Indiana Jones and the Straightforward Currency Exchange
Like any successful currency broker or big bank, Satipo has claimed to offer a range of services and level of expertise that would otherwise be unavailable to his client. But Indy will soon learn this is a façade.
As the duo negotiate the temple’s ancient corridors – wending their way towards the Golden Idol – it is Indy’s innate sense of self-preservation that saves them from torrents of plate-sized tarantulas, spears launching out of walls and a skeleton giving them the stink-eye.
Finally coming face-to-face with the idol, Satipo’s eyes widen with greed and he becomes impatient. “Let us hurry!” he tells Indy. “There is nothing to fear here!” But Indy is wisely circumspect, refusing to be rushed into a transaction he knows full well could contain many dangers. He begins to realise that Satipo is driven by greed and may not have his client’s best interests at heart. Perhaps Indy has even begun to suspect that Satipo could be planning to lead him directly into misfortune for personal gain.
“Indy begins to realise that Satipo is driven by greed and may not have his client’s best interests at heart.”
At the altar, Indy prepares himself for the exchange. Everything seems perfectly aligned, and he carefully switches his bag of sand for the Golden Idol. But there are invisible forces at work. As the sand sinks into the altar and the ground begins to rumble, it is clear that complex and unforeseeable mechanisms have rendered the transaction a dud.
Satipo uses Indy’s whip to swing across a pit blocking their escape, and Indy asks him to throw it back. Satipo says he will – in exchange for the idol. In a moment where the trust between them is paramount, Indy is forced to surrender his gold to a man who has no reason to save him. And as soon as the idol is in Satipo’s possession, Satipo takes flight – leaving Indy to be pulverized by a giant and unforgiving boulder.
Now we all know that Indy ends up saving himself (if not the gold), thanks to his natural resourcefulness and unending panache. But let us imagine for a moment a new Raiders of the Lost Ark character. A character called freemarket.
freemarket has no interest in leading Indy into an unnavigable labyrinth filled with hidden dangers, or abandoning him in there once they have gotten their mitts on his loot.
Instead – for a very reasonable 0.2% cut of the booty – freemarket equips Indy with an extremely simple map leading to a back entrance to the Peruvian temple, allowing him to bypass all arachnids, corpses and spring-loaded pointy objects and head straight for the Golden Idol.
Even better, freemarket provides him with a precisely-weighted bag of sand that is guaranteed to facilitate a satisfactory exchange, allowing Indy to purchase sand at institutional rates unavailable from any of the other South American jungle guides.
Indiana Jones would thereby be able to conduct the exchange entirely on his own terms – without any confusion, fear or threat of booby-traps – insulated from the possibility of being crushed to death beneath a huge rock of inescapable financial burden.