Gérard Tigerdieu: Great to have you here. I know a lot of readers have been looking forward to this interview. Helge wants his blog back, of course, so he will be especially happy.
Sharkozy: Great to talk to you, mon ami. It really took us ages to meet. But I needed some time off to debate important stuff.
GT: I am very curious. But before we dig into your plans for the future, do you mind telling our readers a little bit about your background, your biography?
S: Bien sur. Well, as you can see, I am a quite a small shark. Not all sharks are White Sharks, you know, Jaws-style. Some of us are smaller, more nimble, and far more intelligent I should add.
GT: A-ha. So, what genus are you exactly?
S: I am a River Shark from the Ganges. But that is just biology! We need to talk psychology and sociology, mon ami! I think your next question therefore should be, “what moment in your life most defined your thinking?”
GT: Um, exactly. You take the words right out of my mouth.
S: Écoute, mon ami. When I was very, very young, I was separated from my school, my family, in a storm. I drifted for months, and almost starved to death – from India to Africa on the Global Ocean Conveyor – I ended up in the Diamantine Trench close to Australia.
GT: An amazing distance.
S: It was less about distance than about depth, mon ami. Because you will find the Diamantina Deep down there, which is more than 8 km deep. Some wicked circulation carried me to the bottom. I still do not know how I survived it, because we are not built to live under such pressure. It must be because I have no bones, I suppose. But I digress into the realm of biology again.
GT: Fascinating nevertheless!
S: In the Diamantina Deep I met them. Huge, fat, lazy creatures of the Deep Sea. They live in a world of abundance. All the plankton, all the carcasses, all fish finally end up down there. They just have to sit there and wait. But if you talked to them, you got the impression they were carrying the weight of the world, like Atlas. They completely tuned out the struggles of marine life above. Nowadays, you would call them the 1% of Oceanic Life.
GT: I had no clue such a submarine ruling class existed.
S: They did not want me to leave, fearing that I might blow up their cover. But I managed to escape, nimble and smart fish that I am. I had found my life’s topic: la rédistribution, mon ami. And somehow, in the ballast water of a tanker, I ended up in Europe, and finally in Paris. There I quickly went to work and became the foremost criminal mastermind of Paris, adopting this ambitious name.
GT: And in Paris our paths crossed.
S: Yes. You were conning British tourists in the Louvre. It was very easy for you to detract them, given your stunning looks and your beautiful fur. When I saw you that moment, I knew we would be a pickpocket dream team.
GT: And we were!
S: Yes! We teamed up, we robbed tourists, we sold their useless crap, their watches, their cameras, their Gucci loafers – and spent or should I say: redistributed the cash – via restaurants.
GT, looking at his pot belly: Oui.
S: „What is it with the restaurants„, you might ask. It makes a difference if your stolen money buys a Porsche or if you spend it in a restaurant. When I buy a 911, the money will go to stock owners and to wealthy Swabian car workers, who will put it into savings accounts, where it sits idly and does nothing for the common good. Whereas the money spent in a restaurant will be re-spent immediately, by underpaid servers, waiters, kitchen staff. It goes to farmers, fishers, cleaning ladies. La vitesse du circulation, mon ami, that is my ultimate goal. The 11th commandment is to move that money.
GT: Some regard this philosophy, I quote, as “self-serving bullshit” or “papier mâché or economical hallucination” They say theft is theft, no matter if you spend the money on whores, cars or sushi.
S: They need to get their economics thinking right. They need to read their Piketty. We are really modern Robin Hoods, minus the tights but with fins and paws (laughs). It is not Mr Draghi who is fending off deflation, it is us!
GT: I do of course believe you. But the one thing that has bothered your disciples a lot lately is this question: what impact do we really have with our small Parisian operation?
S: Exactly, my friend. They are right to worry about that. That’s why I was travelling a lot the last months, meeting with other likeminded souls all over the world.
GT: Can you tell us what you are planning to do?
S: We need scale. We need disruptive innovation. If I double the number of thiefs in our team, I will double the amount of stuff stolen and of cash circulating, but I will also double my trouble, and still not make a big difference in the end. So we need a digital strategy. Our old ways of doing business no longer cut it, mon ami.
GT: I think I am little lost right now. You mean your big plan is to hack credit card accounts?
S: Gérard, you are insulting my intelligence. Forget the small fry! I want to be the high priest of digital micro theft and rédistribution automatique. What I want is to be the unnoticed monthly 20 cents charge on billions of credit cards. Have you heard about the hacking of the Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox in Japan? That was us. It was a pilot project, so to speak. We stole millions of Bitcoins with basically zero effort, eating croissants and drinking lattes while the money was transferred directly to poor peoples’ bank accounts all over the world.
S: Just a finger exercise for my new Romanian friends. The next step will be much bigger. We will use the SSL exploit in online banking and to automatically transfer money from rich bank accounts to poor peoples’ accounts. They will spend the money immediately, as you know, on food, transport, cigarettes and the occasional Xbox. 11th commandment, thy will be done. Amen! We will have coded the first global wealth tax, ever.
GT: But… as amazing as that sounds… where does that leave your traditional pickpocket operation, and your friends, including me?
S: There will always be a restaurant reservation for you, old friend.
This concludes the „Animal Stories“, a series of hand puppet related stories, on Helge’s blog. Posting about extremely serious, important topics of social relevance will soon recommence. Thanks for your patience. Signed: Kwan, Gérard, Sharkozy.