A prediction for the future of Wall Street
By Nury Vittachi
A junior school girl from Asia has solved the global financial crisis. There is already talk of a Nobel Prize in Economics for Meena Das, aged 10, whose idea has electrified the financial community. Her plan will be discussed by top bankers and macro-economists tomorrow at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In this exclusive report from the far side of our imagination, we watched Ms Das being interviewed by CNNN’s Larry Queen.
Larry: So, Miss Das, could you tell us about your brilliant idea and how you came up with it?
Meena: Well, I am reading in the paper that the banks had stopped lending money, and everyone was worried about credit crunching and so forth. So then I had this totally WILD idea. How about from now on, each person is just spending the money that that person is already having?
Larry: Can you run that by me again?
Meena: Of course. You see, instead of spending money you don’t have, you save until you have enough money to buy something, THEN buy it.
Meena: It may seem strange to Americans, but many people in Asia have been doing this for thousands of years.
Larry: It seems suspiciously simple.
Meena: That’s the beauty of it, Mr Larry, sir.
Larry: What about the catastrophic drop in the stock markets?
Meena: Well, I can help there, too. I know a recycling place which offers several rupees per kilo for worthless sheets of paper. They even accept Lehman Bros minibonds, subprime mortgage papers and so on.
Larry: How will that affect asset values? Property in parts of America is now cheaper than homes in parts of Asia.
Meena: That’s only to be expected. America is a developing country.
Larry: Miss Das, you have been tipped as a future replacement for US treasury secretary Henry Paulson. But critics say you don’t have a track record in successful financial management.
Meena: Does Mr Paulson?
Larry: Touche. Okay, let’s move on. Do you have any suggestions for the thousands of investment bankers out of work in the United States?
Meena: I’m thinking that we can encourage the US government to set up call centres in Wall Street. There is a lot of unused space in Lower Manhattan now.
Larry: US call centres for Asian clients?
Meena: Yes. Let’s say people in Hong Kong want to a home delivery cha siu or vindaloo; they call a number and it is answered in America. Orders are taken and data sent back to Asia. The caller will never know the enquiry was handled in a former investment banking office in Manhattan.
Larry: I don’t know if US investment bankers will be able to adjust to that.
Meena: Why not? A lot of American bankers can speak English, although not as well as many Asians. And what have they been doing all these years, anyway? Working telephones to sell toxic materials to each other.
Larry: When you put it like that, it seems to make sense. Have you started hiring yet?
Meena: You’re the first employee.
Larry: I already have a job.
Meena: Not any more. The US media is downsizing and you’ve just been sacked. Now pick up this script and repeat after me: Asian Food Corp, may I take your order, please?
(Pic: Patrick Doheny/ Creative Commons)