You Better Not Cry
CHILDREN WORLDWIDE WEPT on Christmas Eve after a North Pole press release earlier that day confirmed that Santa Claus would not be delivering presents. His visits may, in fact, be postponed for three to five years after the November 4 passage of the FTANP (Free Trade Area of the North Pole) structural adjustment program, which promises to usher the isolated polar north into the global economy.
The undisclosed terms of agreement were negotiated between the Clauses and, among others, respected luncheon speaker Cee Chrissy, who assured the public that FTANP “guarantees unrestricted access for goods and secures transparency for investors.”
Transnational companies are seizing the opportunity. Athletic wear manufacturer Mikee is relocating factories from Indonesia to the North Pole, aiming to placate disruptive anti-sweatshop groups who protest Mikee’s “complicity” with a “brutal regime.”
“Elves are fantastic shoemakers,” said Mikee spokesman Lei Bercamp, who went on to praise their “nimble little hands.”
The North Pole lacks a treasury, so the elves are compensated with a monthly pair of new sneakers, an unheard of privilege in the backward polar north. Each pair showcases a unique color-blemish, symbolizing Mikee’s commitment to creative spontaneity and worker diversity.
“When a monetary system is introduced, we’ll adjust compensation to align with the region,” Bercamp continued. “But the elves may prefer their current plan. Few work forces provide a steady supply of clean, comfortable sneakers. Countless children globally succumb to diseases from parasitic worms in the feet. But not our workers.”
Critics argue that the increased military presence in the North Pole since FTANP’s passage is turning the once-peaceful region into a police state. But former Abu Ghraib interrogator and FTANP security adviser Tor Churrules disagrees:
“The security force’s primary mission is to ensure regional stability and prevent unruly elements from disrupting the modernization process. These men are trained on American soil in counterinsurgency tactics at the Polar Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly School of the Poles) in Fort Sleigh, Georgia. The instruction includes a four-hour human rights and religion course on prayer for the salvation of victims’ souls before summary executions.”
Some union workers oppose FTANP, citing the looming threat of production relocation to the North Pole. But thrifty corporate leaders take a sunnier view. “After shifting our factories from Mexico—with its steep minimum wage rates of $3.40/day—to Guatemala and Haiti, it was believed this was the end of the line for us,” said one corporate spokesman preferring anonymity. “But now we can relocate north. This is a great victory for free trade and democracy.”
Rich in unique marine plants, the North Pole has attracted ambitious bioprospectors. Monstrousanto leads this modern-day gold rush for vegetative applications in food and medicine. Bioprospecting benefits the public by globalizing the valuable flora once restricted to the privileged few of the locale. While most elves support sharing with those in need, some malcontents allege bio-prospectors are “stealing indigenous knowledge” for personal gain.
Rob Dairland, Monstrousanto’s manager of patent rights, questions such elven stewardship claims over the North Pole, citing the “Native American ethic of sharing the land.” He did note, however, that there was also “a definitive point at which the commons can be transformed into a private good by applying willful creative design and technological innovation.”
Another accusation leveled against Monstrousanto is that it unfairly demands ‘protectionism’ for public goods. “This is absurd!” Dairland retorted. “If you write a novel, do I have the right to put my name on it? Of course not. The same rules apply to plant extracts. These plants can help sick people. We believe in hope.”
With temperatures often plummeting to 50 below zero, farming in the polar north has always been challenging. To address this, a $500 million food aid package spearheaded by FTANP humanitarian coordinator Aikaire Furyoo now ensures a stable food supply to the far northerners. Meatpacking giant Urchin Daniels Hindland has stepped in to supply the deprived elves with sustenance crops like soy and corn. The initiative has earned Furyoo the newly created UDH Ending World Hunger Award.
A few elves, the vocal minority, criticize the new food aid effort, contending that it undermines traditional cold-climate farming practices that have nourished elves for millennia. They argue that subsidized crop imports are “unfair” and “coercive,” leading to the loss of elf farmers’ land to Urchin Daniels Hindland, which converts it into reindeer farms and processing plants.
But Aikare Furyoo sees recent land acquisitions as a boon to polar peoples. “These companies not only provide the North Pole with a dependable caloric supply but also build an infrastructure for tribes to exploit their resources. Reindeer meat has exploded as the premiere gourmet meat on the world market and will bring needed revenue and even tourism to this wretched region. Objections to these efforts are, frankly, astonishing.”
Ignoring the benefits, the usual critics descry that the subsidized food imports will lead to dangerous “food-dependency” and poverty for former farmers, compelling them to relocate to urban centers for factory labor.
Furyoo can only sigh at such alarmism. “These elves fail to grasp that the purchasing power from their new jobs will make once unimaginable luxury items accessible. This will civilize their tribal lifestyle which, in turn, will reveal to them the barbarism of their former living standards. Unfortunately, angry elves don’t listen to reason. Of course, they’re different from us, and we should bear that in mind.”
With polar reindeer steaks debuting on supermarket shelves, American taxpayers are already reaping the benefits of their investment in the FTANP food aid program. At upwards of $17.99/lb., North Pole reindeer may not be easy on the wallet, but a study by The Right Questions Inc. revealed that 87% of 1000 consumers nationwide found it “sweeter than beef” and a whopping 93% were “glad it is available.” As part of its Waste Nothing – Save the Planet initiative, Urchin Daniels Hindland offers a free set of mounted reindeer antlers with every non-commercial bulk order of 100 pounds or more.
Environmental activists have voiced concern about declining reindeer populations, but Urchin Daniels Hindland reps assure them that breeding camps have been established near the slaughterhouses to maintain an uninterrupted flow of meat product.
Last week, fringe watchdog activist groups alleged a correlation between genetically modified grain from feed supplier Carkill and growths on reindeer intestines. Furyoo dismissed these claims as “desperate attempts by conspiracy theorists to boost their self-image by crying wolf about imaginary dangers.”
A recent Carkill scientific study found “no verifiable connections between GM crops and growths on the North Pole reindeer intestines,” concluding the growths are likely “a harmless cellular reaction to shipping stress.” An Urchin Daniels Hindland study supported these results.
Despite its infancy in the international economy, the North Pole has already encountered legal controversy due to an investor-to-state provision allowing companies to sue states for FTANP violations. Upon opening a car manufacturing facility earlier this month, ChrystBrrr Corporation sued the nascent polar state for imposing unacceptable emission standards.
“These purported environmental constraints are in flagrant violation of a free market,” said ChrystBrrr prosecuting attorney Sue Yurasoff. “Who does the government think it is, anyway? I thought we had advanced beyond the oppressive antiquarianism of divine right of kings.”
Through the streamlined North Pole government structure—a newly formed governing coalition solely consisting of the Clauses—an agreement satisfying both parties was promptly reached. ChrystBrrr withdrew its $600 million lawsuit in exchange for removing emission standards and committing to henceforth promote Christmas as Chrystmas, with exclusive patent rights belonging to ChrystBrrr.
As a goodwill gesture, ChrystBrrr custom-built a fuel-injected, self-driving sleigh for Claus, featuring heated ergonomic seats, a retractable bulletproof glass rooftop, and a reindeer-leather interior. Economists and business leaders hailed the agreement as “another win-win of privatization” and “a bold step forward in liberalizing services.”
Shortly after the settlement of ChrystBrrr Corporation vs. North Pole, Claus addressed a press conference: “The sky here is big enough for both Santa and ChrystBrrr,” he proclaimed, extending his arms. “Also, ‘Chrystmas’ best captures the spirit of our times. If a day of piety is no longer treated with due reverence, we should end the desecration by removing religious connotation. Let us not use the Lord’s name in vain.”
Claus’s remarks carried extra gravitas thanks to his new mature look. Clean-shaven and donning a fitted three-piece suit, the new Santa exuded professionalism and respectability. Despite the change, Claus remains dedicated to the Chrystmas spirit: a crimson silk napkin hangs from his breast pocket next to a red-and-white ChrystBrrr sleigh tiepin.
Thanks to a Gorge-and-be-Gorgeous sponsorship, Santa has also shed inches around the belly. Nine out of ten sponsored doctors claim the weight loss pills work regardless of one’s caloric intake. These berry-flavored gifts will be mailed in shame-free envelopes to any children who, like the former Santa, could stand to lose a few pounds.
Sporting a velvet gown and some designer, ruby-encrusted, red-soled heels, Mrs. Claus also turned heads at the opening cocktail reception in the FTANP conference dome. “An exclusive emphasis on private gain only increases prosperity,” she noted, while sampling imported Easter Bunny. “Of course, not everyone benefits, but in all systems, there are winners and losers. As optimists, we focus on the winners.”
Standing at her side, Mr. Claus concurred. “To quote the great philosopher Voltaire,” he said, pausing briefly to pluck from a circulating appetizer platter the last three bites of turtle dove and partridge with a pear sprig, “this is the best of all possible worlds.”
Whether or not FTANP proves the gift that keeps on giving remains to be seen. But what is certain is that FTANP is here to stay forever … or, at least, as long as the brotherly Chrystmas spirit is upon us.
Mythery loves company, so sign up for the gift that keeps on giving!