Perhaps, when Elijah returns as promised, he will stand outside our stores with a handful of pebbles and pay us to buy nothing. When we object that a pebble is worthless, he might well answer: “I brought them from the future. Each one will buy you a little bit of time.” Would that be just enough to save us?
A young couple had joined an early pollykaryote*, but wanting no children though fearing for their investment, they convinced their fellow members to adopt talented orphans and pay for their education in the hope they would in time strengthen the polity.
The first studied sociology and over the years proposed changes to the pollykaryote’s code that increased its cohesiveness and economic defenses to the point that its wealth grew ten-fold. The second studied engineering and then business, returning well over five times what es schools had cost.
The last had wanted to become a doctor, but gradually became lazy and eventually failed es final examinations. The couple summoned the orphan and berated e: “We paid for your entire education and you couldn’t even graduate. What ever happened?” The youth answered through clenched teeth: “I knew you were selfish and only funded my studies to ensure your own financial success, so i became resentful and lost heart.” The couple replied: “If you knew we were selfish, you should at least have worked to pass your exams and repay your debt. Now you will never be received into the safety of our polity, but will instead be cast out with nothing at all into the uncaring world where we found you.”
The first pollykaryote arose quite by chance. Someone had started a co-operative insurance group with es neighbors so they could protect one another from foreclosures. Needing a constitution of sorts, they had found a set of governance rules online which looked to do the trick. But as it turned out, there lay a clause somewhere in that code stipulating that any section could be changed, added or removed on a vote. Naturally, members began to suggest new uses for their polity, slowly shifting, nudging, extending its initial function. As it matured and friends or neighbors asked to join, the leaderless society swelled beyond its earlier, more manageable size, and so, after much deliberation and a vote, it split in two.