Once upon a time, there was a gold mine owner who owned the gold mine on the hill. He was a benevolent man, but he believed in hard work. Hence, instead of just distributing the gold to the villagers at the foot of the hill, he hired them to work as miners. In exchange, they were given salaries, where they could then purchase goods and services in their village, as well as with villages in adjacent hills.
This got on for a while and life was merry. The gold mine owner had strict rules about mining work and maintained discipline, but he never ill-treated the villagers. The villagers were happy to have work, and happy to be paid the salaries. The more hardworking they were, the more money they had. The villagers began to live more comfortably, though they still led industrious and simple lives as miners.
One day, the world suddenly split into 2 halves and the top half turned upside down.
The hill is now overturned, it split open dropping all the gold into the village below. Gold which once belonged to the gold mine owner, and needed to be mined for, became freely available to everyone in the village. The villagers rejoiced – no more hard life as miners!
With the gold now in their hands, they began to scold the mine owner for making them work for it before. Gold don’t really belong to the mine owner does it? It’s there in the earth for everyone.
So, they drove the gold mine owner out of the village and everyone enjoyed the gold freely. Hard work was forgotten. The mine owner was sad. But there was nothing he could do.
Not everyone in the village received equal amounts of gold. Some got more from and some got less. Soon the villagers started to fight over the gold. Some say they worked longer mining the gold and hence more deserving of the gold. Some say they are young and smart and have the capability to develop the village further, hence deserve the gold to pursue their dreams. Some argued that they are weaker and more vulnerable, and needed more gold than the rest.
Then came the robbery and the stealing as people fought for more gold. Some began peddling fake gold in order to cheat for fame and power. As there were no longer any rules or morals governing the village, people became mean and nasty to one another. “Freedom” is what people relished in and desired.
The unrest went on for a while and the village became a very unhappy place.
Seeing this, the mine owner’s heart ached. This cannot carry on, he thought to himself. He thought of an idea. Braving attacks and criticisms, he returned to the village.
He designed and crafted his gold into things that are useful and opened a shop to sell them. He sold lovely gold pots and pans, beautiful jewellery etc, and offered to hire villagers who have the skills to make them. He offered to teach villagers who are interested how to craft gold into beautiful things so that they too can work in his shop.
The villagers were skeptical initially. You are here to cheat us into hard work again – they say! Attacks came but the mine owner was steadfast.
Slowly, villagers who got tired of the squabbling and fighting started to go to his shop. Those who had more gold purchased some of the lovely things with the gold they have, and sold for more money to the villages in other hills. Those who had less gold started to work for him for a stable stream of salary. These villagers soon became better off than those who were still squabbling and fighting.
As more villagers saw this happening, more began to visit the shop. Gradually, the business grew and expanded, and the village once again prospered as people from other villages also came for the beautiful gold products. The villagers became happy again as they now understood that the best way to freedom is to have peace. And the best way to live is to create value with their lives.
The mine owner grew old and eventually died a peaceful man at a ripe old age. Before that, he groomed and mentored many bright and capable traders and apprentices in gold trading and crafting. He left behind a legacy of value-creation for the village. The world may one day split and turn upside down again. Gold may one day go out of favour. But armed with the principle of value-creation, the villagers forever lived happily ever after.
~ The end ~
Author’s note: The world turned when internet made knowledge free for all to enjoy, instead of only held in the hands of privileged few. But many abused this freedom for personal gain, without creating value from that free knowledge. Are we able to turn this tide, so the world can begin to flourish with creativity and mankind make our next leap forward?