High-flying village in Asia to take control
By Nury Vittachi
From midnight on the day of his inauguration, January 20, 2009, all US treasury-related decisions will be made by the leaders of the most successful economy of the past two decades, Yumin Village in Guangdong, southern China.
"We need to be outward-looking and seek best practices worldwide," Obama said at a White House briefing. "Our researchers have found the best."
Yumin Village was a peasant hamlet in 1980. Today it is one of the wealthiest villages in China, with a gross domestic product greater than Australia and approaching that of Oprah Winfrey.
The remaining Wall Street bankers, both of them, responded with a decisive: "Huh?"
But the most vociferous response came from the Republican advisors to the US Federal Reserve, who issued a joint statement saying: "We feel there is a massive, unseen danger in outsourcing economic decision-making to Asia: namely, the place is full of Asians, people who are also known, with all due respect, as Gooks, Commies, and Reds Under the Beds."
Among the highest officials to express reservations was Vice-President Dick Cheney, who said: "We have no way of knowing whether they have the same values as we have. For example, do they share our beliefs in the importance of keeping US defense contractors extremely wealthy? These are the core values of every true American, by which I mean me and my buddies."
But the Chinese government welcomed the move, saying that it recognized the latent financial talent of their country. "This proves what we have said all along, which is that capitalism is merely a brief diversion on the world's glorious advance towards being a totalitarianism communist paradise."
But who in Yumin Village will make the actual decisions? The most likely candidate is retired female Cantonese opera singer Chew Sum-Fat, in view of the fact that she has more teeth (three) than any of the other village elders.
"We already know a lot about life in the United States, since I have been in the pirate DVD business for many years," spluttered Chew. "For example, I know about the US citizens' favoured method of commuting to work, known as The Car Chase."
Chew says that US DVDs have given her a more accurate view of America than the hostile propaganda in the Chinese newspapers. "For example, the People's Daily says that a large proportion of Americans are obese. But I've seen in the movies with my own eyes that almost all Americans are slim, muscular people who spend most of their time jumping from building to building with hand guns. Indeed, a number of them can fly."
At a video-link press conference, top US economist Paul Krugman asked village elders whether they would steer the economy by fine-tuning the federal funds rate.
"No. We will use advanced Asian economic tools," Chew replied. "These include feng shui, bone-weighing, Chinese numerology, and the study of patterns left on the bottom of bowls after the consumption of fried noodles."
In Washington, Obama was adamant this would get the US economy back on track. "Yumin Village is our best hope," he said. "And they also provide excellent fried noodles."