Ladders, low hanging fruit, and the fruit picking economy

I think we all viscerally grasp the metaphor of low hanging fruit: some things are easy to get and do not take a lot of time to accomplish. Others take a larger investment of time and effort. But where do tools come into the picture?

I think tools are ladders. With the right tools, fruit that was far beyond our grasp becomes easy to obtain. We merely place our ladders, climb up and pick the fruit. We also build platforms that allow us to permanently access the fruit of that particular tree.

There are many people who like eating fruit and there is only so much fruit that is low hanging. So some people cut down oak trees for wood to build more platforms. Every few generations lumberjacks go around and replace all the ladders with permanent platforms. The fruit that is lower than these platforms do not get as much sunlight and consequently taste far less appetizing. Those used to the sweet fruits from higher up find it quite unpalatable.

The people with the highest ladders or those who find trees that have not been plucked a lot have so much fruit that they become bored or give much of their fruit away. There are also people whose parents and environment did not teach them how to build ladders and platforms. They may never taste sweet fruits or even starve unless they find some way to teach themselves.

Most young fruit-pickers are sent to a factory for 12-16 years. There they are taught how to balance on the platforms the current level and build ladders up to the next. If they are lucky enough to be sent to a good factory and complete the factory process without too many dents they graduate to fruit picking.

Currently, there is a large lag between the current state of platforms in fruit picking and the techniques taught in the factory. Increasingly a graduation from the factory is just to get you in the door. Then you learn how to use the platforms and ladders that you need to use to actually do fruit-picking.

These factories are very inefficient. Those with higher dexterity have no opportunity to advance faster and everything except the most common and widely sought fruit is neglected. Young fruit-pickers are also given no chance to catch up if they fall behind. They fall off the conveyer belt of the factory and are doomed to a life of hardship and sour grapes.

There is a massive disconnect between different parts of the fruit-picking economy. Large fruit-picking organizations fight over a few elite fruit-pickers and complain about how hard it is to find pickers. Then you also have many people who would make great fruit-pickers who struggle to find employ in an orchard and scrape by on the leftovers of those who have abundant fruit.

The pace of exhaustion for each tier of fruit is also increasing. Even middle-aged fruit pickers now have to undergo frequent re-training to allow them to balance on the latest platforms and operate newly-created ladders. Despite this new orchards and varieties of edible fruit keep multiplying and new opportunities abound. Happy picking!

To happiness, and beyond!


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