To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution
Once upon a time there was a great island named Slamerica. It laid two hundred miles beyond Christmas and on the left side of New Year. Its inhabitants called themselves Slamericans. The island was divided by a wide and turbulent river. On one side of the river lived the Slamericans who raised food; on the other side those who made clothing. The river was spanned by a bridge belonging to a fat man named Ploot.
Now it so happened that the Slamerican food raisers could not live without clothing, while the clothing makers could not live without food. This being the case, one would think that these people simply exchanged the products of their labor, clothes for food, and food for clothes, but they didn’t.
Whenever a food raiser wanted clothing to cover his nakedness he would fetch a pig to the owner of the bridge and speak thusly: “Oh! mighty Ploot, Lord of Spondulix and Captain of Iron Wheels, behold thy servant and take pity upon him. The seat of my breeches has gone t’o naught and the seam of my garment has frazzled to frazzles. My elbows peep through. The sleeves and cry for covering. Mighty Lord, I pray of thee give me spondulix for this porker that I may purchase garments for my nakedness.”
Thereupon Ploot would consult a chart of information. which he had made for himself this very morning, and spake also: “The market price of pigs is five plunks to-day; here are the plunks.”
Then the food raiser would tear his hair and smite his chest and cry in loud tones: “I am robbed, hornswaggled and flimflammed out of this noble porker which I have slopped, fed and nursed with more diligence and care than I have expended upon the children of my own bosom. Five plunks! Oh! my eyes! Five plunks-have mercy upon me!”
But Ploot only smole a smile and jingled the silver plunks in his fat paw.
While the food raiser thus wailed and wept a chilly breeze stole out of the icebergs on the north pole and crawled through the holes of his garments and he made a frantic grab for the five plunks. “Now,” he muttered, “let me have a garment.”
"Go easy,” replied Ploot, “I am not in business for the fun of it. This bridge cost oodles of spondulix. Am I not entitled to a reward for my abstinence for not having eaten this bridge? Besides the land on which these pillars rest belongs to me and surely I ought to have some rent for the use of it. Then too I must have a little profit on, my investment in this clothing stock. Therefore go hence and fetch me three more pigs.
“One for interest, “One for rent, and, “One for profit.”
The food raiser departed with a sorely puzzled mind to do as he was told.
From the other side of the river approached a garment maker. with a new suit of clothes slung over his arm. As soon as he spied the fat man, on the bridge he cried, “My stomach is as empty as a summer resort in January. It growls until the echoes reverberate on the walls. Have mercy upon me and give me a porker to still the voice in my innards. O! mighty Ploot, take this garment and give me’ food.”
Thereupon the Ploot handed to the garment maker five plunks and bade him to return and fetch three more garments. The poor worker looked flabbergasted at this, but Ploot only said :
“One for interest, “One for rent, and “One for profit.”
The garment man was too hungry to argue the case, so he took himself hence to do as he was told.
When the food raiser and garment worker returned next day, the one with three pigs and the other with three suits of clothes, PIboot gave each one fifteen shining plunks. Then he sold the pig to the hungry tail,or for twenty plunks and the suit of clothing to the shivering food raiser for the same sum.
These were prosperous times and business was brisk. The two workers had earned twenty plunks apiece. One departed with a pig, and the other with a new suit. Both were happy and so w’as Ploot, for he had not only gotten all his money back but three suits of clothes and three pigs in the bargain.
All the Slamericans went through the same transaction every time they needed food and clothing and so it happened that Ploot often got more than he could eat or wear. At such times he would lock the gates to the bridge and hang out a sign saying, “Closed on account of over production.” But the great and wise ones among the Slamericans called it a panic and explained to the people that over productibn of food was the prime cause of starvation, while too much clothing was the cause of the nakedness in the world.
One day a crank came among these people and said, “Let us build a bridge of our own and do away with Ploot who charges us interest for money he took away from us, who makes us pay rent for land which the Creator made for all, and who demands of us profit for being in our way. With a bridge of our own we can exchange pig for garment and garment for pig instead of paying four pigs for one garment and four garments for one pig.” When Ploot heard this he called the Slamericans together and spake: “Harken unto me. This man would drive capital out of the country. Do I not give you work? By allowing you to make four suits for one pig and to raise four pigs, for one suit, do I not give employment to you, your wife and children? If, as this agitator saith, a pig could be swapped for a suit and a suit for a pig, then you would be out of work three-fourths of the time. Does not the holy book say, “in the sweat of thy brow thou shalt eat bread?” Who gives you an opportunity to sweat? It’s me. This man would rob you of the incentive to work. He would destroy the Gods and steal your wives. Stone him, hang him!”
And when the people heard Ploot say all this they tied a millstone around the neck of the crank and sunk him to the bottom of the river.