The Factory Workers

A factory owner went to the job centre one morning to hire workers for his factory. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them to the factory.


At eleven o’clock in the morning he was passing by the pub and saw some people in there. So he went in and hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. They went off to work in the factory. At lunchtime and again at three in the afternoon, he did a round of the local pubs and did the same thing.


At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw yet more people standing around outside the pub.


He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’ They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’


The factory owner told them, ‘Go and join the others in my factory.’


That evening the foreman called the workers in and paid them. Those hired at five o’clock were paid a full day’s wage. So when those hired in the morning received their pay, they assumed they would get more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage.


They protested to the owner, ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as those of us who worked all day in the factory.’





He answered, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to the usual daily wage for your work? Take your money and go. It’s up to me what I pay the other workers. I’m not breaking any laws, so why are you jealous of my generosity? I like to turn logic and the world’s economics on its head.

From Parabolic Parables


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