The Hidden Hand of the Market Gets a Buddy

"The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist -- McDonald's cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keep the world safe for Silicon Valley's technologies is called the United States Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps."

Journalist Thomas Friedman, author of THE LEXUS AND THE OLIVE TREE, in The New York Times Magazine.

Dear Third World Resident,

Good morning from all of us at Hidden Fist! And yes, it is a very good morning on the dawn of the new millennium, what with the smell of jet fuel in the air, and the sound of helicopter gunships in the distance. The Hidden Hand offers western ways to people the world over, while the Hidden Fist hammers the point home with incendiary insistence.

As a resident of the Third World, you can help us better serf you by answering the following questions:

1. How did you first find out about Hidden Fist and its contractors?
__ family member tried to unionize local burger joint.
__ smart bomb hit neighbourhood
__ discovered cache of guns in air drop
__ The Lexus and the Olive Tree

2. Indicate which of the following best describes your current living conditions:
__ corrugated steel shack in shanty town
__ pre-fab hut in free trade zone
__ lean-to in megalopolis outskirts

3. Indicate which of the following is your favourite offshore cultural product:
__ Tom Clancy in translation
__ Knight Rider reruns
__ Burgers fronted by circus clown

4.Indicate which of the following best describes your current area of interest:
__ growing stuff family can't afford for agribiz export
__ assembling running shoes
__ assembling circuit boards
__ assembling papers to get out of Dodge

5. Please indicate which of the following career options you are currently pursuing/avoiding:
__ compliant factory worker
__ local warlord
__ death squad contractor
__ consumer of death squad services

6. Have you or anyone you know recently engaged in labour union activity?
__Yes __No

7. If yes, please supply names and addresses (this information will only be shared with Hidden Fist contractors.)______________________________________________________________

8. To save the village (or hamlet, or neighborhood) that you currently occupy, Hidden Fist or its contractors may have to destroy it. Please indicate your connection to us, and if you would like advance notice.

__ Yes, I am an associate member of the Hidden Fist-backed forces. If an attack is in the works, please airlift my ass outta here first.
__ I am expendable, but would prefer to live anyway, if its not too much trouble.

9. With the absence of a credible global threat from communism, it has become necessary for Hidden Fist to come up with exciting new enemies. If you have any skills in the areas of info- or bio- terrorism, we are quite interested in either eliminating you or employing you. Check one or more of the following:

__ I have computer access and advanced hacker knowledge. Tell me more about the exciting positions in transnational destabilization.

__ I have a petri dish of anthrax in the freezer, ready for the maw of the Great Satan. Co-opt me with a cushy position in covert biological research.

__ I know diddly about either, but my property is over an oil deposit. Sign me up for the Hidden Fistollgarchy program.

10.Would you like to remain on our maiming list?

__ Yes

__ No

Geoff Olson