Written By D.
Once upon a time in the land of Tax-A-Lot most of the serfs were working very hard to improve their lives by growing small gardens in the back of their huts. They were also able to raise more livestock by feeding them from their gardens. Eventually, they had enough crops and livestock so they could sell or trade in the marketplace for goods and services. Life was as good as it gets for the serfs.
But the lords, seeing this success, wanted a share of this largesse so they decided that new taxes were in order. First the Lords ruled that a tax of 50% of all the garden crops and livestock be imposed. They knew this would not be popular so they gathered together the non-productive serfs who were too lazy to grow gardens and were very jealous of the success of the hard working productive serfs. They told these non-productive serfs that they were “less fortunate” and that it was “unfair” for those “rich” serfs to have more. The non-productive serfs readily agreed with this analysis.
The lords made these “less fortunate” serfs the tax collectors and gave them the power to confiscate the crops and livestock owed to the lords. Of course, the lords knew that these non-productive serfs were not to be trusted and expected that a portion of the crops and livestock collected would be stolen by the tax collectors but this was a small matter in their minds.
The goal of the lords was to enrich themselves while setting serf against serf. They posted a declaration in the village that since some of the serfs had more than others, it was only fair that they collect 50% to even the playing field. They had no intention of giving the 50% they collected to the “less fortunate” serfs but knew these serfs would be satisfied skimming off the tax collections and beating up on the “rich” serfs. The lords knew the value of “empowering” the non-productive serfs and allowing them to act out on their feelings of jealousy and hatred.
In the meantime, the productive serfs gathered together and discussed the new tax burden and the way in which it was to be collected. They decided that enough was enough and that they would resist. So they appointed a spokesman to express their grievances and they all headed to the castle to discuss the matter with the lords. But the lords ignored them and mocked their protest. This angered the serfs.
Next the serfs decided to form a group to defend their gardens and livestock from the tax collectors. But the lords sent their loyal castle guards to protect the tax collectors.
What’s a serf to do? Finally, one of the productive serfs realized that it was their productivity that drove Tax-a-Lot, he told the other serfs that without their labor, there was no Tax-a-Lot.
The serfs were willing to make sacrifices to drive home this point because they knew that if they didn’t, they would continue to be oppressed and there would be no end to the greed of the lords.
The serfs destroyed their gardens and all the crops, setting even the Tax-A-Lot fields on fire and they slaughtered all their livestock. They stopped working and Tax-A-Lot quickly ground to a halt. The marketplace closed down as there was nothing to trade. The serfs lived off of roots and rats and anything that was available. But serf’s were used to a life of just getting by and believed this hardship was worth it.
The tax collectors had nothing to collect and as they were held in distain equally by the lords and the productive serfs, they were the first to starve. They realized too late that the productivity of the majority had also kept them fed.
The lords soon realized that their plan had backfired and they had become considerably less wealthy as a result of it. They had gone too far and pushed the serfs too hard, but they still felt the need to abuse their authority because that is what lords do.
So they sent all their troops to intimidate the serfs, but the troops refused to harm the serfs because they knew that without their productivity they too would soon starve. The troops, after all, were just serfs with swords and rightly identified with the serf’s plight.
The serfs convinced the troops that the lords needed to be sent a message. They joined together and headed for the castle. They stood before the Lords and read a declaration of their own.
“Let it be known that from this day forward in the kingdom of Tax-A-Lot that the serfs, will provide the lords a reasonable portion of their labor to cover the costs of governing and defending Tax-A-Lot. The portion will be determined by a vote of all the productive serfs and the lords will have to learn to live within their means. Further, all personal gardens, possessions and accumulated wealth of the serfs will not be subject to taxation.”
The lords had no choice but to accept these terms, because as it turns out, much to everyone’s surprise, the serfs were the real power behind the success of Tax-a-Lot.
And, because this story has no stimulus package or bailouts, Tax-A-Lot became the most productive place in all of the land.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Written By D.