Well, Paul, I guess your faith in me was misplaced!The only other thing that bothered me was the nature of the albatross, when the process of price attrition proceeded far enough. Since there's always a finite smallest denomination of money, the process of the price dropping from one owner to the next reaches zero: the next person to sell it must sell it at a lower price than zero, which either means he's the final owner guaranteed to go to hell, OR, he must GIVE somebody money to take it. Assume it's the latter: eventually, the sum of money to influence the next owner to acquire the pot will continue to grow after that point, presumably to the stage (after enough people on earth have had the pot) that it becomes exorbitant. If someone offers to pay you a million dollars to take the pot off his hands, it starts to look more and more like an albatross rather than a good deal. Moreover, the laws of economics and monetary inflation will further insure that if enough folks wish to become rich using the pot, nobody will become rich but rather the economy will quickly enter a hyper-inflation phase Weimar-style. I don't think that the pot can deliver monetary wealth before a given nation's currency is destroyed. I would think the king would see both problems, but I don't know if either of them would have been the pivotal reason to eject the salesman.
On the moral quandary front, a Calvinist reading this story would say that anyone acquiring the pot and dying while owning it was a son of perdition to begin with -- that the pot would generally be directed into the hands of depraved individuals who could have any wish they wanted. Since the scripture affirms that "an appetite for silver cannot be satisfied with silver," an avalanche of terrible consequences will quickly ensue. Further, possessors of the pot would be in the morally reprehensible position of attempting to pass, "in potentia," a ticket to hell on to their fellow citizens. Reminds one of Mark Twain's story "The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg."
Since the logic of the pot cannot be overcome, we'd suspect that the solutions offered in the second part of Faust, or in "The Devil and Daniel Webster," don't apply.
Martin S On Apr 7, 2007, at 11:51 AM, Paul Deema wrote:
Martin S Chronology: Martin S > Paul D From Martin G. Selbrede Fri Apr 6 18:39:04 2007 The salesman said this:This sum is payable on delivery but may be placed in escrow until either its utility has been established or 30 days have passed whichever is the sooner.What if 30 days passes before the pot's utility has been established (it could be a fake that doesn't grant any wishes at all). The money in escrow goes to the salesman anyway. It looks like this is a way for the salesman to make $1250 on a worthless piece of ceramic.Well the King expressed satisfaction with the terms and he did have 30 days to test it after all, surely a trivial task.Martin S. ======================================= From Martin G. Selbrede Fri Apr 6 19:02:58 2007 I use only Macintosh computers so I don't have access to the solution, which requires a PC to run the executable. Since the puzzle was closed on 4/2, I didn't think I was violating the contest terms by commenting on the puzzle on the forum, as Robert Bennett had also done. Forgive me if that was an ill-conceived conclusion. Sorry -- I didn't forsee this problem.I'll send you the solution if you want. I'm surprised -- I thought you'd be the one to knock this one over!Martin S. Paul DSend instant messages to your online friends http:// au.messenger.yahoo.com