Posted by: guinness222 | April 9, 2006

The economics of a pie

The economics of a pie
Once upon a time there was a warm, delicious smelling pie sitting on the windowsill of the Emerald Coast. As the lure of it’s smell wafted though out the entire area more and more people began to salivate and lust for a piece of the pie. Eventually the pie cooled sufficiently to be sliced and partaken of by all those around. But then a most serious problem arose,…the number of people wanting a piece of the pie began to increase almost geometrically to a point that seemed to be unreasonable!
The cook looked out the window and immediately sensed this as being more than a serious problem, but one bordering on almost catastrophic. The first thought in the cook’s mind was that by slicing smaller pieces, more could be fed, and the dilemma would be solved. But each time the cook served a piece, and looked up to hand it out, she noticed the crowd of anxious pie-eaters had become even larger,…so she began to slice smaller slices.
Pretty soon it was evident that even that was going to be woefully short in meeting the demand for the pie. As the pressure grew and the crowds surged in, becoming a little more hostile and ruder, the cook had an idea. She grabbed a piece of paper and scrawled “”Slice of pie …$5.00” and put it on the windowsill. The crowd pulled back a little, but only momentarily, then it resurged. She quickly grabbed the sign, and put a “1” before the five, making it $15 a slice, the crowd ebbed again, but only momentarily. She began to slice furiously, trying to keep up with the demand, to no avail. A new swell of demand began rising from the crowds, so again she grabbed the crayon and scratched out the “$15” and replaced it with “$100”, but the crowd kept surging, gleefully shoving hands full of dollars at her and demanding their piece.
Then she heard a voice from back in the line somewhere, “I’ll give you $200 for a slice!”, so she beckoned the voice forward and took the money, then she heard a voice say “$300”, and she took the money and handed out another sliver of her pie. As the dollars piled up and the pie plate got barer the cook was consumed with greed, “Who’ll give me $500 for a slice?”, she called out as she sliced the remaining pie into even smaller pieces, thinking about taking that round the world cruise she always dreamed of in her younger days.
And then the pie was all gone.
The crowds began to come to their senses and noticed how small their pieces were, but noticed all the other people who had no pie. So they began to sell their pieces at outrageous sums to the other people who had none, but fistfuls of dollars with which to buy the slice. One or two entrepreneurs cut their slices into even smaller pieces and sold them all as well. And the crowds grew bigger and bigger, all lusting for a piece of the pie.
The cook, now wealthy beyond her imagination, began to look around and noticed her lawn and beautiful rose bushes were all torn up and crushed, her neat picket fence was a shambles, and the entire area was covered with litter and crumbs. She was torn between the fortune she made with her pie, and the devastation of her once neat and pretty yard and property.
That night while she slept a storm blew in from the Gulf of Mexico and further added to the mess and devastation in her yard. She woke up to a totally different place from that which she knew yesterday morning, but now she was comforted by her bulging bank account, no more worries about health care costs, being able to send both her children and their children to the most elite and expensive schools for an education, retirement, and just freedom from the everyday stress of worry. “And they say money can’t buy happiness”, she sighed and began making another pie. For now she knew the cost of a piece of the pie would never be too expensive for some, and those that could not afford it would simply have to eat cake instead!

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