The Allegory of the Pie
Updated: Jul 19
Social distancing is coming to an end. The coronavirus is finally under control, so Richard and Mona think it would be a fun idea to get some friends together and make a pie to celebrate.
They provide the house to host the gathering and the equipment to make the pie. They also invite Mark and Mary to join them. Mark and Mary decide to bring all the ingredients for the pie.
Mark and Mary know that Pat and Jo are great cooks, so they invite them to come as well, because they know that Pat and Jo will make a great pie and love cooking.
And that’s exactly what happens. Pat and Jo make a tremendous pie while Mark, Mary, Richard and Mona enjoy everyone’s company.
Just as the pie is coming out of the oven, Richard’s neighbor Poe stops by to wish everyone well.
The pie is cut into 8 slices. How much pie does each person get?
(Answers below, broken down by economic system)
Communism in theory: The pie is split evenly between all persons present.
Communism in practice: Richard and Mona enjoy the majority of the pie while making everyone else wait in line for their slice. Anyone who complains is locked in a closet.
Socialism in theory: The workers control the distribution of the pie. As a collaborative, they decide how hungry each person is, and let each person take from the pie according to how hungry they are.
Socialism in practice: Richard and Mona enjoy the majority of the pie while making everyone else wait in line for their slice. Anyone who complains is locked in a closet.
Social Democracy in theory: Each person has a say in how much pie they should get. As each person’s needs are assessed, pie is distributed by representatives assigned by the collective to try and meet those needs. As each person knows others were involved, they will only request what they need to ensure there is enough for all, because they are fucking adults.
Social Democracy in practice: See above.
American Capitalism in theory: Every person there (except Poe) worked on the pie, so each would receive a portion of the product as fair compensation for their labor. Poe, who did not have an opportunity to work, is not entitled to pie, but receives a slice anyway since his neighbors are neighborly. Richard and Mona would likely keep the leftovers because they hosted and that’s the nice thing to do.
American Capitalism in practice: As originators of the idea and owners of the means of production, Richard and Mona have full control over the pie. They keep 7 slices for themselves and split one slice between Mark and Mary for managing the pie’s creation. They let Pat and Jo fight over the crumbs and give Poe the bill, because fuck the Poe. Anyone who complains is locked in the closet, unless they are minorities, in which case they are shot.