The engineer stared at his computer screen. The results of his experiment looked promising.
He had laboured for four years, long arduous hours with no room for rest or a personal life. He and others like him had been organized into groups. Each group was tasked with bringing forth an invention that would help their “Benevolent Leader” achieve world domination.
The engineer had reservations about what he was building. They were bordering on the edge of morality. But no questions were allowed to be asked.
He explained his findings to his group supervisor, who was astounded. “Yes!”, exclaimed the supervisor, “This would do it!”. It was a complicated invention, but with just the right kind of environment and a bit of luck, it would make their leader supreme.
The engineer didn’t share his supervisor’s joy, and decided to speak up. “This is a potent thing”, he said, “If used without safeguards, it could destroy the world.”
“Well, my boy”, said the supervisor, “We’ll let the people upstairs worry about that.”
The engineer sighed and returned to his desk.
“Hold on!” said the supervisor, “What do you want to call this thing?”
Jonathan – PhD and financial engineering whiz of The Bank’s derivatives group – thought for a moment. “How about Credit Default Swap?”
Author’s note: At financial centers around the world, investment banks are busy inventing complicated financial instruments. The Credit Default Swap was one such invention and in the 2008 financial crisis it brought the world to its knees. It was indeed a Weapon of Mass Destruction.
The top picture is of a war-era North Vietnamese bunker “D67” in Hanoi (December 2017, Apple iPhone SE). The bottom picture is a view of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak (December 2010, Sony Ericsson Vivaz U5i).