Thursday, 24 March 2005

The ant and the grasshopper

This was a wonderful email going around. Just had to put it up.

CLASSIC VERSION


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper has no food or shelter so he dies in the cold.


MODERN VERSION

The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter.
The grasshopper thinks he's a fool and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the shivering grasshopper calls a press conference and demands to know why the ant should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others are cold and starving.
BBC, CNN, NDTV show up to provide pictures of the shivering grasshopper next to a video of the ant in his comfortable home with a table filled with food.
The world is stunned by the sharp contrast. How can this be that this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so?
Arundhati Roy stages a demonstration outside the ant's house. Amnesty International and Kofi Annan criticise the government for not upholding the fundamental rigths of the grasshopper.
The Internet is flooded with online petitions seeking support for the grasshopper. Opposition MPs stage a walkout from Parliament.
Left parties call for a Bharat Bandh in West Bengal and Kerala demanding a judicial enquiry.
Finally, the Judicial Committee drafts the Prevention of Terrorism Against Grasshoppers Act (POTAGA) with effect from the beginning of winter.
The ant is fined for failing to comply with POTAGA, and having nothing to pay his retroactive taxes, his home is confiscated by the government and handed over to the grasshopper in a ceremony covered by BBC, CNN and NDTV.
Arundhati Roy calls it "a triumph of justice".


POSTSCRIPT

The ant dies of starvation, and the grasshopper dances away the winter and summer. Come next winter the grasshopper knows nothing about building or maintaining a home. He searches for the ant, but there are not ants anymore. So the grassshopper dies too.
Arundhati Roy comes back to claim an award for predicting the environmental collapse that contributed to the extinction of the ant, and then the grasshopper. She donates the money to build a centre for environmental justice.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a very illustrative fable. I remember this as the first lesson in my understanding of socialism. Superficially, it promised equity but when I dug below to look for wealth-generating processes I could find none. It was all about distribution and redistribution of wealth. Only capitalistic processes could engender wealth creation and distribution. And as Kanwal Rekhi pointed out intuitively and clearly "You gotta create wealth before you distribute it!"

To take the discussion forward, I have a problem with the process of law which is ultimately about distributing a given piece of pie between two warring parties. There are not many lawyers/ judges out there who understand the importance of sticking to principles of wealth creation - of enlarging the pie. So labour retrenchment will be frowned against because it will lead to loss of employment. What will be disregarded that the same employer in profit would employ more and many others like him would jump into the fray. I agree that there are many other nuances to this issue. Nevertheless, I am still looking for literature that can shed more light to solve this basic issue in the approach of law.
Can you suggest some?

Researching Reality
Naveen

Jwaala said...

That is a hilarious one, even if slightly politically incorrect !!!

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