Even Monkeys Have Morals

monkey yellow pressEven monkeys know fair play when they see it. (Not bonobos, those promiscuous primates set a bad example for us all.) But research into morals and equity have shown that even our primate cousins know when they are getting a raw deal. Researchers working with Capuchin monkeys, those are the cute little ones often seen with degenerate organ grinders wearing little red caps and holding out tin cups for spare change, the monkeys that is, the organ grinders just keep tunelessly plodding along. Anyway researchers working with Capuchin monkeys taught them to perform a task for which they were then rewarded with a little piece of gravel. What good is one piece of gravel to a monkey you ask? Well the beasts could exchange their gravel token for a piece of food. So initially the monkeys learned to do the work, get the gravel and exchange it for food. Pretty shmart huh, monkeys know about money. But the real research was about equal treatment. The clever scientists paid some of the monkeys a morsel of cucumber for their gravel, and that was okay, the cobb salad with cucumber is a popular menu item on Rodeo Drive. Then some of the monkeys were paid with a sweet delicious grape for their gravel, within eyeball range of the ones  who were compensated with cucumber. Riot ensued. A grape is much more desirable than a cuke.

Some monkeys were so upset they would no longer trade a gravel bit for a cucumber bit. Some hurled their cucumber bits at the researchers. Some hurled the gravel. One researcher had his eye cataracted. It was obvious the monkeys saw the system as rigged, just like the Ludlow miners not so long ago, just like the fast food workers of today. The researchers could only conclude that monkeys have a sense of morals. So they tried their experiment, with some variation, on a group of the worlds top CEO’s at an executive retreat in Palm Springs, CA.

They organized the retreat to coincide with the seasonal monsoons that occur each spring and held a buffet dinner outside, far from the hotel, out in the desert. Tents were erected, the guests brought in by SUV and just after everyone was seated and dinner was about to be served the monsoon winds began to to pick up, right on schedule. The winds began to cause the tent walls to flap and loose, and the stakes. driven into sand, began to pull loose. The waitstaff was the first to address the predicament, grabbing the tents’ guylines and holding the stakes into the ground but as the wind picked up it was evident that unless others assisted the whole party would be caught unprotected in the blowing sand and inevitable downpour. First to rush to help were executives from the tech sectors, many of whom wore blue jeans and short sleeve shirts. (Notably absent from these was Mark Zuckerburg, who kept his nose to his smartphone and seemed to be updating his Facebook status.)  As the wind rose and loss of the tent seemed imminent some bigwigs from the manufacturing sector lent a hand, grabbing the crenelated eaves of the roof and hanging tight. Last to pitch in were members of the finance and banking industries whose main concern seemed to be insuring that the lids weren’t blown off the buffet dishes. The end result was that, with everyone helping out, catastrophe was averted, and as the winds abated and a soft sunset began the dinner was held in a peaceful desert evening redolent of the fresh smell of rain. The waitstaff was allowed to eat the cucumber cobb salad, whose lid had been off for much of the storm and was somewhat gritty.

After the dishes had all been cleaned, the tents taken down and the CEO’s tucked into their cool Impressions 1200 Thread Count 100% Egyptian Cotton, Deep Pocket, Single Ply, Queen Bed Sheet Set Solid, White
sheets, the waitstaff was whisked off to the local emergency rooms for treatment of their rope burns, sprained shoulders and ointments were applied to their sand blasted eyes. They were also given their  checks, after completing 1099’s, and put on buses to Tecate, CA. Many would have preffered the executives be paid in gravel.

DavidW - Publisher

Raised in obscurity and completely entranced with the notion that we should live our lives with the same valuable ethic that a conscientious hiker would, leaving no trace.

Leave a Reply