I received the following comment on another thread. I think it deserves a thread of its own. A ship is a tool created first in the minds of inventive men, and deployed for the use of productive men. It is a vehicle through which goods are moved from areas of excess supply to areas of demand. In the process, through trade by voluntary consent, all are enriched. The shipowners commission a vessel, provide the capital, and bear the risk of loss at sea. Additionally, they choose which cargo to carry and which ports to serve according to their rational, profit minded interests. Through the medium of the ship, product is transported and wealth is created. There is risk in sailing the ocean, but through knowledge and respect this can be reduced to a commercially tolerable level. The shipowners know the marine environment, the needs of the producers and consumers they serve, the destination of the ship, the cargo, and all other relevant matters. They are informed, render a useful service and go on to produce huge fortunes from the lucrative international trading routes. This brings us to the barnacle. Unconcerned with such complex matters as world trade, or the opportunities to amass a fortune provided by same, the barnacle is focused only on its immediate needs. In the present case, we are told it is gathering bacteria one piece at a time. This particular barnacle grows on a ship, however were it not so attached, by happenstance or design, it would be much the same barnacle - though perhaps a rock barnacle instead. The barnacle has no knowledge of where the ship is going but is forced to travel the route and speed dictated by the shipowners. It knows nothing of the cargo or the state of demand at the destination port. After all, it is only a barnacle and is concerned exclusively with the world below the waterline. It is either condemned or blessed, depending on your viewpoint, to do enough only to capture its next morsel of bacteria. Perhaps it performs some useful function in reducing the amount of bacteria in its immediate environment-but this is not noticed as millions of identical barnacles are doing similar 'work'. I am told by the same person that traders may also be apples or oranges, and that the citrus ought not to be condescending.