The Way We Live Now: emerging cautiously into the terrifying light. Sure, being an "emerging market" is better than being a "scum-ridden basement of a Third World hellhole market," but it's not all good. There's the ominous money, for example.

Everybody everywhere is pouring their investment money into "emerging markets," on the theory that they have the word "emerging" in their name, which just sounds like a jaunty, promising thing. But way out there in the emerging markets, they're not so happy; in fact, they're terrified of the tidal wave of money that is breaking over them, swallowing them up, and doing other tidal wave activities, econometrically.

It makes them unstable, see. And it's not a sure thing for all you investors, either. China can pretty much crush the emerging markets of the world singlehandedly without even trying to. So for investors as well as emerging markets, the big question is: "Whatcha gonna do?" Said in a taunting, "urban" manner.

There are as many answers to that as there are theories about answers to that very question. Some people turn to evolutionary theory to explain the markets; some people put their faith in banks catering to Allah; still others are content to continue working part-time as their income plummets, hopeful that their unique "panhandling" scheme works out for the best.

Whatever you do, don't invest in an emerging market without knowing something about it first. Like, have you ever had Chinese food? Yes? You're good to go then. Knowledge is power.

[BRIC pic via]