A long time ago I heard something that I believed to be true: no countries with McDonald's restaurants had ever gone to war.
"Must be post-Soviet-Implosion inertia" I muttered to myself; and then I went on.
With my life.
So that life has brought me to what, two weeks ago looked to be full circle: a major European Power had launched blitzkrieg upon a smaller neighbor country.
I immediately noted that Ukraine and Russia are alive with McDonald's.
"So much for the no war phenomenon", I muttered to myself.
Today McDonald's fixed that: they moved out of Russia leaving 60,000 Russians unemployed.
'Good move", I muttered to myself.
But I had to wonder what the Big Mac Index looks like in Russia.
That's the gauge that The Economist came up with years ago to measure purchasing power parity accros countries.
The Big Mac was perfect for that way of looking at transnational prosperity: it has identical portions of identical ingredients wherever in the world it is offered; the only variable was what did those portions dictate the price to be?
That price was translated from local currency into dollars, the dollar being the global currency, so it amounts to the baseline cost; if a Big Mac somewhere costs less in dollars than it does in America that means that that country has a PPP greater than the United States; if it costs more the country's PPP is less.
In all cases the local currency needs to have some measurable value.
I had to wonder how Purchasing Power Parity looks from a ruble point of view.
Nothing times nothing is nothing.