May 30, 2007

Ten on an Island

The premise is that there are ten people on an island, they are a sovereign nation, and they are trying to determine how best to govern themselves.

Question #2: One of the 10 goes out fishing one day and catches 10 fish. He brings them back, cleans them and prepares them for dinner. How does he go about distributing them among the 10?


email said...

Are there still 10, or did we kill the religious extremist? :)

Eric Olsen said...

lol, still 10, will always be 10 in these debates to try and better understand the foundations of how a better government could be designed.

Justin Elder said...

Do other members of the island do other things to contribute to the community or is he/she the only one that does everything? Also, do they have a currency they live by or not?

Eric Olsen said...


no currency. i didn't want to create a lot of unnecessary rules in this situation, but feel free to make assumptions about the others in the group

Justin Elder said...

If i were the one catching the fish, I would create a barter system whereby someone offers me something in return for the fish for dinner. If I want to sell low to Wilson, I can, and if i want to sell high to Ms. Hilton, then i will. If those who are concerned about prices they can either strike a deal with me before i go catch more fish or go catch fish themselves, it's their choice.

email said...

The seemingly obvious answer is: just give everyone a fish. Ten people, 10 fish. But of course, human nature being what it is, the person catching the fish won't like that because he did all the work. And rightly so.

The barter system suggested by Justin seems the next logical step, but suppose that one of the 10 is a small child or has a disability that makes him unable to contribute anything that the fisherman (or anyone else) needs or wants. Since he cannot fish for himself and does not have a skill to contribute for trade, should this person starve to death?

Now I suppose the fisherman could choose to just give some fish to this person, but what if he's a prick? Then I suppose someone else could trade the prick for two portions of fish and give one to the charity case. But could we guarantee that someone would do that, or would everyone point fingers for someone else to take care of it? Do we require that everyone do a little extra to take care of the "drain on society"?

What, welfare so soon?!? We've hardly gotten started! :)

Eric Olsen said...

jmc definitely hit some very good points here...and incidentally, started to spoil a new topic for tomorrow.

another thought: if these 10 are made up of alliances (families), would that change the distribution factors?

Therefore, instead of deciding between whether we want to create an island based on either collective responsibility or individual responsibility, we develop a third option: familial responsibility?

email said...

That idea was flitting around my brain as well, when I mentioned one might be a child, but my comment was heading elsewhere and getting a little long, and I didn't want to start rambling. Glad you brought it up. One thought leads to another, you know, and pretty soon I'd have had them battling it out as tribes a la "Survivor." Whoever can stand on a 6" diameter post in the middle of shark-infested water the longest gets the fish. :)

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