Floating in space in their spaceship, out beyond the Kuiper Belt, Zig and Zag have been monitoring Earth’s newswires. They receive a message from Zug at High Command.
ZUG: Report. Should we establish first contact with these aliens?
ZIG: On the face of it, it looks good. They’ve got satellites, probes visiting other planets, telescopes out in orbit and they might not be too far away from warp technology.
ZUG: (frowning) I sense a ‘but’ coming…
ZAG: Well…they’ve hit a global financial crisis.
ZUG: You what?
ZIG: Apparently, over the last 10 of their years, they created a mountain of consumer and corporate debt that they can’t repay to each other. Something to do with exotic instruments - CDOs and CDSs...they like their CDs apparently...their banks are going
bust, wealth has gone out the airlock and they’re about to see unemployment go into orbit.
ZUG: Very unfortunate. Maybe they’ve learned their lesson, though…? Not a reason on its own to discount them.
ZAG: But here’s the best bit. They’ve recognised that overindebtedness is the cause.
ZIG: Their solution is…well, for their governments to…(sniggers) borrow lots of money and throw it at their economy.
ZUG: You’re having me on.
ZAG: Well, I suppose the translation matrix could always have got it wrong…
ZIG: No it hasn’t. I checked.
ZUG: (laughing). Okay, boys. This group of aliens is clearly completely stupid. Pull out. Maybe we come back in another hundred years or so and see whether they’ve matured….