The Haircut: a Tale ‘doing the rounds’ in Canada


 
        Blessed are those that can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.
       
One day a florist went to a barber for a haircut. After the cut, he
        asked about his bill, and the barber replied, 'I cannot accept money
        from you, I'm doing community service this week.'
        The florist was pleased and left the shop.
        When the barber went to open his shop the next morning, there was a
        'thank you' card and a dozen roses waiting for him at his door.
        Later, a cop comes in for a haircut, and when he tries to pay his bill,
         the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from you, I'm doing
        community service this week.' The cop was happy and left the shop.
        The next morning when the barber went to open up, there was a 'thank
        you ' card and a dozen donuts waiting for him at his door.
        Then a Member of Parliament came in for a haircut, and when he went to
        pay his bill , the barber again replied, 'I cannot accept money from
        you. I'm doing community service this week.  'The Member of Parliament
        was very happy and left the shop.
        The next morning, when the barber went to open up, there were a dozen
        Members of Parliament lined up waiting for a free haircut.
 
       And that, my friends, illustrates the fundamental difference between
        the citizens of our country and the politicians who run it… Smile… Al.
 
To which Wallace Klinck replied:


Smile or not, Al—the story has nothing directly to do with the substance of the subject being considered.  The “politicians” or “spongers” as you would probably call them were there to take advantage at the barber's expense—which he could not afford and would drive him into bankruptcy if such demands continued.  They wanted to “steal” or “freeload" from him at either his expense or that of the public, which the barber would have to charge additionally in prices in order to make up for his extra expense. 
You are talking about micro relationships in which financial costs are accounted within a specific enterprise to produce prices.  This is not synonymous with macro-economics and the financial factors that drive the economy as a whole.  It is a dangerous mistake to identify the part as being identical in nature with the whole. 
 
My impression is that you have never studied macro-economics as a subject and are only familiar with personal financial relationships as you have encountered them in daily life--which are two very different matters.  You err in concentrating on certain behaviour which you associate with human nature to the entire neglect of the technical aspects of a functioning, or mal-functioning, economy as a whole.
A system that is technically dysfunctional cannot be used to justify criticism of human nature which will respond uniquely, positively or negatively, to prevailing conditions.  Stories of this nature are actually harmful inasmuch as they tend to reinforce and perpetuate certain popular myths which blame our problems on human nature while exempting the financial system from responsibility. 
Such tales are no doubt music to bankers' and central planners' ears, because by placing the blame for our problems on human nature as a whole they divert attention from their own disruptive and exploitative behaviours. They perpetuate nonsensical and gravely erroneous public assumptions that the price-system is self-liquidating and tend to blame individual irresponsibility as being the cause of financial debt.
 
Sorry for my seeming lack of humour… Wally
 

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