Larger group – different rules?

Imagine 10 people living on an island. How would they survive? Obviously they would have to be productive. They would have to hunt or grow food. They would have to build and maintain homes if they wanted a decent standard of living. Now imagine that one of those 10 people claims he has a way for them to all improve their lives. He claims they have a sluggish economy and he can make things better. How does he propose to do this? He points to a tree and explains: we are going to use the leaves from this tree as money. Each leaf will be one dollar. We will do all of our business in dollar-leaves from now on. I am going to pull 1000 leaves off of this tree for each person on the island! Thus now we all have leaf money to buy the things we need and our economic problems are solved. We will all have a higher standard of living!

The other 9 people on the island would most likely conclude that they should end their misery by ending the goof ball with the dopey idea. Why provide him with some of the results of their hard work when all he wants to do is pull worthless leaves off of trees?

Now let’s suppose we make the group 20 people rather than 10, has anything fundamentally changed? Will their problems now be solved by using leaves as money? How about if the group is 100 people? 100,000 people? So why is it that if we make the group 200 million people and call the man with the leaf idea Barack Obama, we all believe it?

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