From Overheard in the Office:
Rep: The King of Nepal has declared martial law and has cut off all
communication, so I cannot check the status of that rug order…
As a rule, if the major economic impact on the rest of the world of a country’s total collapse is a delay in carpet shipments, nobody is going to care very much that the country is collapsing. A tiny hiccup in oil delivery can shake the world, and big industrial players and consumer markets are important too. But poor little Nepal isn’t even a terribly major carpet producer. Its main product is itself, in the form of tourism, but political instability has a way of killing tourism. So now Nepal’s major product is, I guess, nothing. (And no, you can’t build an export economy out of tiger balm, wooden chess boards and tiny violins.) Which means that no one beyond Nepal is going to do much about its current crisis — unless, of course, Nepal threatens the economies of larger, more developed nations (cf. Afghanistan, an economic basket case if ever there was one, but a basket case that managed to close the New York Stock Exchange). If you’re hunting for international intervention and aid, exporting terrorism is evidently more effective than exporting nothing.
Let’s just hope dirt-poor sub-Saharan Africans and Latin Americans don’t figure this out, or we’re in for exceedingly nasty weather.
Also published on Medium.