Hey U.S., welcome to the Third World!

It's not every day that a superpower makes a bid to transform itself into a Third World nation, and we here at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund want to be among the first to welcome you. As you spiral into a catastrophic financial meltdown, we are delighted to respond to your Treasury Department's request that we undertake a joint stability assessment of your financial sector.

We hope you won't feel embarrassed as we assess the stability of your economy and suggest needed changes. Our experts are committed to intervening in national economies with care and sensitivity.

We thus want to acknowledge the progress you have made in your evolution from economic superpower to economic basket case. Normally, such a process might take 100 years or more. However, you have successfully achieved, in a few short years, many of the key hallmarks of Third World economies.

Admittedly, your transition to Third World status is far from over, and it won't be painless. At first, for instance, you may find it hard to get used to the shantytowns that will replace the exurban sprawl of McMansions that helped fuel the real estate speculation bubble. But in time, such shantytowns will simply become part of the landscape.

Similarly, as unemployment rates continue to rise, you will initially struggle to find a use for the expanding pool of angry, jobless young men. But you will gradually realize that you can recruit them to fight in a ceaseless round of armed conflicts, a solution that has been utilized by many other Third World states before you. Indeed, with your wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, you are off to an excellent start.

[Excerpt of a LA Times article by Rosa Brooks]

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