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The Fisherman and the Farmer – A Tale About Overexploitation

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Ilaria Perissi and Nicola Calisi playing the fisherman and his wife in a theatrical piece shown in Florence in 2017. The piece was based on the story told below (text by Ugo Bardi). The origin of this story is told here.

Once upon a time, a fisherman who lived on the shore of the lake went to visit his cousin, a farmer, who lived in the countryside.

“Cousin,” said the fisherman, “I am glad to see you and that God blessed you with a good wife and many children. But I also see that your children are thin, and they look hungry, and the same is true for your wife. I am sad at seeing that, cousin. Why don’t you make bread for your children with the grain that I saw you keep in the granary? Don’t you trust God to provide for you in the future? I can tell you that God gives me abundant fish from the lake where I fish, and my good wife and my children don’t starve.”

“Cousin,” said the farmer, “I am glad to see you, too, and I am sure that God blessed you in giving you abundant fish so that your wife and your children do not starve. But you are right when you say that my children are hungry, and it is true that we haven’t had much bread to eat. But the land sometimes gives us plenty and sometimes not so much. This year, times were more difficult than usual and the harvest was not so good as I hoped it would be. Yet, I must follow the rules that my father followed, and my grandfather before him followed, and the ancient fathers of all of us followed. And I follow these rules not because I don’t trust God to provide us with food that, but because I think that it is what God wants us to do. Every year, some seed must be kept for the new harvest and this is the seed I keep in the granary. No matter how hungry we are, this seed cannot be eaten. And that the same for everything we have: from mushrooms to the berries of the woods. Whatever we take from the land, we must not take too much of it, so that there will be more of it in the new season. And this is the way of the farmer and I will follow it.”

“And so be it, cousin,” said the fisherman, “I will go back to my family on the shore of the lake, and may God bless you and your family and keep hunger away from all of you.”

“And so be it, cousin,” said the farmer, “I wish you a good trip back home on the shore of the lake and may God bless you and your family and keep hunger away from all of you.”

Some years later, the farmer went to visit his cousin, the fisherman, who lived on the shore of the lake.

“Cousin,” said the farmer. “I am glad to see you again, but I see that your children are thin, and they look hungry, and the same is true for your wife. What happened? Why can’t you fish enough to feed your family? I remember that the last time I saw you, you told me that God had blessed you with abundant fish from the lake.”

“Cousin,” said the fisherman, “I am glad to see you again, too. And I told you the truth, some years ago, when I said that God had blessed us with plenty of fish. But since then, many fishermen have been fishing in the lake, and they all have children, just like me. And the more we keep fishing, the less fish there is in the lake. And now that the lake is almost empty of fish, we can’t feed our children.”

“But, cousin,” said the farmer, “why didn’t you and the other fishermen fished a little less when there was still plenty of fish? You should have waited for the new fish to be born, just as we farmers wait for the new harvest to grow. In this way, you wouldn’t have emptied the lake of fish and your children would not starve now.”

“Cousin,” said the fisherman, “you are right and what you are telling me is something that I thought myself. But I also thought that, if I fished less, then the other fishermen would catch the fish that I wouldn’t catch. And I think that every fisherman thought the same and we all went fishing as often as we could, and we fished as much as we could until there was almost no more fish in the lake because we fish the young fish just as the old. And now we don’t have much food to feed our children, but we still must follow the way of the fisherman, as my father did, and his father, and the ancestors of all of us. And this way is to fish and to keep fishing and hope that God will keep hunger away from us and from our families.”

“And so be it, cousin,” said the farmer, “I will pray God for you that He may keep hunger away from you and from your family. But I am afraid that God may not help those who caused their own ruin.”

“And so be it, cousin,” said the fisherman, “and I thank you for your prayers although it may well be that God will not help those who caused their own ruin. But I wish that God will help you and the other farmers who wisely keep the seed of the present harvest for the future harvest.

Below, the announcement of the play.

 Cassandra’s legacy by Ugo Bardi 


14 Comments on "The Fisherman and the Farmer – A Tale About Overexploitation"

  1. makati1 on Fri, 11th May 2018 5:45 pm 

    All the Us can build is junk:

    “SOS: America’s Newest Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier Suffers Breakdown At Sea”

    What does $12,900,000,000. buy today in the Us? Junk!

    “In January, the $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) aircraft carrier experienced a propulsion system failure, during a period of intense performance tests.”

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-05-11/sos-americas-newest-nuclear-powered-aircraft-carrier-suffers-breakdown-sea

    “…there are four propellers with four thrust blocks, which if GE poorly manufactured one thrust bearing, then, are the other three comprised as well?”

    Answer: likely. And this is the Navy the Us depends on? In war time this carriers would be toast. $12.9 Billion wasted. Ah well, it is only the serfs blood, not the 1%er’s.

    I seem to remember another new Us Navy ship having to be towed…ah yes!

    https://www.rt.com/usa/367866-uss-zumwalt-stealth-break-down/

    But that one only cost $362,000,000. LMAO

    NOW BACK TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED … PROGRAMMING.

  2. MASTERMIND on Fri, 11th May 2018 5:57 pm 

    Madkat

    the only thing that breaks is your marriage.

  3. makati1 on Fri, 11th May 2018 6:23 pm 

    Give it a break, Mm. You are so out of it that even the delusional Davy’s fantasy life for me is more logical. But then, he is married and knows what you may never know. Responsibility.

  4. makati1 on Fri, 11th May 2018 6:41 pm 

    Think it cannot happen again…or worse?
    “On this day in 1934, a massive storm sends millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta.”

    https://www.theburningplatform.com/2018/05/11/this-day-in-history-dust-storm-sweeps-from-great-plains-across-eastern-states-1934-2/#more-176047

    “Over a period of two days, high-level winds caught and carried some 350 million tons of silt all the way from the northern Great Plains to the eastern seaboard. According to The New York Times, dust “lodged itself in the eyes and throats of weeping and coughing New Yorkers,” and even ships some 300 miles offshore saw dust collect on their decks.”

    Food independent America? LMAO

  5. MASTERMIND on Fri, 11th May 2018 6:44 pm 

    Madkat

    whats China going to do when the oil crisis hits? They are the worlds largest importer? Looks like their days are numbered! LOL Silk road..is going to turn into a gravel road…LOL

  6. Davy on Fri, 11th May 2018 6:44 pm 

    3rd world spare us the ZH drama on the carrier. It has not even been commissioned yet.

  7. makati1 on Fri, 11th May 2018 7:10 pm 

    MM, China has a neighbor with lots of oil. It has pipelines to many oil sources. It doesn’t need to ship it by sea. I think China will manage quite well. As for the Us…. all it has is lies and a bankrupt system. When the SHTF, it will die. After all, it imports most of it’s necessities from….China.

    “… the key ingredients for so many essential drugs, from antibiotics and birth control pills to treatments for cancer, depression, high cholesterol and HIV/AIDS, are purchased from China,…”

    https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/09/chinas-lock-on-drugs-could-be-a-problem-for-trump–and-your-cold.html

    Drugs, rare earths, etc. All come from China. The US has no way to replace them in any reasonable time. (Years)

  8. makati1 on Fri, 11th May 2018 7:16 pm 

    Davy, in WW2, they could build a ship in weeks that worked. The Us cannot build anything that works, even after 4+ years of construction. Like buying a new Lamborghini and the drive shaft breaks as you drive it off the lot. Quality control totally absent! LOL

  9. DerHundistlos on Sat, 12th May 2018 4:32 am 

    Madkat:

    the US learned its lesson in 1934 and since then soil erosion loss has improved steadily year after year.

    In China, nearly 20% of the TOTAL land area is desert and growing rapidly due to a combination of poor farming practices, drought and increased demand for groundwater. The result: farmers are forced to abandon their land, levels of rural poverty rise and the intensity of sandstorms, which batter northern and western China each year, continue to intensify.

  10. makati1 on Sat, 12th May 2018 4:56 am 

    Maybe that is so, Der, but the Us depends, no needs, chemicals in huge amounts to get crops from the depleted, destroyed soil. Not to mention oil. Americans use 2+ Gallons of oil, per day, per capita, to maintain their lifestyle. The Filipino uses two CUPS per day. Who will notice the lack of oil first?

    The Us farm is based on huge machine and a lot of oil. The Ps farmer still does most farming without power machines or tools. He cannot afford them. A good thing because his life will go on much as usual after the SHTF. Those in the Us will not.

    I suspect that most Chinese farms are similar. Small, powered by muscle and sweat. At least, that is my observation. I guess we shall see.

  11. Davy on Sat, 12th May 2018 6:20 am 

    “The Ps farmer still does most farming without power machines or tools. He cannot afford them. A good thing because his life will go on much as usual after the SHTF.”
    Total nonsense and the reason you can’t be relied on to talk about farming. I am not even going to put a reference for that. I challenge you to show how the P’s farms without modern inputs and transport.

    “I suspect that most Chinese farms are similar. Small, powered by muscle and sweat. At least, that is my observation. I guess we shall see.”
    China has the largest farms in the world, 3rd world. They have a lot of small farming too. Get your facts right. You would look better if you didn’t talk out your ass on every subject following your blind lying agenda of hate and discontent.

  12. kanon on Sat, 12th May 2018 4:12 pm 

    DerHundistlos: “the US learned its lesson in 1934 and since then soil erosion loss has improved steadily year after year.”

    Less and less soil is left to erode. I think modern ag practices reduce soil through erosion and by killing the humus. IMHO, there is no acceptable level of soil erosion and we should be looking at this in terms of soil creation. But I am not a farmer or a chemical salesman and I don’t evaluate this in terms of mortgages, lease rates, and equipment loans.

  13. DerHundistlos on Sat, 12th May 2018 9:53 pm 

    Madkat:

    Despite “depleted and destroyed soil” (hyperbole), America’s crop yields are the envy of the world. Without US grain exports, billions would die.

    For example, In 1982, Missouri’s erosion rate was 10.9 tons per acre, the second-highest in the country. By 2007, the rate was cut by more than half, to 5.3 tons. Since 1982, Missouri’s soil erosion rate dropped more than any other state with more than 10 million acres of cropland thanks to the passage of a tiny one-tenth-of-one-percent sales tax in 1984, now called the Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax

  14. makati1 on Sat, 12th May 2018 10:37 pm 

    Der, you buy that Us propaganda bullshit too? “Without US grain exports, billions would die.”

    The US total grain exports for last year would give each of the 7,600,000,000+ humans about 26 pounds of grain each, per year. And, last year’s exports were about 20% higher than the years before, I didn’t notice any extra millions dying off of starvation before the increase. (Which is set to drop to the old level this year)

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/190348/total-us-grain-exports-from-2001/

    BTW: 26 pounds of grain would make about 26 loaves of bread. Or grow one chicken. Hardly a huge loss. Certainly not billions of deaths. I keep telling Americans that they ARE dispensable. lol

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