A simplified exercise in socialism | Dafacto

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A simplified exercise in socialism

16 September 2009

Obviously not a perfect analogy, but I found it cute nonetheless.

10 friends visit the same bar each night to have a few beers. The bill for the 10 comes to $100, and they choose to split it according to the Socialist way in which they pay taxes; i.e. a proportional scale according to wealth.

  • The first four (the poorest), pay nothing.
  • The 5th pays $1
  • The 6th pays $3
  • The 7th pays $7
  • The 8th pays $12
  • The 9th pays $18
  • The 10th (the richest) pays $59.

The 10 had agreed to this scale, and so they were content, until one day the barman said, “You guys are such good clients, that I’m going to reduce your daily bill by $20. From this point forward, you’ll pay $80.”

The group wanted to continue sharing the bill proportionally, so that the four poorest would still continue to drink free. But how should they divide the $20 savings among the six that had previously been paying?

Simply dividing the $20 equally between the six ($3.33 each) would result in the 5th and 6th getting paid to drink, so the barman suggested they distribute the $20 savings using the same proportional scale that originally determined how much each paid in the first place.

  • The 5th would no longer pay. (He saved 100%).
  • The 6th would pay $2 instead of $3. (33% savings.)
  • The 7th would pay $5 instead of $7. (28% savings.)
  • The 8th would pay $9 instad of $12. (25% savings.)
  • The 9th would pay $14 instead of $18. (22% savings.)
  • And the 10th would pay $49 instead of $59 (16% savings.)

Each of the six paying friends ended up in a situation better than before. The original four contiued to drink free, as well, now, as the fifth. However, upon leaving bar, something odd happened – they began to compare their savings:

  • Looking at the 10th, the 6th said, “Hey, I only received a $1 of savings from the $20, while that guy received $10!”
  • “That’s correct,” said the 5th, “I also only saved $1. It’s unfair he received ten times more than me!”
  • “It’s true!,” said the 7th, “The rich always manage to receive more benefits!”
  • “Wait a second,” argued the first four, “We didn’t receive anything at all! As usual, the system exploits the poor!”

The angry first nine circled the 10th, and beat him up.

The next night, the 10th naturally decided not to join his “friends” at the bar. Unfortunately, when it came time for the remaining 9 to pay their bill, between all of them, they couldn’t come up with even half the money needed.

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