A Tale of Two Villages

Once upon a time there were two identical villages – each with a forest nearby. Each forest was full of beautiful trees (as well as other resources such as berry bushes and fountains of fresh water). The people from the villages used resources from the forests to live off – to build houses and other structures (as well as food to eat and water to drink). The people from the first village used few of the forests resources, and built only modest houses; whilst the people from the second village used more resources (much more resources) and built large, elaborate and fancy mansions. As time went on, it quickly became obvious that the people from the first village were only using as much as the forest could provide, whilst the people from the second village were using more than the forest could provide (and were thus depleting it). Eventually, the people from the first village – whilst their houses were modest compared to those from the second village – still had their forest; the people from the second village however unfortunately used up their entire forest until nothing was left, and sadly the entire village eventually died out because there were no resources to live off anymore.

As obvious as the moral of this tale may seem, it has far more applications than simply the management of natural resources (wood, food and water); it is a tale about timescales and shortsigtedness, and how one party may appear to be better off in the short term – but may be heading for long-term ruin. Nobody makes an investment expecting an immediate return: people make investments expecting to have less in the short term, in return for more overall in the long term; if short-term gratification is the priority, then it is better not to invest and to rather use up the resources immediately (obviously resulting in long-term ruin however). Indeed; this tale has applications in business and ethics, in relationships and chastity, and even in mortality and life-after-death.

Author’s note:
This tale is told in a simple and straightforwards way, and care should be taken not to draw incorrect lessons from it: The people from the first village did not hand over management of their forest to some other unscrupulous entity, nor did they refuse to use any resources from the forest at all (which would also have resulted in those people dying out, just as the people from the second village did). As always; common sense, due diligence and careful good judgement are recommended companions to keep in any situation.

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