Bail out, mortgage meltdown, economic crisis...those words take me back to the early 21st century.  From my point of view, it was a turbulent period in human history.  Poverty, war, and disease were commonplace.  Bankruptcy, lay offs, and institutional corruption abounded.   It is easy now to see how money was the root of many of the evils that befell Earth.  Wealth, and its accumulation by each person, was considered to be an appropriate lifetime goal.  This was a time of greed and unbridled avarice.  Thankfully, the humans of my century have found more to live for--the betterment of all humanity.

 

During this period, Earth's people seemed to share many of the values put forth in the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition.  Don't misunderstand me, I have the utmost respect for the Ferengi, whose philosophies mirror those of 21st century Earth, but the attainment of wealth as one's sole goal was not a viable strategy for the furtherance of the human race as the events of this time period demonstrate.  Actually, if it were not a fact that the Ferengi did not possess time travel capabilities in Earth’s 21st century, I would be tempted to believe that the Ferengi had infiltrated our society.  During my research into this time period, I've often wondered if I would stumble onto an old fashioned photograph of a fat Ferengi sitting behind the CEO's desk of a high-powered brokerage firm or investment bank. 

 

The trouble started with what was commonly referred to as "main street.” Ordinary people, in large numbers, defaulted on their housing loans, which in turn affected the lender's financial status.  It turned out that many of these ordinary people were victims of predatory lending or were painfully ignorant of basic financial principles, one of which was "don't bite off more than you can chew".  Predatory lending coupled with a decline in lending standards by the lending institutions and government agencies led to an economic crisis, the likes of which had not been experienced in many decades.  Some of the ramifications were massive worker lay offs, foreclosures, increased bankruptcy filings and a global recession.  An old axiom comes to mind as a fair description of the morality of this time, "the greed of the few outweighed the needs of the many." 

 

Consequently, governments tried to intervene to stop, or at least slow, the resulting financial decline and chaos.  One tactic used by the individual nation/state governments was called a bail out, which essentially involved dumping a lot of money into a failing institution in the hope that the money would be used wisely to facilitate the survival and eventual growth of the institution.    Investment firms and banks were given millions of monetary units, at the ordinary people's expense (see taxes in the UFP Old World Dictionary), in the hope that the money would be used to thaw the resulting failed credit market thus reviving the nation's lagging economy.  As it turned out, many of these institutions that received the bail out funds hoarded the money, bought banks in other nations, or compensated their top executives with huge bonuses.   They squandered the money.  Obviously, very little government oversight was involved in these bailouts.  Instead of fixing the problem from the bottom (main street) up, money was sent straight to the top and was then expected to trickle down.  One journalist who watched the crisis take place summed up the sentiment most people had in regards to the economic situation with which they were faced by stating that it was "...a great fraud perpetrated on the people."

 

While I can't embrace the economic philosophy of the Ferengi, I do wonder how the financial crisis would have been managed had the government officials responsible for the bail out known the first Rule of Acquisition:  "Once you have their money, you never give it back."  Maybe they would have handled the financial crisis differently.  Unfortunately, the Temporal Prime Directive prevents me from ever finding out.  Too bad.

 

Honore de Monet

Minister of Commerce

United Federation of Planets

 

Extract from "Personal correspondence, Honoré de Monet; 2376-2382"
Transcribed from declassified Memory Alpha documents by
Commander Jan Sleigh of the USS New Hope
For USS Atlantis diplomatic reference database 'Tiger Cub'