Monday, November 22, 2010

Income to rise 564%, predicts Int'l Economics Agency

* Commentary for Peak Oil Review (Does not necessarily reflect ASPO-USA's position.)

Nov. 15, 2010 - PARIS -- The International Economics Agency today released their World Income Outlook, which predicts an incredible 564 percent increase in the median world income over the next three months. IEA Chief Economics Officer Brandon Blighted reports, "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 projections, and despite a combined under and un-employment rate of 17.6 percent in the U.S. in October, the yearly median world income will increase from 5,000 to 27,500 by the end of this year, 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 yer 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 these 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?"

Economic experts were confident in the WIO. "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 any nitpicky factual discussions. Let's pop open the bubbly, shall we? Jeeves!"

Government officials were visibly relieved by the news, 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 of the "Unconventional income" category, which is rumored to consist mostly of organ sales, gambling, and infant surrogacy. However, many Congresspersons appeared confident that the economy could indeed produce heretofore undiscovered, yet incredibly lucrative, careers from new and exciting 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, state 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 the IEA is not predicting a $5.5 million median income like they did in 2006. Unfortunately, we don't believe that a 1,347,000 percent increase in the number of hedge fund managers is a viable way to grow the economy. And frankly, the inclusion of $48,500 quarterly bonuses for Burger King cashiers in the income projections seems somewhat unrealistic. If that happens, I'll eat my hat."

Inside sources at the International Economics Agency expressed some reservations about the jubilation surrounding the Outlook. "I'm not sure the mainstream media understands the whole 'income has peaked and we're not sure what will fill the gap' thing. I'm a little disappointed, because I thought someone might have gotten 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, you need to 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 that 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."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hell announces Pilot Colonization Program

December 12, 2011 -- Ninth Level of Hell, Expansion Division

Hell today announced a new Pilot Colonization Program to relocate demons, devils, incubi, succubi, and Damned Souls to the surface of the Earth, starting as early as 2012. Lucifer Jr., Senior Executive Vice-President of Hades, explained the rationale behind the new program: "From our perspective, warming Earth temperatures offers an infernally perfect solution for the overcrowding we've been experiencing in Hell for the last 66 years. As the planet heats up, Earth will present a terrific opportunity for Hell's growth and expansion."

A vocal group of protesters, including the Vatican, immediately filed suit in national and international courts to prevent the colonization program. A representative of Pope John Jacob II spoke forcefully against the plan. "A demonic occupation would be a disaster for humanity. Demons are notorious for soul possession and for corrupting government and business officials, plus Greed, Lust, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Violence, and Sloth. And don't even get me started on the problems with projectile vomiting."

However, legal experts say that Hell's colonization of land owned by various Satanic holding companies is all perfectly legal. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, an avid property-rights advocate, observed, "Some people say that Demons belong in Hell. I tend to agree, but Satan has purchased this real estate through legitimate and proper channels. What would happen if we tried to just nullify all the contracts that we didn't like? Chaos, that's what!"

Several sources in Hades appeared skeptical about the colonization. Lesser daemon Beelzebub Cramer said, "Upper management is trying to portray the surface as some sort of 'Land of Opportunity' where ambitious young devils can set up Eternal Punishment shops to alleviate the population pressures we've been having in Hell. But why can't our Soul Recruitment Department just lay off a bit? If they would scale back their notoriously aggressive quarterly soul targets, it would solve the problem pretty quick."

Some advocacy groups point to Hell's nefarious plan as simply one more reason to slow, and reverse, the effects of climate change as soon as possible. Groups like have proposed many practical solutions - renewable energy, transitioning to a steady-state economy, increasing public transportation, systematically redesigning walkable cities, and radically increasing the energy efficiency of buildings.

Others call these proposals "unrealistic and expensive." Economist Julian Stein commented, "Sure, the prospect of having one's faced gnawed off by a demon might be frightening to some people, but that's far off in the future, like next year. We need to deal with the here and now, and that means stimulating economic growth at any cost. We really don't have any choice - no matter what the grisly consequences might be."

Peak oil offers a tiny glimmer of hope for those uneasy with the planned demon colonization program, as recent reports from the U.S. Military have indicated that oil production will begin to fall within a few years, and remaining oil and coal reserves will be less profitable, of lower quality, and generally harder to extract. Non-profit groups, such as the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and the Transition Network, have pointed out that Hell's Colonization Program is simply one more excellent reason to immediately cut our use of fossil fuels while transitioning to a more sustainable future.

Chief Climate Enhancement Engineer and resident of the fourth level of Hell, Asmodeus Dimon, describes the Hellish dilemma: "At this point, only the toughest and hardiest Demons can survive on the surface. We need the Earth to warm up several more degrees to accommodate our Denizens. But will we be able to achieve our target level of heating with the lower-grade, harder to extract, and more expensive oil and coal that's left? We're betting we can. And you know what? We invented betting."

Lilith Jones, head Project Manager of the Pilot Colonization Program, said of Hell's acquisition of thousands of square miles of tar sands, deepwater oil, and shale deposits, "First, speaking on behalf of my fellow demons, I'd like to thank you humans for the excellent job you've done in laying the groundwork for this project. Without your child-like stubbornness, complete lack of foresight, and disregard for the health of your fellow humans, this Program would simply not be possible."

She continued, "But in the case that fossil fuel exploitation becomes unprofitable and you humans lose your appetite for destruction, we stand ready to burn every last drop of oil and every last lump of coal we can get our claws on."

Archangel Micheal spoke from his corner of Heaven, where an unprecedented number of prayers was waiting in his inbox. "Look, I sympathize with your predicament, but God likes to help those who help themselves, if you know what I mean. If you want to hop on the clue train, here it is: QUIT BURNING FOSSIL FUELS. And plant a few more trees, while you're at it."

The Archangel concluded, "You've got a choice - continue your short term pursuit of an indecently inequitable, prodigiously polluting, and irrationally growth-obsessed economic system and face an Eternity in the new Hell on Earth, or use your imaginations and make another leap of evolution. Although some of us advised Him against it, God gave you free will - now, you make the call."