Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there was a country famous for its apples. In fact, it produced nothing but apples and so was called Appleonia. The people ate many apples in many different ways: raw apples, baked apples, apple pies, apple fritters, and candied apples, to name just a few. They found lots of different ways to use their apples, even as fuel.
But Appleonians didn’t consume all of their apples. They saved lots and lots of apples for their seeds so they could enlarge their orchards and grow more and more. For hundreds of years, the Appleonians consumed lots of apples and made their orchards bigger and bigger. Everyone in Appleonia worked in the apple business and prospered.
It turned out though that not every place in Appleonia was perfect for growing apples. Some areas were filled with worms that just loved apples. Little by little, the worms began to infest the orchards. No one noticed until one day a young boy opened a barrel and, taking a big bite out of an apple, bit right into a worm. Undeterred, he picked up another, with the same result, and another and another. At last he found an apple that was as good inside as it was outside.
But word spread quickly that there were worms in the apples and that the worms seemed to be spreading from orchard to orchard. People quit harvesting in the infested areas and, even worse, they could no longer guarantee the high quality of their apples as they had in the past. For the first time, they produced fewer apples, and many people were put out of work.
The Appleonian government grew very worried and, after brief consultation with academic experts, came up with an idea. To put people back to work and restore faith in the apples, the government hired lots of people to polish all the rotten apples. Of course, this didn’t really work: the polished apples may have looked better on the outside, but they were still rotten on the inside. Things didn’t get any better. People were still out of work, and the quality of the apples was still hit and miss. Government officials came up with another plan. They hired another bunch of people to spray a thin layer of wax on the rotten apples. Again, their remedy was superficial: the bad apples may have looked gorgeous, but they were still rotten on the inside, and hence worthless.
The people in the government never realized that nothing short of sorting carefully through the barrels, identifying the rotten apples and throwing them out, would set things right in Appleonia’s orchards. Pouring money into efforts to beautify worm-filled apples didn’t really help; it simply prolonged the difficulty.
How does it relate to us? Read on to find out…