Whenever you look at the new offices within the WTO building, don’t you also always have the feeling that any moment, imperial stormtroopers in white plastic uniforms with laser blasters will be running around the corner? Grey carpets, unnatural lighting – the only thing missing are the slightly curved walls of Star Wars spaceships. Also, most people would find the association between the WTO and Darth Vader’s Death Star perfectly plausible. So, intuitively your hand grabs for a lightsaber, but all it gets to clutch is the useless plastic WTO badge in your pocket – evidence that you happily joined forces with the dark side, in case you had forgotten. There is hope for you though – all you have to do is kiss a wookie (min. 0.43):
(This is space-ships, it’s monsters, it’s Star Wars – We love it!)
However, I then realized that the WTO does not take place a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – instead, it actually is much closer to the year 2364. I also remembered that the captain of the WTO was very bald, very French, very diplomatic and most certainly very keen on boldly going, where no man has gone before. And then everything became clear to me: Pascal Lamy has shaped his entire post-40-career in order to become just like his secret hero – Jean-Luc-Picard, the captain of the starship Enterprise in “Star Trek – The Next Generation”!
The following video not only shows the striking similarity between Jean-Luc and Pascal, but it also explains the interior design of the WTO. Note the carpet-colors of the main bridge of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D: the centre-piece is red, whereas the surrounding carpet is grey – similarly, the carpets in the central part of the WTO are red, whereas all the new offices branching off from the centre are grey. Since a man like Lamy couldn’t possibly be happy with merely imitating his idol Picard, of course the whole WTO is way larger than the main bridge of the Enterprise. (Male competitiveness appears to be a universal constant across time and space).
More interestingly though, the following video reveals for the first time ever, what the Director General of the WTO does, when everybody else has left the building. I totally can picture Pascal Lamy singing and dancing through all the office corridors, in an endless quest to perfect that hat-and-stick choreography of Jean-Luc Picard:
So, there’s A New Hope for you: As soon as Pascal Lamy has mastered his rendition of the Alphabet Love Song, get ready for the introduction of the new WTO work attire: slim-fitting night-suits à la Star Trek, with the WTO logo proudly affixed to the chest (en lieu of the Starfleet symbol) – there could be no better publicity for the WTO. Instead of trying to convince the public of the benefits of the world trading system via abstract trade theory that never seems to quite match up with their subjective impressions, the new WTO-Star Trek uniforms will ensure that people start thinking that at the WTO, Scotty is beaming them up somewhere. And with the support of the irrefutable logic of Mr. Spock (who, without doubt, finds world trade “fascinating”), they will believe that all is well.
Unfortunately, the surge in positive publicity will only last until some NGO uncovers the appalling work conditions prevalent in the sweatshops that produce the new futuristic-looking WTO uniforms, which turn out to be made of environmentally harmful chemically treated polyester materials. But thanks to defragmented global production chains (made possible by world trade), it will take quite some time for the low-budget NGO to investigate all the globally dispersed production sites, so that you will be able to enjoy the unknown sensation of positive celebrity-like media coverage for a duration that will seem to be lasting for lightyears.
May the Force be with you this week!
Live long and prosper,
PS: Perhaps you were missing some science-fiction worthy special sound effects in the two a-capella-youtube links this week. To fulfill your expectations, here is an instrumentally accompanied arrangement for several voices featuring Perry Como and The Fontane Sisters with their 1949 rendition of “A” You're Adorable (The Alphabet Song), which originally popularized the tune: