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The $10 bn starters

Greek delegate: Pardon, monsieur, can we drop in? MMS: Of course, make yourself at home. Manas Chakravarty writes.

columns Updated: Jun 23, 2012 22:11 IST
Manas Chakravarty
Manas Chakravarty
Hindustan Times
Manas Chakravarty,Manmohan Singh,Greece crisis

Greek delegate: Pardon, monsieur, can we drop in?

MMS: Of course, make yourself at home.

Italian Delegate: Oh goody, I see some wine and canapés.

MMS: Please help yourself. What is that large bowl for?

EU Official: Oh that's our begging bowl. We're taking it to all our emerging market friends, in the hope they'll contribute their mite.

MMS: daily allowance has been slashed, you know and the rupee is hitting new lows. Will $500 be OK?

French Delegate: Oh we wouldn't dream of taking a personal donation. What we want is a pledge of monetary support for the IMF from your country, to bail out Europe.

Spanish Delegate: Do you know, if the crisis persists, we might have to cut back our siesta?

MMS: That's tragic, but our economic growth has fallen to 5.3%.

EU Official: An excellent growth rate. Our economies are contracting. Have some smoked salmon and chive pate, it's delicious.

MMS: Mmmph…..thanks…lovely. Vast swathes of our country have no power, we have no coal to fuel our power plants, our infrastructure is crumbling.

Portuguese Delegate: Exactly my point. Do you want our economies to become like yours? Don't you have any sorpotel? I miss Goa.

MMS: You're welcome there, just take permission from Putin first. But thousands of Indian textile workers have lost their jobs and there might be a drought this year.

Spanish Delegate: Don't even talk of unemployment. Do you know how much we have to dish out in unemployment insurance?

Greek Delegate: You guys are so lucky you don't have to spend on the dole.

French Delegate: Have you any idea how large our agricultural subsidies are? My fiscal deficit is bigger than yours.

Italian Delegate: Mine is bigger still. Have this crostini di fegato di pollo, it's heavenly.

Greek Delegate: Mine is the biggest.

Spanish Delegate: Think of the bragging rights you'll get. The tables have been turned on the old colonialists. What better way to announce your arrival as an emerging power. Best of all, Pakistan isn't giving a penny, the poor sods.

Portuguese Dele-gate: After all, we've never held a grudge against you for kicking us out of Goa.

EU Official: Do you know many workers may not be able to take their month-long vacation this summer? Try this wine.

MMS: Glug… terribly sad. Traumatic.

Spanish Delegate: Are you aware that our free medical care system is at risk? Soon we might have to dispense with it altogether and become like you guys. French delegate: And how are we to pay our old age pensions? Monsieur, history will remember you as the hero who saved the European cradle-to-grave social welfare system, the pinnacle of human accomplishment. Besides, you need our imports, right?

MMS: OK, say $5 billion?

EU Official: Come along sir, what would Adam Smith say? China has given $43 billion. Brazil is giving $10 billion.

MMS: Fine, $10 billion.

EU Official: Hip, hip, hooray. Let's celebrate.

MMS: What about the US?

EU Official: In a dastardly act, they have given absolutely nothing.

French Delegate: Dastards, those guys, bloody dastards.

Manas Chakravarty is Consulting Editor, Mint. Views expressed by the author are personal.

First Published: Jun 23, 2012 22:06 IST