I am coming to the end of the Lexus and The Olive Tree. In part three of his book, he had a very interesting analogy for the world’s economic systems. If they were a gas station….
Japan – the gas costs $5/gal, but there are five guys who service your car. They pump your gas, fill your tires, and clean your windshield. They are all guaranteed to have their jobs for life.
Europe – the gas also costs $5, but there is only one guy who is always telling you that his union contract says he only has to pump your gas, nothing else. He works 35 hours a week, gets 90 minutes for lunch and six weeks of vacation every summer. His uncle and cousin are across the street playing because they make more money on welfare than their last job.
Third world country – the gas costs $0.35, because it is subsidized by the government. Fifteen people work there and they are all cousins. Only one of the ten gas pumps work. The station is owned by a guy in Zurich who takes all the profit back to his own country. He never goes to the station and doesn’t know that many of the workers sleep in the garage and use the car wash to bathe in the morning.
Communism – the gas costs $0.15 cents, but there isn’t any in the pumps because two of the three workers are selling it on the black market. They still come in on Fridays to collect their paycheck.
US – the gas costs $1 and you have to do everything by yourself. But you are in charge. You can pump gas or wipe your windshield or do as you wish.