Nov 15, 2008

Coup de gueule

"Barack Obama, committed to uniting America, could defuse the nation’s culture wars by purchasing an alternative homeland for those of his countrymen who want more use of the death penalty, less gun control and no gay marriage. A slice of Saudia Arabia’s empty quarter would do nicely: there’s plenty of space and the new occupants would have lots in common with the locals".

Sometimes, The Economist has these sarcastic and radical articles I would call "coup de gueule". They are the best. Read this one completely, it's a classic.


Sebastian said...

The market solution also came up a year or so ago as a mean of bringing debt levels back to normal. Admittedly, it was a late in the evening conversation over some good Italian red wine in Valpolicella. And it was two Italian friends who discussed about the idea of renting out whole areas in Italy (say for 20 years) to foreign countries/regions (namely Bavaria) as a mean to get rid of the increasing debt burden and potentially even benefit from an improved provision of civil services.....
Now, I do not want to see the Bavarians ruling (even for a limited period) Italian provinces, but at the bottom of that argument might be something. Is it not also in the Cappella Sistina where a Japanese company had exclusive media rights after having financed much of the renovation?
So rather than letting certain areas/monuments decline due to a lack of money (or as it is in Italy the case due to too many monuments), why not give some (temporary) rights to foreign investors and have the areas renovated/improved?

Pierre-Louis said...

wow i wasn't expecting the discussion to take that direction! I don't even know how seriously the economist proposes this as a solution...its like when they said Belgium should cease to exist

but buying land is not a new idea, Alaska was sold to America by the Russians!

Pierre-Louis said...

for 1 million dollars i think!

Cam said...

Has anyone ever done the net present value calculation concerning the worth of Alaska when the Russians sold it - I'm sure that they got ripped off badly by the USA! Then again, maybe if the Russians had kept Alaska then they would have had to experience Sarah Palin (she would have real foreign policy experience then, she really would be able to see Russia from Alaska.............).

I feel ashamed that the Australian Government is abrogating their international responsibilities and not offering Maldivians or Tuvaluans citizenship......if I were an Australian policymaker, I would offer the island of Tasmania for sale (there is nothing down there except for apples and woodchips anyway....).

This is a very cheap shot (and I apologise in advance to Sebastian and all other Germans for this comment), but doesn't Germany already have alot of experience from the 20th Century of controlling large swathes of European territory........? I seem to recall they did not do much of a good job of infrastructure provision back then, rather they did the opposite of looting and pillaging most of the territory they controlled......:). Yes, I know it's a low blow but I couldn't resist it.......:)

Katya said...

they sold it off before they discovered gold and oil there :-) but i still think it was a good deal. back then america was just as famous for disregarding sovereign territory as it is now. so between "we take it" and "we take it and give you some money for it" i pick the money option. not that russia was any better.