Stainless Steel Mouse
3 min readJun 6, 2022
Master Blaster

Who runs Bartertown?

Back in the 80’s, we had the three Mad Max movies. Beyond Thunderdome, the third movie, has a fascinating scene in which the Master turns off the city power and forces town ruler Auntie Entity to humiliate herself on loudspeaker for all the town to hear:

The Master : Who run Bartertown? Who. run. Bartertown?
Auntie Entity : …You know who.
The Master : Say.
Auntie Entity : Master Blaster.
The Master : Say loud!
Auntie Entity : Master Blaster.
The Master : Master Blaster… what?
Auntie Entity : Master Blaster runs Bartertown.
The Master : Louder!
Auntie Entity : Master Blaster runs Bartertown!
The Master : Lift embargo.

And the lights come back on.

Master Blaster is Russia, and Auntie Entity are the collective West. The Western European nations are dependent on Russian oil and gas, so much so that should Russia turn off the tap they will be ruined, their economies ground to a standstill, their people hungry and cold.

In the stock market there’s a saying: “If it is supposed to go down, but it’s not going down, it means it’s going up.” Russia was supposed to go down. They pulled out all the stops, sanctioned everything and almost completely halted trade with Russia. They even stole 200+ billion of Russia’s sovereign wealth parked in Western bonds and institutions.

The Ruble was supposed to be rubble. But something strange happened. Instead of collapsing, the Ruble went UP. Now we see in Russia that gas is going for around 3 dollars a gallon and all the shelves are full. India and China are buying Russian gas and oil, and Africa has not forsworn Russia. The only countries refusing trade with Russia are Western Europe and America’s most central allies.

It would seem that Russia’s economy is sufficiently diversified to survive the sanctions, at least for now. And Russia’s state finances are in very good shape with low debt and a large war chest of gold in the bank. Europe, however, has sold or lost much of their gold (Austria still hasn’t got all its gold back from London) and they are in debt up to their eyeballs.

While the EU left holes in the gas and oil sanctions to permit middlemen to continue to supply Europe with its needs, albeit with higher prices, Western Europe survives only at the pleasure of Master Blaster, and they have not been careful to maintain healthy relations. They tried to destroy Russia with sanctions and failed. These sanctions have not only failed but backfired spectacularly, proving European vulnerability beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Soon, Russia will ask: “Who run Bartertown?”

At first, it will be like the movie. A mumbled answer, defiance, desperate last minute attempts to save face…but Russia will ask again, firmly: Who. Run. Bartertown?. And watch these ancient and majestic colonial powers, one by one, get on their knees and say the words. Loudly.

“Master Blaster runs Bartertown!”