(Note: There is so much bad news in telling the Peak Oil story that we thought we would lighten things up a bit with a little satire. Ed.)
Paris – November 19, 2010
The International Economics Agency today released its World Income Outlook, which predicts a 564 percent increase in the median world income over the next three months. IEA Chief Economics Officer Brandon Blighted explains, “Our meticulous research clearly shows that an overwhelming majority of people, especially the Chinese, want more money – a lot more, in fact. With demand for income rising, it appears that the economy has little choice but to produce more well-paying jobs and excessive bonuses. That’s what we‘re assuming, anyway.”
According to IEA‘s projections, and despite a combined under- and unemployment rate of 17.6 percent in the US in October, the yearly median world income will increase from 5,000 to 27,500 in the next three months, with the median income for American households increasing from 30,500 to 167,000. When asked what currency the figures are in, IEA spokesperson Hope Hillston laughed. “Dollars, yuan, pesos, euros, what’s the difference? It’s all money.”
IEA authors divided the skyrocketing income gains into several categories. The “Existing income from existing jobs” category has been steeply declining for the last several years, with average continuing declines projected at 8.3 percent. The largest category, “Projected income from currently non-existent jobs,” steadily increases to compose an astronomical 90 percent of income by the year 2020, when the average Chinese peasant will be making 95,000.
Some people reported confusion surrounding the charts. “I don’t get it,” engineering student Jon Sherwood said. “Are they saying that cushy jobs will magically appear just because people want money? Did they take their methodology straight from The Secret, or has someone been dropping a few too many hits of acid before work?”
However, economic experts were confident in the Outlook. “Your average schmo on the street doesn’t appreciate the intricacies of economic forecasting, especially the part where we examine bloody eviscerated pig entrails,” commented Economics Professor Phillipson Lumpy Jr., of Wharton University. “But as I always say, why look a gift horse in the mouth? I can have complete confidence in this fantastically optimistic report without bothering with any nitpicky factual discussions. Let’s pop open the bubbly, shall we? Jeeves!”
Government officials were visibly relieved by the report, which seemed to temporarily alleviate mounting demands from constituents to “do something, as long as it doesn‘t involve austerity,” about the failing economy. Most members of Congress were reluctant to discuss the details surrounding the “Unconventional income” category, which is rumored to consist mostly of organ sales, gambling, and infant surrogacy. However, many Congresspersons appeared confident in report predictions that the economy will indeed produce heretofore undiscovered, yet incredibly lucrative, careers from new technological advancements in the next three months.
Congresswoman Barbara Baker (D-CA) was especially exuberant. “Look at the possibilities for upper middle-class jobs… Moon Base construction engineers, hydrogen car marketing managers and Fountain of Youth® development chemists. Just think what we can do with the payroll, income and sales taxes from these new industries! I can’t wait to build some much-needed highways. And a corn ethanol processing plant!”
Alternatively, analyst Stefan Stanislavsky at the Association for Economists Waking up and Smelling the Coffee (AEWUSTC) was openly skeptical. “In many ways, this report is an improvement over prior years: at least now the IEA is not predicting a $5.5 million median income like it did in 2006. Unfortunately, we don’t believe that a 1,347,000 percent increase in hedge fund managers is a viable way to grow the economy. And frankly, the inclusion of $48,500 quarterly bonuses for Burger King cashiers seems somewhat unrealistic. If that happens, I’ll eat my hat.”
Inside sources at the International Economics Agency expressed reservations about the jubilation surrounding the Outlook. “I’m not sure the mainstream media really understands the implications of the whole ‘income from existing jobs has peaked and we‘re not sure what will fill the gap’ thing. I’m a little disappointed, because I thought someone might get the hint from the category we named ‘Income generated when monkeys fly out of my butt,’ but evidently not. Maybe they just haven’t seen Wayne’s World.”
He confided, “When reading this report, crank up your bulls*^t detector by about five notches. Then crank it up another ten. That’s where it should be when you start interpreting projections we created specifically to keep from getting lynched by a pitchfork-wielding, suit-wearing mob, while still trying to avoid frying in Hell for perpetuating the assumption that we can indefinitely expand the economy.”
The IEA insider added, “It’s a tough balancing act, kind of like mud-wrestling three rabid pitbulls while playing a Tchaikovsky violin concerto. Seriously, man – I’m freaking exhausted.”
Christine Patton is co-chair of Transition OKC in Oklahoma City, www.goinglocalokc.org, and author of the Peak Oil Hausfrau blog.