Thursday, January 3, 2008

Oh my: 50,000,000 USD spent on NYE!!!!

The latest shock wave ripping through Lebanon is the obscene amount of money that was spend during New Year's Eve: 50,000,000 USD. That's 50 Million USD, folks...and in Lebanese pounds, the amount is even higher!!! Feel free to add more exclamation marks and other comments, preferably about waisting money in this time of need, etc. etc. etc.

Just for fun, let's take a closer look at this amount. First, to filter out what was spent exactly on the occasion of New Year's Eve, we would have to determine what is usually spend on any given day in this country. Let's assume the average Lebanese spends 10 USD a day on food. With some 4.5 million Lebanese + visitors, that would already amount to 45 Million USD.

If my assumption is correct (admittedly, it truly is a wild guess), this means that the Lebanese have spent not 50, but 5 Million USD extra on partying.

Let's further assume that out of the 4.5 Million people, one third of those did not do anything special for New Year's Eve because they're babies, elderly, sick and what have you. This leaves us with 3 Million party goers. In turn, that would mean that the remaining party animals have spent a cool1.67 USD per person! that's a boringly low amount!'s much more fun to panic:

75,000,000,000 Lebanese Pound spend on New Year's Eve!!!


Anonymous said...

hilarious! happy new year to you and keep on blogging!

Jeha said...

Happy Hew Year!

Even if real money was splurged this year, isn't this what a tourist economy is all about?

Vleeptron Dude said...

Hi Riemer! Dank u wel for your comment on my VleeptronZ blog -- I'm pasting my reply here so you'll be sure to get it!

2 notes on this post ...

First, the USD is at a spectacular all-time low in value compared to the world's other big currencies. So this frivolous expenditure is not as horribly huge as it seems.

For the first time in memory, European shopper-tourists are invading the USA to hose up our bargains because the Euro is so strong compared to the USD. While US tourists can't afford to travel abroad. Our own travel budget can't handle our modest annual trip across the border to Canada.

Second -- and I'm willing to be screamed at for my feelings here -- but I think the reaction to this story is a little over-Puritanical and a little over-Calvinist in outlook.

Assuming that Lebanon can and will reach a near future of Better Times, the exact scenario by which it will travel from Hard Times to Good Times -- well, it will be unpredictable, it will be spontaneous, and it will not depend on Wise Leaders and the Wisdom of Responsible NGOs setting Appropriate Priorities.

Individual people will make their individual choices about how first to take the Baby Steps toward better times. And some of those Baby Steps may seem frivolous and silly and even irresponsible to others.

But I've been to Prague twice -- during the miserable times of the Socialist Heroes, and then again in 2003.

In the old days, you could not pay a Prague citizen to smile.

Today Prague is ... well ... silly and frivolous and naughty. The most explosive new industry is providing studios and professionals to make crappy Hollywood-style movies ("Alien v. Predator," "XXX," "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," many others.) There's also an explosion of marionette puppet operas, like the Mozartspielfest in Salzburg. And an explosion of prostitution and an explosion in delicious pan-Euro and Asian restaurants.

And the people who live there are sooooooooo happy! They are finally free to Make Their Own Mistakes. And they're making them. They're celebrating -- which under the ancien regime was scrupulously forbidden.

I might dare to venture that what LB does NOT need right now is an infusion of wise, sensible, responsible Calvinists who know what's good and what's bad for everybody.


my reply to your Comment:

Hey Riemer --

Not a small correction in the least -- a big correction, and Agence-Vleeptron Presse greatly appreciates it! What, spefically, are the buildings in the photo?

Your reward: A-VP herewith appoints you our Man-On-The-Ground in Beirut and Lebanon! We pay our correspondents generously in pizza, if you ever come here (Northampton Massachusetts USA) or when I get there.

And I WILL get there. So scout out your fave pizzeria.

Okay, Man-On-The-Ground ...

How's things in Beirut right now?

What's the current relationship between the LB government and Syria? What up with Hizbullah?

Well ... look ... you make up your own questions, and then answer them. But we're just THRILLED to get some skinny from somebody who's really there!

I'd particulaly love to know how the wonderful and fabled nightlife of Beirut is doing this season -- rebounding, or ailing?

Meanwhile, here's wishing you and all your family and neighbors Peace/Paix/Salam/Shalom and a very excellent 2008! Thanks for the correction!