Italo Calvino, as translated by Tim Parks
There once was a country where they were all thieves.
At night everybody would leave home with skeleton keys and shaded lanterns and go and burgle a neighbour’s house. They’d get back at dawn, loaded, to find their own house had been robbed.
So everybody lived happily together, nobody lost out, since each stole from the other, and that other from another again, and so on and so on until you got to a last person who stole from the first. Trade in the country inevitably involved cheating on the parts both of buyer and seller. The government was a criminal organization that stole from its subjects, and the subjects for their part were only interested in defrauding the government. Thus life went on smoothly, nobody was rich and nobody was poor.