The previous malaise era had its clutch of culprits: OPEC, mismanagement at the Federal Reserve, the Vietnam hangover, the Watergate hangover, the Altamont hangover, the hangover hangover. But blame for Malaise 2.0 is being placed squarely and preemptively on the third developing world. Sure, sure, all was well and good when they were caught up in their quaint revolutionary progroms ambitions and impenetrable caste systems. Back then, our Chinese and Indian brothers on the Big Blue Marble got around using swayback scooters, rickshaws, bikes made of pig-iron, occasionally a main battle tank, and their own damn feet. All the sudden, however, they done caught the auto-MO-tive bug.

And if you believe the various pundits assembled by, in a recent report, that infection combined with their penchant for manufacturing eensy proletarian vehicles that your average call-center employee in Bangalore can afford means, yes, pain at the pump for the U.S.A. Gas that tops $5 a gallon for 87-octane has nothing to do with profiteering oil companies and our proud nation's anemic refineries—no, when that day comes and it costs $150 to fuel up a Tahoe, it will be the fault of the wee Tata and its ilk. Little bitty cars that sip gas and are driven by deeply impoverished people. There's your eulogy for relatively inexpensive fuel and the rumbling V8.