From the April 1950 issue of the Socialist Standard
This month we set you a different type of problem. This short item, outlining the problem, originally appeared in the Lansing Labor News, and was reprinted in The Western Socialist, organ of our companion party in the United States, in December, 1947. The solution of the problem is presented in the first column of the back page of this issue of The Socialist Standard : —
“Man can circle the earth without touching the ground; man can kill other men many miles away; man can weigh the stars of heaven; man can drag oil from the bowels of the earth; man can compel an icy waterfall to cook his meals hundreds of miles from the stream; man can print a million newspapers in an hour; man can breed the seeds out of oranges; man can coax a hen to lay 365 eggs in a year; man can persuade dogs to smoke pipes and sea lions to play guitars. Man, in other words, is quite an ingenious and remarkable package of physical and mental machinery.“But when this astonishing person is confronted with one problem, he retires to his hut defeated. Show him six men without money and six loaves of bread belonging to men who cannot use it but who want money for it, and ask him how six hungry men can be put in possession of the six surplus loaves, and watch him then, it is then that man attends conferences and appoints committees and holds elections and cries out that a crisis is upon him. He does a score of useless things and then retires, leaving in the shivering twilight the tableau of six hungry men and the six unapproachable loaves.”
Get your pen, paper and envelopes ready; you may need them. When you have read the solution in column one, page 64, right through, from first word to last, from top to bottom, think it over. Then read the sentence in italics at the foot of the column. That’s when you may need the pen, paper and envelope. It’s a prize worth having.