Competition: How Free is the Free Market?

horse drinking water

A follower of Rabbi Meir of Premishlan once complained to him about a man who had started a competing business. “He is depriving me of my livelihood!” cried the chassid. “You must tell him to close his shop!”

Said Rabbi Meir: “Have you ever noticed how a horse behaves when he is led to a water hole? He begins to paw angrily at the water with his hooves; only when the water is well-muddied does he begin to drink. Why does the horse act this way?”

“I don’t know,” said the chassid. “Why?”

“Because the horse sees his reflection in the water and thinks that another horse has come to drink his water. So he kicks and paws until he has ‘chased away’ the other horse. What the horse doesn’t understand,” concluded Rabbi Meir, “is that G-d has created enough water for all the horses.”



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