Crime Does Pay: GDP Revised to Include Property Crime

Jan. 2, 2045
WASHINGTON DC–Officials at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, a division of the Department of Commerce responsible for calculating Gross Domestic Product, a measure of economic activity, recently decided to include the value of all property crimes in the important measurement. Minutes of December meetings among executive officials reveal that key members of the Bureau had reached a broad consensus on the inclusion of the figures, which are quite high and, after revision of calculations of GDP for past years, reveal a staggering growth rate in the past 40 years.

Harvard economics professor W. Earnest Peak explained at a recent advisors meeting that “property crime-chiefly theft, but also graft, bribery, and embezzlement-should be viewed as services akin to those offered by professionals in the legal, medical, and psychotherapeutic industries.”

It seems that property crime, when calculated as a component of GDP, offers a particularly great boost because the service involved, while fairly risky to practitioners, has a particularly high rate of return, dwarfing even the fat margins enjoyed by software conglomerates. Property crime, as an industry, also enjoys a low barrier-to-entry. Though not everyone can easily engage in high-level political graft, the average, young entrepreneur can begin snatching purses, and executing home invasion burglaries with a nearly insignificant initial capital outlay.

While the inclusion of property crime values in revised calculations of historical GDP has shown a much greater rate of growth over recent decades than was previously thought, it has also radically altered views of historic, non-inflationary growth during the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The widely venerated leadership of long-time U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan is cast in a different light.

While economists have historically credited Chairman Greenspan with facilitating a sustainable, non-inflationary growth rate significantly higher than was thought conventionally possible, they now recognize that the concurrent and precipitous decline in property crime rates was what permitted the apparently impossibly high growth rates. “What we thought was very high growth was actually, in context, pretty tame,” noted a Commerce Department spokesman. ” Inflation was kept under control because of the collapse of the crime industry nation-wide.”

No administration official will go on the record calling for an increase in theft to stimulate the economy, but most acknowledge privately that they are doing what they can to ensure that graft and bribery rates remain high. Barring a groundswell in grassroots shoplifting and petty theft, however, the activities of a few officials can do little by themselves to resuscitate the economy. “Let’s hope for a good Christmas season; there’s always lots to steal around the holidays,” offered an unnamed Commerce attorney participating in the decision.

Coming to a Stain Near You: Ads!

July 23, 2104
MADISON, NJ–If Nanosigns inc. has anything to say about it, advertisers will no longer be crying over spilled milk. At this year’s World Marketing Conference, the wholly-owned subsidiary of pharmaceutical and biotech giant American Home Products announced a new application for its fluid-manipulating nanobots: assembling advertising slogans and logos from spilled liquids.

The digestible, bio-degradable nanobots, suspended in any bottled or packaged fluid, are activated upon contact with the air. The bots quickly, cooperatively, assess the size of the spill and, manipulating the liquid on the molecular level, assemble an optimally-sized, pre-determined logo or slogan from the spilled liquid.

Spilled condiments can promote detergents appropriate for cleaning the stains they make. Spill-over from guzzled energy drinks can advertise upcoming athletic events. One early, unidentified customer plans to have excess beer foam form the familiar logo of its new line of trucks.

Originally designed to control spills of industrial solvents and petrochemicals, the nanobots required some modification before they were ready for the consumables market. Eliot Sterns, chief scientist at Nanosigns, explains: “Digestibility proved the most difficult challenge: digestibility without significant effect on flavor or calorie content. We’re talking about millions of self-replicating bots in a bottle of catsup, so we had to do some careful taste tests, look at the effect on the color and texture of the fluid medium, things like that. In the end we came up with something not unlike a living organism, but built from and around sugars rather than proteins.”

AHP invested billions in the development of nanobots for chemical spill containment, only to find the market evaporate in the wake of Congressional actions absolving dumpers of liability for “unintentional” health and environmental consequences of spills.

“It turns out that we were working against ourselves” notes a former, highly-placed executive at the company. “Our research folks were pouring money into technologies for containing and controlling spills and leaks of chemicals while our political people were pulling for ‘no liability’ legislation. It turns out that the political solution was less costly, but we’d already put a lot into the nano thing. Somebody had to take the fall for that.”

The Nanosigns subsidiary took work that had been lying dormant at AHP for years and discovered an innovative application that’s good for advertisers and good for consumers. But some caution that these “spill signs” may be one step too far.

“How do we know that these nano-bots are not simply a way to bring advertising into our bodies?” asks Professor M. Vendicott, director of Chemistry in the Public Interest. “These ‘bots’ might be directing ads to our digestive organs as they pass through. Advertising is surely a good thing, as long as it isn’t inside me.”

New Soap for Cleaning Soap

June 24, 2004
CINCINNATI — Consumer giant Procter & Gamble today announced a new product enabling consumers to maintain the cleanliness of traditional bar soaps.

“For years our customers have complained that the stickiness of in-use bar soaps attracts un-appealing hair and dust adhesions” notes P&G spokesman Ron Neufchatel. “Our own researchers have discovered in the lab that these bar soaps may also be among the most pathogenic objects in the household. They act like fly-traps for the very bathroom and kitchen germs they are meant to wash off. Sure, they get the germs off your hands, but, on subsequent washings, can reintroduce the same germs. Bathtubs into which in-use soaps fall can fill with rapidly-replicating germs in a matter of minutes.”

Until recently, dispenser-based liquid soaps were the only solution for the germ-aware. But P&G’s new Metasoap enables consumers to again enjoy traditional bar soaps worry-free. Handsoap Industry Association of America spokeswoman Maude Freed welcomed the new product, declaring it a “boon to a much-maligned industry.” “Most people don’t realize that the traditional craft of soapmaking has fallen on hard times. Metasoap may revive a nearly lost art.”

“The simple pleasures of a rich, scented bar of soap need no longer be stigmatized by the risk of serious, debilitating bacterial infection. To enhance your soap’s safety, simply wash it after each use with Metasoap” declares P&G’s promotional material.

Metasoap comes in three handy, unscented forms: liquid pump, spray, and, yes, bar. It seems that the peculiar germ and lint-retardant properties of Metasoap make it possible to wash your bar of soap with a bar of Metasoap.

Consumer watchdog group Poison Soap Watch cautioned that Metasoap has not yet been tested in independent labs, but welcomed the product as a first step in reconciling the public-health concerns presented by the “omnipresent threat of germ-soaked soap” with the “important business interests of soapmakers and the soap industry.”

New Company Tells Future, Sells Future

Sept. 1, 2000
NEW HAVEN–Futurefeedforward, a young start-up company in southern Connecticut, publicly announced today that it has established a computer networking link to the future. The company’s Temporal Networking technology enables it to directly gather information about the future from databases located in the future and linked to present day computers in its New Haven offices. The company reports that by eventually building extensive databases in the future containing information about events between now and the future, and by networking “ForwardServers” with “present-side clients,” it has gained unprecedented access to information about the future.

“The commercial possibilities are literally endless,” notes a company spokesperson. “One simple example: Marketers can improve the effectiveness of advertising campaigns by targeting only those consumers who will eventually buy what they’re selling.”

Although the exact nature of the technology remains a secret, company materials claim that information can be encoded in “wave packets” traveling back in time on “retrograde quantum effects.” A present-day “black box” device collects and decodes these packets, producing usable, present-day information about future events.

Company founder Redroe “Red” Boudaine invented the technology and established the company to develop and exploit its commercial possibilities.

The company currently offers financial and research services to the industrial, commercial, and consumer markets.

Its research division, predictably, touts its ability to produce unequalled and unequallable analyses of future trends; but its financial services division aims to profit by selling money below its current value. “Money wants to be free!” declares CEO Boudaine.

Prominent banking officials doubt the viability of a business which sells money below cost. “If I sell you $1 million for, say, $900,000, that’s just not a business, that’s a bankruptcy waiting to happen,” noted a Federal Reserve spokeswoman.

Boudaine remains undaunted: “It’s not that banking officials are behind-the-times; it’s just that we are ahead, looking decades, centuries, even millennia into the future. They may refuse to accept our vision now, but, eventually, we will own them, all of them.”

The company’s web-presence at regularly publishes news about future events in an attempt to “spread the word about the company” and to “build our brand.”