An Athenian Puzzle
If you were selected for such a task—called a liturgy—there were two ways of getting out of it. One was to show that you had already been assigned a liturgy for this year or had done one in the previous year. The other was to show that there was another Athenian, richer than you, who had not been assigned a liturgy either this year or last—and who should therefore do yours.
That raised an obvious problem. In a society without an IRS, without accounting, without modern banking and financial records, how do you prove that another Athenian is richer than you are?
I will give one hint to the answer: It was obviously invented, not by an accountant, but by an economist. Possibly a mad economist.