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Parable of the market

Economy

Why did Jesus speak so often in parables? One reason, perhaps, is that the people He addressed had never seen the Kingdom of Heaven. Hearing a good parable is the next best thing to understanding through personal experience. Of course, people need to open their hearts and minds to be willing to listen and perceive.

I can't take my kids with me back in time to observe and learn from all the ugliness of real-life socialism. Sharing some of my actual experiences leads to confusion---attitudes and actions that were the norm at the time don't always make sense for those who have grown up in a very different environment. Thus, to save time, I often resort to allegorical tools. While analyzing market vs. government failures with my students, I found a little inspiration from P.J. O'Rourke to share my personal experiences as a swimmer living on Long Island, N.Y.

What shall we say the market is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? The free market is a dangerous place. It's full of jellyfish, sharks, and rip currents. It's like going to Gilgo Beach when the summer is over. No appointed experts to save you from drowning---you enter it at your own risk. No signs to tell you how to swim. Or breathe.

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The unfree market is just as dangerous. It's also full of jellyfish, sharks, and rip currents. But you have Big Brother taking care of you. It's like going to Jones Beach. There's a big sign that says, "Swimming Prohibited." There's a police car patrolling the beach ready to arrest the unruly, irresponsible, under-informed, stupid tourists who dare to get wet above their ankles.Big Brother never sleeps. He watches after those naive ci

tizens who have developed the unhealthy idea that they should be in charge of their own lives. Big Brother is there to discipline the troublemakers who believe that they should be responsible for their own actions. And if you refuse to pay taxes to keep Big Brother's police car driving along the deserted beaches, they cuff you with the cuffs you bought for the murderers and rapists and put you in a cell they built with your money for the thieves and false witnesses.

Alex Tokarev
Alex Tokarev

Alex is the chair of the Department of Business at Morthland College in West Frankfort, Ill., and teaches at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. The native of communist Bulgaria fanatically supports the Bulgarian soccer team, Levski.

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