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My Mexican Dentist Explains Economics

Being retired, I find myself surviving solely on my monthly Social Security check. On that adequate but rather meager income I've learned there's no way I can afford to visit dentists in the USA for my increasingly frequent dental needs. As luck would have it, I found an excellent dentist in Tecate, Mexico, and travel there from Long Beach, California (about 140 miles one-way). FYI, his name is Dr. Gabriel Adame and here is his website, in case you also have such a need for quality dental care at an affordable price.

During a recent visit, while we were briefly waiting for the novocain injections to take effect, Dr. Adame deigned to relate his theory of economics. It was both simple and profound and went something like this:

A wealthy American entrepreneur arrived in a small Mexican town and walked into the town's only hotel. He found the hotel owner and communicated his intentions:

"I'm thinking of investing some money in this town and may start a new business here, but I want to have a look around first. I intend to stay in your hotel for a couple of days in order to do my research." With that, he handed the hotel owner a crisp $100 bill, and said, "Please take this deposit and hold onto it. If I find I like this town and the investment opportunities are good, I'll return and stay for a longer period. If I'm not satisfied with the prospects, I'll return and want my money returned to me. Is that understood?" The hotel owner quickly agreed, took the money, and assigned a room to his guest.

On the very next day, early in the morning, the hotel owner took the $100 bill and walked to the local tienda, where he gave the money to the tienda owner as payment for his outstanding bill for groceries.

The tienda owner accepted the money and, as soon as the hotel owner had left, he ran to the local hardware store and gave the $100 bill to the owner there, in payment for some lighting and plumbing fixtures he had recently purchased on credit.

The owner of the hardware store took the money and ran down the street to the shoemaker on the corner. He handed the money to the owner of the shoe store in payment for his recent purchase—on credit—of new shoes for his entire family.

The owner of the shoe store put the money into his pocket and walked to the local dentist and gave him the $100 bill to pay for the braces on his oldest child's teeth.

The dentist carried the money to the local red light house to pay for services recently rendered, quite happy that he was able to satisfiy the debt without having his wife know anything about it.

The madam at the "ladies" house immediately took the money and walked to the only hotel in town, where she gave it to the hotel owner in payment for use of his facilities a week earlier. He thanked her politely.

The next day, the American entrepreneur returned to the hotel and asked to see the owner.

"I've seen enough," he said, "and I don't think the time is right for me to invest anything in this town. Thank you for your hospitality. May I please have my money deposit back now?"

With some regrets, of course, the hotel owner reached beneath the counter and produced the $100 bill, which he surrendered to his visitor. The entrepreneur then left town with his money and was never seen again. Meanwhile, all outstanding debts in the small town were amicably settled and everyone involved was happy, despite the fact that the $100 bill was no longer anywhere to be found.

Think about that for awhile!