The World Series wasn’t the only event in the majors to be postponed because of inclement circumstance. The crisis in the EU, originally scheduled to culminate last night, was deferred when President Sarkozy, Chancellor Merkel, et al. discovered a large cache of cash in the pockets of a small group of private citizens who had arrived to witness the event.
Suspicious that any private citizen should have money and wary of anything untoward occurring, the assembled leaders of the EU persuaded this group of citizens to “voluntarily” surrender half of what they had. The crisis was then immediately called for the night and is rescheduled to begin again in two years’ time.
The money that was confiscated then traveled back through time (via a mechanism too complicated to explain) to Greece, where it was discovered by that country’s ruling Socialist party. The members of that party said to themselves, “My! Where did all this money come from? A gift from Pluto! Let’s use it to employ as many of our own people as possible. It’s better then forcing them to fend for themselves. If we don’t do this, we will anger the Gods.”
But the Greek leaders were unwise and employed far more than were possible. Eventually, nearly half the economy was dependent on government handouts. The leaders knew they had nothing more to give but promises, but were unconcerned and assumed that the Gods would deliver more gifts of cash from the future to replenish the empty treasury.
Then one day, one of the socialist leaders, after a night of lurid dreams guided by Eros, hit upon the idea of selling the Greek promises to non-Greeks. “Of course!” the rest of the leaders agreed, “We can generate promises endlessly, without limit. As long as we can persuade somebody to pay us for them, we can employ more and more of our people in government.”
They began issuing these promises, which they called “Bonds”, forthwith. Aroused by the compassion shown by Greece’s socialist leaders, and in truth partly by the hope of personal gain, many of Europe’s citizens gave their private money to own the Greek promises.
Each promise was crafted to guarantee that the purchaser would receive his cash back, plus a little more, sometime in the future. The purchaser was assured that the money for this scheme would be made available by Greece’s selling more promises even further in the future. Masses of German, French, and even British citizens, who had never heard the legend of Charles Ponzi, said to themselves, “What could go wrong?” and bought large a number of the promises.
The plan might have worked, too, but Greece’s neighbors looked on the success of that country with jealous eyes. The leaders of these countries said, “If they can do it, we can too. Have the Exchequer start drafting promises now!”
And so Italy, Germany, Portugal, Spain, Ireland and many other countries flooded the market with promises. Alas, they were also bought by the citizens of Germany, France, and England. These private citizens reasoned with themselves, “We got our money back with interest when we bought Greek promises. We’ll get even more money if we double, triple our bets and buy Italian and Spanish promises.”
Soon, the inevitable happened. Each of the countries that sold promises employed as many of their own people as they could, which had the effect of rapidly depleting each country’s treasury. More promises were issued, but none could be found wanting to buy them. The citizens who had previously bought promises finally saw that their promises could only be paid with other promises, which themselves would be paid by promises made by other countries. Hard currency—money itself—was nowhere to be found. The whole was a sad, tangled mess.
And so the leaders of Germany, France, England and others called for a World Crisis. It was off to a good start, with Germany taking an early lead. Greece bravely fought back and called the Germans Nazis and rioted in their own streets. The score was tied until France abused Great Britain, and that once-great empire responded with a collective, “Well!”
The battle was even and might have gone for the full seven games when the shocking events which opened this tale occurred. All was quiet for one hour after the money traveled back in time. And then Greece and the other promise-selling countries realized that if they could send money back in time by a show of petulance, and knowing their stock of petulance was infinite, immediately began selling more promises.
And they are being bought, too, by the now-poorer-by-half citizens who mistakenly believed the postponement was a victory for their side.
See you in two years for the conclusion.