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Global Debt Tombola

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First, on any one of [n] ping pong balls, write the name and/or details of a national debt instrument (or, if you have a limited number of ping pong balls, a debt type or nation grouping), repeat for all debt instruments (or groupings).

Next, toss all the balls into a colossal pit, constructed by corvée labour in some marginalised central Asian "republic", where the the PPBs are stirred by either (1) mechanical arms or, if cash is tight, (2)the wild flailings of illiterate recidivists, for whom this act of potenially fatal human twizzlesticking forms part of rehabilitation.

Once the PPBs have been suitably stirred, each nation's finance minister takes his or her turn in an elaborate, weeks long ceremony, sountracked by alpenhorn and increasingly erratic drumrolls, to extract from the tombola a ping pong ball. Upon extraction, the extractee's nation becomes liable for all debt represented by that PPB. Repeat, without toilet breaks or sustenance for the ministers, substituting in their seconds (and thirds etc) only on the event of death, until all ping pong balls are allocated and global national debt is restructured in what can only be described as an entirely equitable process.

calum, Jul 20 2011


       All for it. This could only be good news for large nations with huge debts like the US. Places like Luxembourg, well... sorry chaps.
RayfordSteele, Jul 20 2011

       /corveé labour/ I will have to google, but I would guess this is either tame crows or the Hooters girls.
bungston, Jul 20 2011

       Re corveé: acute left shifted. Yikes.
calum, Jul 20 2011

       Isn't this how your World Bank works, but with less gratuitous cruelty ?   

       Gratuitous cruelty to politicians and bankers. [+].
8th of 7, Jul 20 2011

       //Luxembourg, well... sorry chaps.// To which Prince Félix replies: sorry, we're bankrupt, and defaults. The USA, whose national debt just evaporated, pays Ghana's national debt ($7 billion) out of petty cash, and announces Marshal Plan II, to resucitate Luxemboug. No problem at all.   

       The problem comes *before* the tombola, because the market anticipates this. Merely announcing this scheme would have the same effect as a simultaneous default by the countries with above-median national debt.   

       So, this is GOOD news for Luxembourg, BAD news for the US.   

       (Although, if Luxembourg was counting on Marshal II, then it's bad news for them as well. So it's really bad news for everybody. There's a reason they call it the dismal science.)
mouseposture, Jul 21 2011

       Could the illiterate recidivists somehow also be worked into dartboard stock trading?
Alterother, Jul 21 2011

       I'm reminded of the Mythbusters where they raised a sunken sailboat with PPBs and at one point they just had balls flooding out of a hatch or something, filling the harbor.
Alterother, Jul 22 2011

       Minus the ping pong balls, this seems to be pretty much what the EU has been up to this past fortnight.
calum, Oct 31 2011

       I'm secretly enjoying the irony of the confusion around the Credit Default Swap (CDS) - conceived as a means to decouple the risk associated with ownership of an asset - you could almost blame the CDS as the technical element that brought about the first crisis (by allowing banks to trade certain securities without also having to worry (directly) about the risk associated with those securities) - now it turns out that if Greek, Italian (or any other debts) are subjected to a "haircut" (i.e. a writedown of some percentage of the remaining moneys owed) as being planned by the EU, then it's not entirely certain whether holding a CDS "counts" anymore, thanks to some technical distinction around at what point does the contract "trigger". That adds up to a few billion dollars worth of uncertainty, and likely a certain amount of courtroom wrangling prior to any actual payout.   

       So not only did the percieved benefits of the CDS help create the bubble that caused the 2008 crisis in the first place, but now it seems, they are unlikely to pay out cleanly in the event of the kind of default they were ultimately intended to cover.
zen_tom, Oct 31 2011


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