By Marleen S. Barr.
The spaceship emblazoned with a huge dollar sign landed in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. A tall, female extraterrestrial wearing a gold jumpsuit emerged from the hatch. “Take me to your leader,” she said to the security guard.
The guard, seeing that the innocuous looking alien thought it important to plaster a dollar sign billboard on her spaceship, remained calm. “Ma’am you seem to be lost. Spaceships are supposed to land on the White House lawn. There are no lawns here on Liberty Street. This is the Federal Reserve Bank building. Ya gotta fly down to Washington.”
“There is no error. Take me to the Federal Reserve leader.” Janet Yellen walked out and extended her hand to the alien.
“Hello, Dr. Yellen. I send greetings from the planet Feduciaria, a feminist world located in a galaxy far far away. Feduciarians control the monetary undertakings of the Intelligent Planets Federation. The Federation has determined that Earthlings are now mature enough to join us and conduct their monetary business in an egalitarian manner. We chose to make first contact with the United States of America.”
“Why?” Yellen asked the Feduciarian emissary.
“Because the Fed has placed a female at its helm. Dr. Yellen, you can make it possible for Earth, following the American test case scenario, to become a financial feminist utopia.”
“This matter is much more complex than deciding whether or not to raise interest rates. What does this monetary paradigm shift entail?”
“Most importantly, you must jettison capitalism and establish a humane financial system. You can certainly see the inequities resulting from exorbitant excess occurring alongside privation.”
“How can Americans institute this new equitable system?”
“Yes, plastic. All Earthlings will eventually have a digital payment chip implanted in their right index finger. When we ensconce the new financial system within the United States, the entire net worth of the country will be equally divided among every person living here. Everyone will be given the same amount of money to spend over an eighty-five year period. The money derived from early deaths will fund longevity. All people will be free to plan their spending habits according to their individual needs. For example, the allotted funds could be used for a college education. Or childless people could purchase designer clothing or gourmet food. Digital payment chips will immediately eradicate social class and poverty.”
“This digital payment system is fantastic,” commented Yellen.
“Yes, think of the benefits. A cancer cure discoverer who did not have enough money to attend college can now achieve her full potential. The universal digital payment system will allow everyone to follow their professional inclinations for the benefit of all humankind.”
“Who will perform the dangerous and unpleasant jobs?”
“Robots. Are Americans open to welcoming the pervasive presence of household and industrial robot workers?”
“Interest rate regulation is my purview. Excuse me while I call the President.”
Yellen used her cellphone to call the White House. The President immediately assented to digital payment.
“I have received a Presidential go ahead signal.”
Enormous cargo spaceships delivered robots to every American home and workplace. Extraterrestrial medical personnel used lightning speed to implant digital payment chips within the index fingers of the American population. Economic disparity was immediately eradicated. All Americans, due to the new economic system which emerged from Liberty Street, became free to manage their leisure time and professional lives as they saw fit. There were enough doctors, exercise coaches, and artisanal food producers to benefit the entire population. Capitalism became a thing of the past considered to be as appalling as slavery. All countries quickly embraced the American digital payment system.
“Plastic” was the watchword which enabled Earth to graduate from inhumane financial systems and embrace the brave new digital payment world as full-fledged members of the Intelligent Planet Federation’s feminist economic utopia.
Yellen decided to use her monetary allotment to vacation on Feduciaria. It was a tropical paradise planet inhabited by brilliant female economists of her own ilk. Since Feduciaria was so pleasant and so financially logical, Yellen asked the Fulbright Program to establish grants to enable female economics scholars to teach in Feduciarian universities. After a few years of frenzied spaceship travel between Feduciaria and Earth, enough scholars had mastered the extraterrestrial monetary system to the extent that one could be ensconced within every major university’s economics department. These scholars mandated that the old inequitable economic system would be defined as an anathema.
Thirty years after when the financial system on Earth changed, a young woman who lived in the Bronx, a borough which was now as desirable as Manhattan’s Park Avenue, received a thick letter handed to her by her in-house robot. She decided to use her financial equity apportionment to apply to Harvard. Her joy could not be contained when she discerned that the letter stipulated her acceptance. She had enough money to pay for her undergraduate education at Harvard as well as medical school at Columbia. This woman, who would have become a maid under the old economic system, eventually was appointed head of the breast cancer department at New York University Medical Center. She found a cure.
Yellen, who was the Democratic candidate for President, was impressed to the extent that she asked the woman to be her running mate. The electorate, who recognized the value of the changed economic system and appreciated that, due to the change, a pernicious cancer had been eradicated, afforded the ticket a landslide victory.
President Yellen appointed a Feduciarian to become Secretary of the Treasury. Having a woman President appoint an extraterrestrial to the Cabinet signaled a huge openness to gender equity and multicultural inclusion. The Intelligent Planets Federation, taking note of this new Earthling economic and social maturity, treated Earth with increasing respect.
Soon Earth became a major Federation player. The more technologically advanced planets shared all of their knowledge with humans—completely free of charge.
MARLEEN S. BARR is known for her pioneering work in feminist science fiction and teaches English at the City University of New York. She has won the Science Fiction Research Association Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction criticism. Barr is the author of Alien to Femininity: Speculative Fiction and Feminist Theory, Lost in Space: Probing Feminist Science Fiction and Beyond, Feminist Fabulation: Space/Postmodern Fiction, and Genre Fission: A New Discourse Practice for Cultural Studies. Barr has edited many anthologies and co-edited the science fiction issue of PMLA. She is the author of the novels Oy Pioneer! and Oy Feminist Planets: A Fake Memoir.