In the late 1700s, Europeans first discovered a largely unpopulated area with a temperate climate (although annoyingly rainy) and rich in resources of lumber, copper, gold, zinc, coal, petroleum, natural gas and fish. Reflecting that forests covered more than half its area, they named the broader area “Treeland” and it’s major city “Racoover.”
In the mid-1800’s, news broke out that there was gold on the banks of the Fraser River and over 25,000 prospectors swarmed in, hungry for instant wealth. Several towns instantly sprang up. To help maintain law and order, the government incorporated the colony of Treeland. But within a few short years, the frenzy of the gold rush fizzled out.
When Racoover officially became a city, it had 1,000 people. The first mayor was Realtor® McLean. One summer day, a brush fire got away and burnt the city to the ground in less than 30 minutes. McLean, knowing the value of real estate, got rebuilding going in a matter of days.
With its rich resources, Treeland was rapidly developing into a great province. The economy was based primarily on forestry, nicknamed “green gold”, and accounted for over one-third of export earnings. Mining and fishing were also major contributors to the GDP. These export earnings were used to build infrastructure using very little debt. New public facilities included the CP railway line, Granville Bridge, electric streetcars and the first skyscraper. The world’s largest indoor ice rink was built for the Racoover Millionaires, the city’s first hockey team. Beaver Place Stadium inflated up and became the world’s largest air-supported bubble.
Treeland had very little debt and banks prudently provided secured, low leverage, tight amortization, fixed-rate loans on sound homes and vehicles to be used by industrious citizens who lived within their means. There was no speculation flipping in highly leveraged investments.
But even a province as sound as Treeland could come to ruin if it failed to address the dangers that can be caused by the ordinary accidents of life. These dangers were significant when Treeland’s forestry industry got hit with multiple problems. First started the rampant forest fires and pine beetle epidemic, spreading over 15 million hectares. Then came rising energy prices and exchange rate with Eagleland, Treeland’s main trading partner. Times suddenly changed and forestry jobs started disappearing fast. Tens of thousands of jobs vaporized and it became hard to keep track of the mill closures.
In Sep 2001, Eagleland suffered a tragic foreign attack. In response, Chairman Greyspan sought to stimulate the economy and ordered banks to give away gambling chips at low interest rates. Treeland quickly followed suit with this plan. As their affluence and leisure time grew, Treeland’s citizens more and more whiled away their time in the excitement of casino gambling. With the low interest rates, low down payments, long amortizations, gambling chips insured through CHMC, and an obscene amount of chips created thanks to fractional reserve banking, the banks flooded the economy with chips and made all gamblers steadily and increasingly rich.
The winnings of the casinos eventually amounted to 40% of Treeland’s GDP, while 10% of the gambling profits were paid to persons employed by the casinos (many of whom were needed elsewhere in more productive jobs). So much time was spent at casinos that it amounted to an average of several hours daily for every citizen of Treeland. To satisfy the gambler’s addiction and to create new gamblers, the HGTV television network was formed. Social gatherings were alive with feverish, eye-popping discussion about how much winnings were made that week in the casinos. Many of the gamblers started placing bets with a new product called presale assignments, similar to the reckless leveraged futures contracts used in Eagleland.
In 2004, Racoover was selected to host the biggest circus in the world. This fuelled the casinos even more. Soon, there were three-day line-ups just to get into the casinos. Some visited three casinos per night while sending their spouses to a different three. Some speculated that even foreigners were participating in Treeland’s roulette wheels. The gamblers all religiously chanted the three tenets of gambling: “Everyone wants to gamble here,” “Casino winnings always go up,” and “Treeland is the best place on earth.”
A few unspoiled souls, the Savers, regarded this situation as disgraceful. After all, they reasoned, it was just common sense for lenders and citizens to avoid gambling addicts. They cried desperately for the madness to end. Their reasoning was echoed by international reports which showed the world how irrational Treeland’s behaviour had become.
Then in late 2008, all of Eagleland’s gamblers suddenly went bankrupt within weeks and caused a viscous downward spiral that permeated around the world. No one could foresee (so the media said) that Eagleland’s economy was a house of cards that eventually bust, severing Treeland’s exports and economic engine. The Savers, who had been patiently waiting for the madness to end, finally got their break. The stats showed a plunge in casino visitors and the Savers celebrated wildly each time another 10 casino halls became empty. But after a few short months of healing, the governments slammed interest rates to the floor. Gambling activity roared back but the resource industry dwindled and unemployment still remained at record highs. The winnings of the casinos eventually accounted for every single penny of real GDP. How was Treeland supposed to adjust to this brutal new reality?
The circus came to Racoover the following year but the circus folk, puzzled by the madness of the locals, did not participate in the casinos as the gamblers had hoped. The exorbitantly priced Circus Village that was built for the circus clowns could not be sold and went into receivership.
Then the Good Father sounded the alarm bells that Treeland’s gambling chips exceeded those in Eagleland, which was now on life support. He strongly urged Treeland’s citizens to stop their casino gambling and began reinstating shorter amortizations and higher interest rates. He knew this change was sure to induce vomiting and hallucinations in the addicts and suggested that citizens cheerfully embrace their fate. And sure enough, the casino owners and employees (“pimps”), who strongly believed in the beneficence of hyper-gambling, were hostile to change. They petitioned to the Good Father to make gambling easier. However, the pimps’ efforts failed and gambling restrictions became tighter.
By 2010, the gamblers stopped making profits no matter how hard they tried cranking the slot machines. Even some players of the Racoover Millionaires (now renamed Canucks) got caught in the casino mess and suffered heavy losses. By 2013, roughly half the gamblers went bankrupt. The remainder were wiped out by 2017. Much counterproductive governmental action was taken, and the land’s credit was reduced to tatters. Treeland is now under new management and has been renamed: Brokeland.
Submitted by: Crashcow
Reference & inspiration: Basically, It’s Over