There they were, the eight of them, stranded on a remote Alaskan island which they had named Little America. Freddy MacLehman had become the most revered and powerful man on the island shortly after returning from a gold panning excursion with a large lumpy sack over his shoulder. He had written up a batch of Gold Promissary Notes on birch bark scraps and lent them out to the other residents of Little America to facilitate the seamless exchange of goods and services. He explained that each of these Birch Scraps represented a percentage of his gold, which he had securely buried in an undisclosed location. All he requested was that when they repaid his Birch Scraps, they add an additional 10% interest in order to cover his handling and processing expenses.
When the residents began to realize that they couldn’t collectively repay a quantity of Birch Scraps higher than the total number of Birch Scraps that had been produced, Freddy demonstrated his spirit of community service and philanthropy by requiring the interest only to be repaid on a monthly basis. They could continue to use the original loan for whatever they pleased! He would not actually foreclose on their huts and other stuff, which they had pledged as collateral.
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