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Economic satire: EP 2: Rich get richer

That was definitely not the reaction the Assistant had imagined; after all it would be demeaning to associate the serious business of economic discourse with humour. But then in his current position as the Assistant to the Frightful Four, a highly coveted position amongst the budding stars of the profession, the Assistant had started to realize that nothing was as it seemed, or simple. The moniker FF was obviously a concoction of the Assistant – formally, the four were the Co-Chairmen of The Economic Think Tank.

The library echoed with their combined laughter. Fatman, as always, had been the first, “So what should the rich do; get poor?”

“It is rather mindboggling that nobody else seems to have arrived at this simple conclusion,” Slimy observed, “Very aptly articulated, my friend.”

Fatman attempted a sort of sitting bow, something like a beached whale turning and twisting upon the shore.

“But, income inequality is becoming a serious issue globally,” the Assistant offered.

“So what do you think is the solution, that everyone should get the same income?” Fatman intoned.

“Are you a communist?” Sith Lord hissed.

“Definitely not,” the Assistant trembled. Even in the 21st century, it was best not to admit to any such thing.

“So, all else being constant, the conclusion is that income cannot be equalised, and the rational economic man already understands that.” Fatman. The Assistant took a mental note to discuss later how anyone could hold all else constant in the real world, and to ask which planet this rational economic man inhabited.

“Agreed; however, the gap is increasing.”

“So in your opinion, what would be an appropriate gap?” Greybeard offered, with a thoughtful expression on his face. The Assistant was stumped. How should he know what was the right gap in income? “Carrying out a study to determine what might be an acceptable gap, perhaps, can be a useful smoke screen – and while you’re at it, tell Forbes to retract that article about the rich getting richer during Covid.”

“Retract?” the Assistant was genuinely puzzled, “On what grounds?”

“On the grounds that they should not have sensationalised a truism – the rich get richer with or without a pandemic.”

“On a related note, I am getting rather fed up with the reckless behaviour of these publications,” the Sith Lord frowned, “They get the fame and fortune, and we have to clean up the mess. After all, how long before the Ruled realize that income mobility is an illusion, and that the poor shall remain poor?”

“Well, I don’t mind the publications creating waves now and then. After all, ignoring the obvious would be more suspicious. On the other hand, I do have a bone to pick with Piketty,” huffed Fatman, “The simplistic way he exposed the rich get richer equation might well have been fatal – and imagine that tax on wealth crap! Preposterous.”

“Truly,” said Greybeard, “It did take a big load of well thought out gibberish to get the wealth, inheritance, and gain taxes abolished or marginalized – but let’s not ever speak about that, I am rather superstitious, and the walls do have ears.”

Fatman nodded. “Yes, but Covid has highlighted what he wrote that whole book upon. While the world is being pushed, rather shoved, into a recession by social distancing and random lockdowns, wealth continues to enjoy a risk free rate of return by simply sitting in the banks. Perhaps the reason the Jin of income equality has reared its head again.”

The Assistant nodded vigorously.

“And, to my mind, while it is amusing for our internal debate, explaining to the masses that the rich getting richer is rather logical – after all, why should the rich get poor? – and that the poor as a rule will, well, stay poor, may not be a sensible course of action.”

Greybeard nodded thoughtfully, “So, as always, we need a diversion?”

“Well, when you have nothing else for defence, a distraction is the best course of action. May I propose artificial supply chain hurdles to create imbalance in the market and consequently food inflation? In my experience, a populace struggling to make ends meet and feed their family hardly has the time for an economic debate on why the rich get richer irrespective of all else.”

“Fair enough, but at times all this does get annoying.” Sith Lord sighed.

Fatman looking at Sith Lord, surprised, “Well, this table hardly has any room for emotions. Perhaps it is nice to think about the poor once in a while, but don’t forget the alliance forged between the rich and the economists – we need each other to survive in this democratic world.”

The last two words were uttered in a cynical tone, which perhaps deserved a third round of laughter. The Assistant grimaced.

Sith Lord looked at Fatman sternly, “Think about the poor? Hardly! Annoying are the repeated failures of the global community to accept the truism once and for all – the rich get richer!”

(The writer is a chartered accountant based in Islamabad. Email: syed.bakhtiyarkazmi@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are personal. The views are not necessarily those of the newspaper).

Syed Bakhtiyar Kazmi, "Economic satire: EP 2: Rich get richer," Business Recorder. 2020-10-30.
Keywords: Economics , Economic growth , Economic satire , Economic discourse , Sith Lord , FF

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