It’s a dreary day in a small village. It’s raining and the roads are empty. Times are bad and everyone is in debt.
On this day a tourist drives through the village and parks his car in front of a small hotel. He goes to the front desk, tells the owner that he would like to look at some rooms and maybe book one for the night. He lays a 100 € notel on the counter for the deposit. The hotel owner gives him various keys and shows him the way to the rooms.
As soon as the visitor goes up the stairs, the hotelier grabs the bill, runs to his neighboring baker, and pays his debt. The baker takes the € 100 note, runs down the street and pays the miller. The miller in turn pays his outstanding bill to the roofer. The roofer himself takes the note, walks over to the bar and settles his open bill. The barkeeper slides the bill over to a prostitute, who during some hard times did some favors for the barkeeper. The prostitute then runs over to the hotel and uses the 100€ note to pay her outstanding bill. The hotel owner then puts the bill back on the counter.
At that moment the traveler returns, hands back the keys, takes his 100€ note, and says that none of the rooms were as he imagined. Having said that he leaves the village.
No one produced anything. No one earned anything. All parties got rid of their debts, are satisfied, and look with great optimism into the future.
– author unknown –