The oasis of free slaves

The Chebika oasis
Image by Bartek Kuzia via Flickr

Mr Jones was lucky enough to have acquired his little estate and farm before the nuclear war ravaged the world’s ecosystem and made the surrounding area into a brutal desert. His land managed to survive due to his luck, being on top of an undergound river and far from any major cities.
Mr Jones and his family was however left to fend on their own. They couldn’t toil the whole farm of course but they could certainly feed themselves and raise some animals.

With civilization destroyed as we know it, along with the major productive capabilities, slavery once again become the norm. Slavers quickly rounded up people who could not defend themselves and gave them away in exchange for food and other products. Eventually some dared the desert in a caravan, losing a few slaves in the process and reached his farm. Mr Jones became the proud owner of slaves.

He didn’t have to do much to maintain them. He simply made them build a shack for themselves and every day he would send them out to the fields to work the land, tend the animals or build new items in the workshop that he could sell to the slavers. He and his family would supervise them to avoid them making weapons to attack them or conspiring with each other.

This situation was very profitable to Mr Jones and soon his little farm had become an oasis of civilization. “The last bastion” he liked to call it. He became very wealthy through trading with caravans who came to his land for food which now he had ample due to his new productive force. He got more slaves and even got some slaves who got extra benefits and policed the others. All was going perfectly.

But Mr. Jones was still distraught. Before the war, the concept of slavery was abhorent to all but now he was the owner of all these people. But what could he do? If he didn’t buy them, the slavers would have simply let them die in the desert to cut their losses. And since he bought them with wealth he produced with the sweat of his back, shouldn’t they make up for his loss? And anyway, he wasn’t a cruel master at all. Almost no whipping.

But he still did not like it, something was gnawing his conscience when the thought of slavery enterred his mind. It was at this point that he bought an old book from one of the caravans which explained a lot of nice concepts. Liberty, justice, human rights. It was written by some Von Mises person.

All of this struck a chord with Mr. Jones. This was the solution he was looking to his moral issues with slavery. He knew in his gut that liberty was a unalienable human right that he shouldn’t have taken away from those people. How could he have been so blind? If he didn’t make up for this, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself.

So the very next day, he gathered all his slaves and made an announcement. ‘I grant you all your freedom’ he proclaimed after a short rhetoric introduction. ‘I have looked into my heart and discovered that it is not fair that I take away your human right to liberty through force. From now on, you are free to leave at any point you wish. If you do wish to remain here, you’re welcome as I will need some workers to take the place of those who leave.’ Now it was time to show how magnanimus he had become. ‘I will first of all give all of you some extra money to repay for the time as slaves, We can use bottlecaps for that since noone can make new ones anymore. If you decide to work for me, I will pay you all 100bc per month.’

And so, Mr Jones freed his slaves and his conscience. Finally he could rest certain he was not denying anyone’s right. He of course had to make them pay rent to stay on his land and he thought that 50bc per person was a good enough price. He also made his food quite affordable to them, it came to just about 40bc per month per person which even left people 10bc to save and sometime buy one of the products of his workshop.

He know he made the right decision almost immediately. Everyone decided to stay and work for him voluntarily! Nobody decided to dare the desert and that just proves how good an offer he had made to them. He could now not worry about supervising them at all and he could simply sit in his home and enjoy life. The products and well deserved profits were coming on their own now.

Everyone was free and doing what they chose to. The free market had thriumphed at last.

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