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As the sun slowly makes its way up along the sandy shores of Phuket, fishers avidly fight to get on the first boat out to sea, hoping to maximize their daily income by getting a head start on the others. Within seconds of their departure, nets are flying and fish are being caught in every direction, but yet, one fisher sits calmly on the beach observing everything quietly, not moving an inch.
This fisher's name was Tom. Tom was a young, good looking, fisherman who had recently joined the family business of fishing. He was not very tall, but had eyes that were sharp as an eagle, ears as good as a bat, and nose as sensitive as a dog. On his right eye, he bore the scar from a fishhook that he had gotten when he was young. In fact, Tom had learned to fish before he could even write and was, without a doubt, one of the best fishers in the world. Despite this, today, while everyone eagerly fishes, he just sits quietly on the beach.
For two weeks he sat this way, until finally, after seeing what he'd come to see, he stood up and started making his way to the headquarters of the fishing department in Phuket. As he moved, his face had the look of an angry lion ready to attack. He was greatly agitated these past few years, but refused to tell anyone what he was concerned about. Today however, things were about to change.
While waiting for his queue at the fishing department, Tom could see rows and rows of fish being moved into and out of the compound. Intrigued by the sight, he decided to have a look around the place. That's when things turned ugly. About 200 meters from the compound, he spotted the trash dump where the fishing industry threw away its leftovers for the day. Even from far, he could tell that there were well over a billion fish being dumped there today itself. This got his blood boiling, but he kept it to himself, quietly waiting for his queue to come.
Finally, after two and a half hours of waiting, the time to meet Mr. McCain was upon him. Mr. McCain was not only the owner of all the major fishing industries around the world, but was also the richest man in the world. Only a few years earlier, his company developed a machine that could catch fish ten times faster than before. This was precisely why Tom had come to meet him.
As Tom entered the room, he saw Mr. McCain sitting comfortably on his table using his computer, not bothering to see who had entered his room. This was the first time Tom had seen Mr. McCain in person, however, one glance was all he needed to know about Mr. McCain's nature. Although many people have been deceived by his charming looks and innocent glare, Tom saw right through them. Tom could see that beneath the face of an innocent young man, was a shrewd man who'd deceived thousands of people in his lifetime.
As much as Tom would have liked to avoid a person like him, he knew that this was the only way out of the impending predicament.
"I hope you don't mind me coming here on such short notice," Tom began.
"But matters are such that waiting is not an option," he continued.
Mr. McCain made no attempt to respond, he simply continued to type on his computer as if he didn't hear anything. Tom knew that he couldn't afford to wait, so he continued.
"My name is Tom, and I have come here to inform you that people are overfishing because of your machine. As a result, billions of fish are being thrown away each day. You may not notice it now, but according to my calculations, if things continue this way, all the fish in the ocean are going to run out in the next three to five years. Therefore, I would recommend that you inform all the companies that are using your machine to decrease the amount that they fish each day by about 50-60%.
By now, all was quiet. Even the typing that had gone along while Tom was talking had stopped. It was as if time had stopped for the moment. Then, like a storm that comes after a peaceful morning, Mr. McCain burst out laughing.
"Do you expect me to believe this nonsense?" he exclaimed.
"Even if what you're saying turns out to be true, I'm not about to risk my entire business believing it. In fact, I'm inclined to believe that you're just jealous of me, because I'm the most successful fishermen out there, while you're just an ordinary fisherman who's gone out of work because you were unable to compete with me. If you're so smart, instead of relying on others why don't you do something about it?"
After hearing this Tom wanted to reply, but thought that it'd just be a waste of time as Mr. McCain was simply unwilling to listen to anything he had to say, so he decided to just walk out quietly. He knew that if the fish were to be preserved, he'd have to do something about it himself.
That night, when Tom went home, he formulated a plan, a plan that would not only preserve the fish, but would make him the richest man in the world. He had decided that he would gather fish from all over the world and repopulate them in a special location away from Mr. McCain's watch. He knew that this task was impossible to do alone, so he decided to seek help from his best friend, Peter.
Tom had known Peter since he was still a little boy. Back then, both of them had entered a fishing competition whereby the judge had declared them both as the winner, because they were equally talented. After that competition, the two developed a strong sense of respect for each other. As they got to know each other more, they formed an inseparable bond. Although Peter was born into a rich family, he never looked down on others. He not only had the million-dollar smile that would make anyone fall in love with him, but also had a perfect body with smooth tan skin that seemed to radiate from him as if he were a prince. Most importantly however, he was a loyal and trustworthy friend.
As the sun slowly made its way up the following morning, Tom set his plan into action and went to visit Peter. When they finally met, Tom explained the entire situation to Peter who was more than willing to help. In fact, Peter not only offered to help gather fish personally, but would also hire thousands of men to help as well. To top it all, he even offered to buy the largest island that was up for sale and the area surrounding it so that Tom could repopulate the fish there. Upon hearing this, Tom was touched by his friend's kind offer and decided that he would share whatever income he makes from this venture with Peter, despite Peter's countless objection.
For the next four and a half years, Tom and Peter worked day in day out to gather all the fish in the world, until they finally made the impossible possible. At Mr. McCain's company however, things weren't doing too well. As the years passed and the supply of fish decreased, people started thinking that Mr. McCain's machine was defective and decided to stop using his machine. When they finally did realize what the real problem was, it was too late, because all the fish were gone.
At this point, the people panicked. Many fishing industries failed and the sales of fishing equipment and boats diminished along with it, because the sales of these industries generally depended on each other (complementary goods). That's when Tom and Peter announced to the world that they had saved up a limited quantity of the all the fishes in the world and were willing to sell a limited amount of each species. Shortly after their announcement, they received phone calls from people around the world who were interested in buying fish, indicating that there was a huge demand. The only difference this time was that the supply, or the amount that Tom was willing to sell, was limited. As a result of this, there was a change in supply and change in demand around the world, which created a period of disequilibrium, or a time when there was an imbalance between supply and demand. This happened because the quantity of fish that Tom was willing to sell at every price was much lower than before (change in supply), while the people were willing to buy more at the same price (change in demand), because they had been without fish for quite some time.
In order to restore equilibrium, Tom acted according to both the law of supply and the law of demand by raising the prices of fish drastically. According to the law of supply, Tom was willing to sell more fish at the new, higher price in order to make more profit. In the process, he also demonstrates change in quantity supplied, which occurs when a change in price causes producers to sell more or less of a good or service. According to the law of demand, the demand for fish decreased as the price soared, because many people could not afford it or didn't think that it was worth it. This demonstrates that there was a change in quantity demanded as consumers were now buying less fish, because the price went up. As a result of the decrease in demand for fish, people started buying chicken to meet their demand for food, thus improving the chicken industry's sales (substitute goods).
Eventually, the equilibrium price was reestablished as the amount of fish that people demanded equaled the amount of fish that Tom was willing to sell. At this point, Tom and Peter became the richest people in the world, because there were a small amount of people around the world who were willing to buy fish at unbelievably high prices. This, in the end, demonstrates that supply and demand plays a prominent role in the market and can make people very rich if they understand how it works.