The following is a story from one of our viewers from primary school. After The Storm is always looking for new voices, including from Gen Z and younger. If you know someone who meets that criteria (or want to submit yourself), please send us an email at email@example.com.
By a Fourth Grader
James’s eyes snapped open. His heart must have been beating at around two hundred fifty beats per minute. He knew it wasn’t true, but he was so scared it could be. James breathed deeply to calm his racing heart.
After he overcame his panic, he slowly got out of bed and walked over to his piggy bank. At least that’s where it was the day before.
James recalled his nightmare. He’d dreamed that a huge tornado had swept through the town, taking his piggy bank away with it. And now his piggy bank had actually disappeared without a trace.
What ever will I do without my money? James thought worriedly. Those were his last thoughts as he drifted back into a restless sleep.
At school the next day, James’s classes mostly bored him, but there was one that really interested him.
In social studies, James’s class learned about capitalism — especially unrestricted capitalism. They learned about how capitalism could make a person greedy, always wanting more. The capitalists wouldn’t pay their workers enough (assuming they owned a business) and could ruin the lives of countless people. James wanted to take action against capitalism.
The class led him to thinking about how living would be without capitalism.
James was eating a very tasty batch of scrambled eggs for dinner when he heard his dad yelling over the phone. He didn’t want to listen, but James’s dad was yelling so loud it was impossible not to.
“How many books did you sell this week? Only two!?” his dad yelled. “I am seriously giving you a demotion if you can’t sell at least seventy bestsellers in the next ten days! … I need money! We’re the biggest bookstore in the world and you can barely sell any books at all! You’re not putting enough money in my pockets! You’re fired!!”
That set James off. He left his fork on the plate and dashed toward his dad.
“Dad! Why are you firing this worker just because you didn’t give them the right working conditions?!” James shouted. “I swear, we need to get rid of this money system. It’s making so many people unhappy!”
James’s dad looked taken aback. James guessed it was because he almost never argued with his dad, especially not about money. But this was important. James knew the world could never be right if there was capitalism in it.
“I need money to live! If we get rid of money, everything will be even worse!” James’s dad said angrily. James thought, hoped, prayed that all the money in the town would vanish just like his money did.
“Dad,” James said, making an effort to keep his voice calm. “Think back to what you were just saying over the phone. You fired that worker, and for what? They just weren’t making enough profit for you. I find it very hard to believe that you would fire a person just because of your greediness.” With that, James walked briskly back to his scrambled eggs.
The next day James found that his wish had come true. The whole town had lost its money and the mayor and her council members needed to come up with a new system.
James nervously waited outside the door to the mayor’s office building, peering through the open window. The mayor had just suggested making the mint work extra hard to get the town’s money supply back up. James racked his brain, trying to think of a better system than the mayor’s suggestion. Then an idea popped into his head.
James jumped through the window and said, “You could set up a donation system! Most capitalists own way more luxuries than they need. They could start giving them to their workers!” The mayor, after some contemplation, agreed to this. At first, none of the capitalists liked it, but they eventually realized that giving away what you don’t need was a good thing.
The workers still had one problem, though. The capitalists were still bossing them around! James hadn’t thought of that when he proposed this new money-less system. The workers started to work together to form unions. James always attended the protests, but it still wasn’t enough to convince the capitalists. James needed a new plan.
Saturday, James spent most of the day thinking. His dad was a capitalist, so James talked to him.
“Do you think that you’re better than all your workers?” James asked.
“Of course I am,” his dad replied firmly.
“Why is that?” James asked.
“Because …” James’s dad paused for a moment. “… because I’m the boss, so I get to order them around.”
“You shouldn’t be the boss. Everyone is equal, so they should all get the privilege of running things,” explained James. “You should let the workers run their own company.”
“Well, that’s the craziest idea I’ve ever heard!” James’s dad laughed.
James kept going to the protests against the capitalists. He tried everything, from donating his things to the workers’ cause to starting a strike fund. Eventually, the workers collected enough donations to go on strike. It worked for the small town grocery store which was now run by its workers. But there were hundreds more businesses still run by capitalists.
James began to write a book about unrestricted capitalism and tried to persuade the reader to work against it.
Three years later, it was ready to be typed up and published. James found a publisher who supported his cause and asked them to publish it. The following month, the first thirty copies were published. James spent many nights working on a plan to get his book into his dad’s bookstore. He finally came up with a good idea. James would sneak in at night and stick all thirty copies in the “nonfiction” section of the bookstore. He would take one of his father’s spare I recommend this book stickers and paste it on one of the copies. He would “borrow” a few books to make room for his books, leaving the correct donation to pay for them.
That night, James put his plan into action.
He crawled over to the bookstore. There were a few people talking at the door.
“How am I going to get into the store without them seeing me?” James wondered. He had an unexpected stroke of luck when a raccoon raided the trash can outside the building and knocked an owl out of a brown paper bag. The people at the door went over to investigate. James silently slipped into the store. He found an I recommend this book sticker at the cashier’s desk and put it on one of his books. He left a donation on the desk, took some books off the shelves, and replaced them with his books. James came out of his father’s store with new books and a well-executed plan.
By noon the next day, James’s publisher received a lot of donations and made more copies of James’s book. All of the original copies were already sold!
Every day, more people read James’s book and more people supported the workers who wanted a union. There were so many people going to the protests now that the capitalists had to back down. The unions were formed, and the workers and the former bosses were all working at the same time and everybody ran the store together.
In James’s town, capitalism lost supporters and the ills of capitalism were corrected. With the help of the townspeople, James had taken down capitalism.