The Tale of the Village

Once upon a time, there was a village in a desert that relied on this pipe connected to a lake for water. In the village, the pipe connected to a pool where villagers could draw from. Now because the water was a finite resource, everyone in the village had certain rations. But because of decades of bad management the pipe’s once sufficient flow no longer put out enough water. The village, made of bright and opinionated people, through their extensive research on Google, sitting in their chairs, found that the reason there was little water was because there were massive holes in the pipe. Yet these same people decided that the best solution was to demand from the village leaders that they increase the ration of each villager so that they could expect to receive more water, the water after all was very badly needed. The leaders thought about it, and decided that since they’re going to be skewered on social media if they didn’t do that, that it was the right decision to increase rations. So they signed an order increasing what each villager should get without first fixing the holes in the pipe. On the day when the new rations were to take effect, the village people cheered the politicians. The sponsors of the bill gave speeches about how being compassionate and caring for people with needs, and everyone clapped. With a beautiful ceremony, they announced that from this day forward, that the village people could rely on larger rations because the government hadmade it a law. The people lined up for their rations and great excitement all carrying larger buckets. The government had listened to their tweets and posts and memes. The first batch of villagers drew from the pipe, filled their buckets, and exclaimed, “I have more water!” And the crowd cheered once more. The next batch did the same, and they also exclaimed, “I have more water!” And the crowd got even more excited. Those who waited down the line were hopeful, thinking, “Since they got more water, I shall have more water”.  Batch after batch drew, until they started realizing that the water in the pool was running out, so it took longer for newer batches to fill their buckets, and longer, and longer, until finally, some batches started to have none. “You lied to us stupid leaders!”, one said. Another called them “lacking in compassion”, “corrupt for taking more water”, and still another called them “stupid shits”. 

“Fix this mess!” The people demanded. “Fix it because your are our leaders! Increase our rations of water!” Yet these same people decided that the best solution was to demand from the village leaders that they increase the ration of each villager so that they could expect to receive more water, the water after all was very badly needed. The leaders thought about it, and decided that since they’re going to be skewered on social media if they didn’t do that, that it was the right decision to increase rations. So they signed an order increasing what each villager should get without first fixing the holes in the pipe. On the day when the new rations were to take effect, the village people cheered the politicians. The sponsors of the bill gave speeches about how being compassionate and caring for people with needs, and everyone clapped. With a beautiful ceremony, they announced that from this day forward, that the village people could rely on larger rations because the government hadmade it a law. The people lined up for their rations and great excitement all carrying larger buckets. The government had listened to their tweets and posts and memes. The first batch of villagers drew from the pipe, filled their buckets, and exclaimed, “I have more water!” And the crowd cheered once more. The next batch did the same, and they also exclaimed, “I have more water!” And the crowd got even more excited. Those who waited down the line were hopeful, thinking, “Since they got more water, I shall have more water”.  Batch after batch drew, until they started realizing that the water in the pool was running out, so it took longer for newer batches to fill their buckets, and longer, and longer, until finally, some batches started to have none. “You lied to us stupid leaders!”, one said. Another called them “lacking in compassion”, “corrupt for taking more water”, and still another called them “stupid shits”. 

“Fix this mess!” The people demanded. “Fix it because your are our leaders! Increase our rations of water!” 

I don’t need to finish the story, it is obvious what happens when you combine corrupt leadership, increasing entitlement, and lack of  wisdom: a cycle of increasing corruption, increasing entitlement, and decreasing sound judgement, until this cycle can no longer be supported, and all you have left is a chaotic end. 

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David Bonifacio

David Bonifacio Entrepreneur, social worker, writer, artist, CEO of Bridge, CEO of Elevation Partners, Managing Director of New Leaf Ventures. #db

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