Disclaimer: “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.” — Albert Einstein
As Havelock Vetinari once said, if you’re gonna have crime, you might as well have organized crime. With all the black money getting hoarded in numbered Swiss bank accounts and holding companies in Mauritius and God alone knows where else, maybe we ought to simply acknowledge this parallel economy and be done with it.
Aside: What’s with the term “numbered Swiss bank account” anyway? I’ve seen it in a bunch of places and it’s always puzzled me. All my bank accounts, none of them Swiss, none of them groaning under the weight of ill-gotten gains, are numbered. What’s so special about numbered Swiss bank accounts? And what is more, it gets mentioned only in connection with large sums of money. How does it work for some Herr Gottlieb flipping burgers at the McDonalds in Zurich? Does he have a named bank account? Does it get named after him, or do they just pick out a name at random? Is there a minimum balance restriction to get numbers?
Now, back to the business of organized black money. What if we allowed people to quote their assets as complex numbers? You know, in the form: x + iy. x, the real part, could represent the white money, while y, the imaginary part (for legal purposes anyway), could represent the black money.
Once the system takes hold, politicians could use the complex number system to talk about the number of votes they received in an election. Accountants (of the Enron and Satyam alumni variety) could build entire annual reports in the complex number system. Swiss banks don’t have to worry: they could just quote the imaginary part for numbered accounts and the real part for named accounts.
One problem with the whole thing is perception: when someone says that the real part of his net worth is 50 lakhs and the imaginary part is 2000 crores, it sounds so disproportionate that it causes people to get all outraged and wonder what brand of dog food the country might prefer. Therefore, I propose that we introduce a new currency unit called black rupee, defined as being equal to 1 mole of normal rupees. (1 mole = 6.023 * 10^23, in case your experience of high school Chemistry was limited to gazing at that cute girl/guy on the bench across from you in class.)
Now, all that remains is for us to understand how the real and imaginary parts interact and change from one to the other. Hopefully, one of the wonderful people involved with IPL will have some time during the post-season lull to pull out their complex analysis textbook and give me a tutorial. Watch this space for further mathematical revelations.