A miser turned all his wealth into a single large lump of gold. He then buried it in a field. Each day he would go and dig it up and marvel at how much gold was his. A thief noticed this and followed him secretly. Then when the miser was gone the thief dug up the gold and took it.
The miser was greatly upset by this, but a farmer who had observed it all said, “Place a rock where your gold used to be and pretend that’s it. It will do you as much good.”
1. Is it always better to diversify your assets?
2. On whose property did the miser bury the gold? Was it his own or public land? Would this make a difference?
3. How should the thief declare the gold on his tax returns?
4. Was the thief a professional or a guy who just happened to notice the miser going to the same place every day? Spend some time on this question. Your teacher’s fixing a gin and tonic.
5. What kind of profession is “miser” anyway? Have you ever mised?
6. Is this story victim-blaming?
7. Like many of the fables attributed to Aesop this story has been retold in various versions for over 2500 years. How did the farmer basically manage to invent modern economics?