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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

the next bubble

Where do you go after the $125,000 Porsche-Design watch, The $400,000 Rolls Royce Phantom and the Lear Jet 85 have become all-too visible evidence of your having made off with billions in the last bubble? Your bank failed, your Chinese factory shut down throwing three million out of work, your bonds have been down-graded to triple-dump and you are down to your last two or three billion. Your closest friends have either shot themselves ( you knew those guys were chumps), deponzificated, or have been shot dead in a federalista raid in Mexico. Have I got a location for you!

Somalia is a country on the East coast of Africa. Let me list its benefits before wasting any more of your valuable time. Of foremost interest to you should be the little-known fact that Somalia's taxation system is in shambles and it's unlikely that you'll need to pay income tax on any of your far-flung sources of lucre that have not yet done the Poseidon. The SEC has no known jurisdiction in Somalia, nor is it likely to be able to obtain visas for any of those pesky investigators from whom you would like to deproximise yourself.

Those of you reaching for a dictionary to reacquaint yourselves with the etymology of the word “deproximise” should know your dictionary is probably outdated. If you have like designs on “deponzificated” as used in the passage above it is a sure sign that you have not reached the level of sophistication of my primary audience: men with factories in China. But I digress. Another salient point to consider when assessing Somalia is its close proximity to the next big bubble. And I refer of course to piracy.

You have a serious head start on the competition that's likely to start trickling in now that the next big thing has hit the news. Your advantage lies in the fact that you already have transportation. Sure you would have to strengthen the helicopter pad to accommodate a slightly used Apache, that you can pick up on the black market at fire-sale prices now that the war in Iraq is winding down. Your Blackwater contacts should be able to furnish you a wet-leased set of SEAL delivery vehicles and those should be a cinch to launch from the aft deck of your three hundred-footer. Having taken care of the hardware, it should be easy enough to set up a network of trading companies now that the feds are cleaning out all those post office boxes in the Cayman islands.

You are about to bring your corporate expertise to bear on a fledgling industry. While those rank amateurs now operating in Somalia are seizing ships and seeking ransom for the crew, your operation will focus solely on the cargo. Take a few oil tankers coming out of the gulf of Aden and your hard-pressed buddies in Tijuana will start to notice. I'm talking syndication, risk management and portfolio diversification. Why rely solely on drug sales when you can purchase oil futures in relative anonymity, secure in the knowledge that the market will go your way. For a small management fee, any cartel leader with an eye to the future will realize that oil prices will go up when you aim your Apache at a Saudi supertanker and will go down when you re-aim at a few local pirates. In six months you will have outdone yourself, taking in the kind of money that only Popes and short Jewish men in orange jump suits have been used to handling on a personal basis.

After a year of dedication seasoned with moments of high drama, you should be back to your old cheerful self. No more Chinese factories for you; it's time to start thinking big once again. I have to admit not even I saw your grand scheme unfolding and I can't help but admire your pentagonian ability to invest in large objects of desire. I will admit this thing about buying the Suez and Panama canals gives me goose bumps.

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