World Transformation: Monkey Money
 Monkey Money
picture 14 Apr 2004 @ 06:59, by ming

From Ming the Mechanic: One of the best demonstrations of economics I've gotten, I got from ... a monkey. It was a little monkey at City Walk by Universal Studios in L.A. It had its owner with it, who was playing an old-fashioned organ where you grind the handle and it plays a corny old tune. The monkey was dressed in a silly costume, and there was a sign presenting the simple business proposition: Get out a quarter and the monkey will come over and get it out of your hand. Get out a dollar bill and the monkey will not only come and get it, but he will also shake your hand. Which is all cute, and well worth a quarter or a dollar, just to see that the monkey knows how to get the money, and to feel that it actually shakes your hand. I got out a dollar. The monkey snapped it up, shook my hand, and moved on to other businesss. Not so much as a smile, but I still felt satisfied with the transaction.

But now, the remarkable business action going on becomes apparent from observing that there's continuously 50 to 100 people standing around, and the monkey is essentially running around as fast as it can, picking up dollar bills and shaking hands. Seemed like 10-20 customers per minute to me. And, well, despite that I'm no business genius, I can easily add that up to $600-1200 per hour. Indeed, the organ grinder had a a rather large box that all the money was dropped into, and it was running over when I saw it.

I was sort of stunned. But that is a money machine at its best. Once you've trained the monkey, it takes very little effort, brings in loads of cash, and all the customers are happy with the transaction. The monkey works for peanuts, but I'm sure he's happy too.

I have peanuts. I have a roomy bucket that will hold a lot of money. But where do I get a monkey?

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