The incredible story of the man, the donkey and the truck (2)

And then Pedro’s donkey died. In the meantime technology had progressed and sometimes Pedro saw a truck taking “frijoles negros” to the market in San José.
This truck carried 100 bags to the market in just ten minutes. Remembering what Adan Smith-Herrero had told him, Pedro calculated that if he owned a truck, his productivity compared to working with his donkey would increase fifty times six equals three hundred times. And compared to him working alone, his productivity would increase a whopping a hundred times twelve equals twelve hundred times! This wetted Pedro’s capitalist appetite for profit.

But, unfortunately, the bank would not loan him the money, for he could not provide collateral. The land he cultivated was part of an undivided inheritance, registered in his grandfather’s name. His family were unwilling to mortgage it out. So Pedro contacted the owner of the truck, to see if he could buy it second-hand,
paying with his labor and a large amount of beans. The owner was an American called Buck Business. Buck was unwilling to sell his truck, but offered Pedro a dignified job as a truck driver at a monthly salary double of what he used to make when working with his donkey. This was an offer Pedro could not refuse. He abandoned his “hacienda” and entered the service of Buck Business. And so it was that Pedro became a have-not capitalist. But he was not yet aware of that fact.

Pedro opens one eye

One day Pedro met a bearded man who was writing a book about “capital”. The man, Carlos Marxoso, told Pedro that Buck Business paid Pedro no more than a pittance and that the rest of the money Pedro made with Buck’s truck was really stolen from him. Now, Marxoso was a strange fellow. He detested what he called “capitalism”. But as an economist he agreed with Adan Smith-Herrero that the truck had increased Pedro’s productivity 1200 times, ignoring Pedro’s protestations that it was really the truck that did the work. And Marxoso agreed with capitalist Buck Business that working for a monthly wage was very dignified. In fact, Marxsoso glorified the wage worker, whom he called “proletarians”. He called upon proletarians of all countries to unite.

What particularly stuck in Pedro’s mind was Marxoso’s point that profit is in reality theft from the wage worker. He began to feel that Buck was stealing from him. This feeling was strengthened by the fact that prices had gone up, but Pedro’s wages had not. And Buck was living in opulent luxury. Hatred and envy began to take hold of Pedro’s mind, which will always be the case when masses of people are living in dire poverty while some few have it all. One must be seeing blind not to see this. The gap between rich and poor is too wide and keeps on widening. Whenever this is the case, Revolution is never far away. As a matter of fact, this is the case right now, in 2009. What are we waiting for?