Let them eat Yuan instead (Qu’ils mangent de la Yuan)

Let them eat Yuan instead (Qu’ils mangent de la Yuan)


BBC, Reuters and other news agencies reported on June 11 that 400,000 Yuan stored in a wooden drawer in a woman’s house in Guangdong, China were eaten by termites. The report also claimed that the termites found the Yuan very tasty.


Now this is not good news, especially if you are that woman or if you have stored your money in wooden drawers. The first reaction from seasoned journalists was that these were not termites; they were financial policy-makers because they habitually eat into the savings of old men and women.


However, unnamed, yet reliable, sources tell The Absurdist that this was a phase one clinical trial experiment with termites and yuan. The sources are absurdly certain that the experiment was conducted by well-meaning, reputed scientists who prefer to remain un-named. The experiment was stimulated by the urgent need to find a solution to the global hunger problem.


According to a UNAIDS report in 2010, hunger is number one on the list of the world’s top 10 health risks. Hunger killed more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. The World Food Program stated that 66 million primary school-age children attended classes hungry across the developing world.


At the time that this team of scientists were grappling with the hunger problem in an un-named country in the world, one of them took an issue of ‘The Economist’  to the toilet; and experienced one of those Eureka moments. “It was like some big thing just popped out and dropped onto my lap,” said the unnamed scientist.


The Economist article was about the increasing gap in wealth and income between the rich and the poor across the world; and pointed to the Mathew Effect: the rich were getting richer, hoarding excess wealth, and the poor were getting poorer.  “What I essentially read was that while some rich people were accumulating a lot of money (paper currency) there were many others who did not have food to eat,” said the scientist.


The scientist then rushed to the library and found a recent UNICEF paper which reported that in our world the richest population quintile has 83% of global income with just 1% for those in the poorest quintile; and estimated that it would take more than 800 years for the bottom billion to achieve 10% of global income under the current rate of change. “I thought if I can take this excess money that some people have and feed it to the poor, it might be the most sustainable invention for addressing world hunger,” said the excited scientist.


The scientific team was also excited about the possibility of this unique innovation. They decided that one resource that was available globally and in abundance was the excess currency in rich people’s homes; and the best part is that if the world ran out of it, then more paper currency could always be printed as easily. The team then mentally and socially framed “inequality” in a different way. The team leader said: “We essentially looked at inequality as a resource. After all, it is everywhere. It is not only global; it is omnipresent and omnipotent.”


The team had to conduct a phase one clinical trial to test the biological possibility of eating paper money, and thus was born the experiment in Guangdong with termites.


With the success of phase one, the experiment will be replicated in the two largest democracies in the world – India and USA where some elected (democratically of course) leaders  tend to pile wads of cash while others go hungry.


Scientists have decided to apply to Bill Gates for funding and have asked Bono to serve as a subject for phase two of the trial – to demonstrate that money can indeed serve as a viable food source. Scientists are praying that the “bitcoin” does not become popular all of a sudden among the rich and famous and lead them to give up paper currency altogether.


The Association of Corrupt Indian Politicians have reassured the rich and famous in their collective statement that they will spare no efforts in adulterating any new currency bring printed in Indian mints. So people who eat money will always remain under-nourished in India.


Australian Master-Chef has agreed to run a special TV series in which three out-of-work chefs will anoint the new, seasonal master-chef by making all others eat humble-pie; rather – humble-yuan.


If the poor do not have bread or rice, they can always eat yuan (and very soon, their local currency).


And because that’s where most Chinese things end up anyway, China has started tinkering with the Yuan to make it more digestible for Americans.





NTD TV Network 11 June 2013 – Banknotes Worth 65,240 Dollars Destroyed by Termites in China. News Video. http://ntdtv.org/en/news/world/asia/2013-06-11/banknotes-worth-65-240-dollars-destroyed-by-termites-in-china.html


FAO (2012). The State of Food Insecurity in the World. Retrieved from: http://www.fao.org/infographics/pdf/FAO-infographic-SOFI-2012-en.pdf

World Food Programme (2012). Two minutes to learn about: School Meals.


UNAIDS (2010). Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic. Retrieved from: http://www.unaids.org/globalreport/Global_report.htm

The Economist (June 2013a). Towards the end of poverty. Retrieved from: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21578665-nearly-1-billion-people-have-been-taken-out-extreme-poverty-20-years-world-should-aim

The Economist (June 2013b). Aid agencies of the future: Poverty, geography and the double dilemma. Retrieved from: http://www.economist.com/blogs/feastandfamine/2013/06/aid-agencies-future

Isabel Ortiz and Matthew Cummins (2011) GLOBAL INEQUALITY: BEYOND THE BOTTOM BILLION -A Rapid Review of Income Distribution in 141 Countries. UNICEF. Retrieved from: http://www.unicef.org/socialpolicy/files/Global_Inequality.pdf


Open Access Article to be cited as follows:

© The Absurdist. Let them eat yuan instead. July 2013.  http://www.the-essayist.org/2013/07/eat-yuan/


This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are properly cited. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/


Footnote: According to a branch of the People’s Bank of China in Guangdong Province, some of the notes were salvaged and the woman’s loss may be around 60,000 Yuan.

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