Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Mexican Fisherman and the Businessman

Bison's post today made me think about a story I read a while back.  I was sitting in a Jimmy John's and they had it hanging up on the wall. 

A fisherman docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

"Not very long," answered the Mexican.

"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his
needs and those of his family.

The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar and sing a few songs."

The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help
you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."

"And after that?" asked the Mexican.

With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you could sell them directly to the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You could leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City!  From there you could direct your huge new enterprise."

"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.

"Twenty..maybe 25 years," replied the American.

"And after that?" the Mexican asked.

"After that? That's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you could go public, sell your stock and make millions!"

"Millions? Really? And after that?"

"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings drinking and enjoying your friends."


Anonymous said...

Very funny. A joke to make fun of stupid hard working Americans. I also think it's funny the way television commercials always make fun of stupid white men.

chinasyndrome said...

Wow,Anon I think ya missed the point.The point I got from it was you can work really hard for 20 - 25 years to go back to where you were already at.i thought it was pretty cute!


The Urban Survivalist said...

It's not a joke. It's a parable. Being a stupid, hard working American I get the point of it. Luckily, I have a job that I love. I've had jobs that I hated (which I didn't last long at) and I know a lot of people who work hard even though they seem to hate their job. No amount of money is worth being miserable.

Mayberry said...

I love that story, and in a way I'm living it. Soon I hope to really live it... Yes, anony missed the point entirely...

Anonymous said...

To be fair, the joke should insert, "and hope I don't get murdered going from the ocean, to my hovel, to the bar" to the first part....and insert, "in an ocean front mansion with body guards so I don't get killed" to the last part.

You don't need wealth to "exist" in that sea-side town, but simply "existing" there is a pretty small part of the puzzle.