productivity".
Info from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anekdote_zur_Senkung_der_Arbeit...
Most get this interpretation: Böll is asking here "Live to work - or work to make a living?"

H. Böll died in 1985 and is considered a left leaning intellectual. The established "Heinrich-Böll-Foundation" is closely related to the Green Party.

Greetings from Germany

Fantastic!!!

That's great to know the original source!! I'll keep Heinrich Boll in mind. Thank you and greetings from the US!

9-11 Media Fakery: Did anyone die on 9-11?
http://www.cluesforum.info/

http://www.septemberclues.info/

9-11 Actors:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aPvJSQtmoE

Pysops.. media.. actors.. propagandists... disinfo agents.. fake videos.. fake photos

This parable makes a good

This parable makes a good point about living a simpler life, but it has anti-capitalistic overtones.

By putting into practice the business advice and experience of the executive, the Mexican fisherman would increase efficiency of scarce resources, therefore he would provide the consumer with a better product at a cheaper price, and become rich in the process.

This is a win/win situation. But this scenario is seen as negative or selfish by ignorant people with an anti-capitalistic mentality.

It may seem that way...

but I don't think it is anti-capitalistic at all. I fully believe in free markets and capitalism and for people to choose whatever path they want. Capitalism allows that choice. It allows someone to do as much as desired to increase the standard of living or as little as desired to sustain themselves. If someone wanted to travel around the world on a jet with fancy clothes, exquisite food and a life of luxury that's a choice and many take that path. However there are others that are content with a simple life. Having the choice is what matters.

In a socialist & statist scenario a town governor would take the fisherman's fish away as a tax, limit how many he can fish any given day, have a curfew so he couldn't sleep late, take his kids away with child protective services for whatever reason, prohibit the wine he drinks and would prevent he and his amigo's from peaceably assembling in the name of fighting terrorists. Someone want to expand on this to make a socialist& statist version of the Mexican fisherman parable?

9-11 Media Fakery: Did anyone die on 9-11?
http://www.cluesforum.info/

http://www.septemberclues.info/

9-11 Actors:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aPvJSQtmoE

Pysops.. media.. actors.. propagandists... disinfo agents.. fake videos.. fake photos

Excellent!

I have (personally) experienced and internalized this
about 10 years ago.
Never looked back.

tasmlab's picture

Tim Ferris's 4-hour work week

Tim Ferris's 4-hour work week has this story word for word. He attributes it to a general parable the world over.

Currently consuming: Gatto: "Underground history of education..", FDR; Wii U; NEP Football

i remember this one

i read this about 10+ years ago it was going around as a spam mail. It really does illustrate our absurdity.

I use Blue Wave, but don't expect one of THEIR silly taglines.

You could also perpetually go

You could also perpetually go to school for 10 years and amass several degrees that will surely guarantee a job. In the time it takes to pay off your debt you will have enough to live comfortably 10-15 years down the road.

Or you could not go to college.

Southern Agrarian

Lol... exactly!

Good one...

9-11 Media Fakery: Did anyone die on 9-11?
http://www.cluesforum.info/

http://www.septemberclues.info/

9-11 Actors:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6aPvJSQtmoE

Pysops.. media.. actors.. propagandists... disinfo agents.. fake videos.. fake photos