the fable of donkey island and piggy island

乌有之乡网 (Utopia Net) offers socialist stories, analysis, and insight into contemporary China. Two days ago (Feb 21, 2011), they published the Fable of Donkey Island and Piggy Island, a story which challenges mainstream economic thinking – both American and Chinese – about how the past thirty years have transformed the world as we know it. Importantly, the fallout from trade imbalance that progressive Chinese intellectuals are grappling with in the Fable are the same issues to which the Wisconsin protests call our attention. Specifically, globalization has not trickled down to the common people, here or there, and so we continue to labor and not get what we need. I have paraphrased the fable, below; Chinese version, here.

Once upon a time, there were two islands, Donkey Island and Piggy Island.

The people on Donkey Island were industrious, working every day to produce grain. The interesting point is that the Donkeys were also very frugal and unwilling to eat this grain. Instead, they saved it up and then shipped it to Piggy Island, where the Piggies ate it. Continue reading