Sunday, 29 June 2008

The Fisherman & The Banker

Years ago, I was told a story that says a lot about the general British attitude towards money. While it’ll no doubt be new to some of you, others will have already heard it. Either way, I think it’s still worth reading.

Here goes:

A successful investment banker was at the pier during a holiday in a small Spanish coastal village when a local fisherman docked his small boat. Inside the boat were some fish that he’d caught that morning. The banker was intrigued and asked the Spaniard how long it had taken him to catch the fish.

“Two hours,” the Spaniard said.

The banker thought this strange and asked why the Spaniard didn’t stay out all day to maximise his earnings.

“I make enough to support my family,” the Spaniard explained. “I don’t need more.”

The banker couldn’t understand the Spaniard’s attitude.”I’m an investment banker,” he explained. “I could help you make more money. If you spend more time fishing you could invest what money you don’t need, buy a bigger boat, catch more fish, invest more money, buy a second boat, invest even more and eventually own a whole fleet of fishing boats. One day you could open up your own export business, move to London where your headquarters would be, and sell fish all over Europe.”

The Spaniard thought for a moment before asking how long all this would take.

“Probably about twenty years” came the reply.

“And what would I do then?”

The banker laughed at the man’s naivety. “When you’ve made enough money, you could sell the shares and live well on your earnings. You’d be a very rich man.”

“But what would I do when I’m rich and retired?”

“Isn’t that obvious?” The banked asked. “You could move to a small coastal village where you could play with your grandchildren, take a siesta with your wife and walk into the village where you could dine on good food, drink wine and play the guitar with your friends.”

“Exactly,” replied the fisherman as he turned to head for home where he’d share time with his wife and children before strolling into the village to join his friends.

Sharon J


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Gavin said...

Never has there been a truer story about life. I had read the story before, but it was in a different context. I think it was an American banker and a Mexican fisherman, if I remember rightly.

Anyway, good food for thought, and it just goes to show that money is not everything.


WebSmith said...

The banker failed to mention the money that he would end up making and that, as he "helped" the fisherman, a need for more and more money would be created until the fisherman was forced to give up more and more control of his business until he was forced out onto the street without enough money to buy his original boat while the banker's friends took over the business.

The bankers who own the controlling interest in the Federal Reserve, The Crown, and the World Bank are one in the same. Rothechild, Morgan, Lehman, and Rockefeller are some of the more famous names.

The thing that is left out of this story is that the fisherman would have created many jobs so that other people could enjoy their lives.

However, the friends you drink wine with will remember you. The people you create jobs for won't.

Pat said...

That story reminds me of how tend to make things more complicated than they really need to be.

Sharon J said...

@ Gavin. I guess it can be put into a variety of contexts, depending on where the story's being told.

@ Websmith. You made some very valid points there. I expanded my own business a few years ago (I've given it up entirely now due to ill health) but found that while I was making more money and giving a few more people a chance to make a bit extra, it was causing me too much stress and those extra pounds just weren't worth it because I didn't actually need them.

@ Pat. Exactly. And everything comes at the cost of something else.