Tomorrow, Trump takes over one of the most powerful countries in the world and the world might end shortly afterwards. Or not.
Soon, the United Kingdom will leave the EU and the EU might start ending or the UK might crash and burn.
Turkey might be on its way to becoming a dictatorship. Syria is still in the middle of its civil war (which should really be called the first “Water War”) resulting in many refugees trying to escape.
There is the continuing war between the hard-line Islamic groups and the Western World.
It’s starting to look like a disaster and you’d think that the Western World would band together to fight the hard-line Islamic groups more effectively.
Except, of course, that’s not actually the war, even if it seems like it.
There are significant changes happening to our world (and economies and cultures) and, it seems, nobody really knows how to deal with it or (in some cases) what the real problem is.
So, let’s look at the real problems.
Water: Some areas of the world, maybe because of climate change, exacerbated by population explosions and, therefore, lack of water resource, are suffering from unexpected droughts. This means the people who live there have to move, creating internal (to the country) migration which, if too large causes the same problems as immigration – too many people and too few jobs and other resources. This causes friction between the indigenous population and the incomers and foments anger, discrimination and the rise of fanatical groups. That’s Syria but is also starting to happen (has happened?) elsewhere.
Globalisation: The rise of the truly international corporations and their wealth and power is transforming the whole world. Some companies now have the wealth of nations and can demand governments treat them as “special cases”. Global international companies want a) free and easy trade agreements between countries, b) freedom of movement (for both themselves and their employees and their money) and c) reductions in taxes and other payments. If they don’t get these things they move out. If they get these things because of a promise to “stay where they are” or “invest more”, they can, quite easily break these promises …. and they do. They really have no “national pride” as their only motive is to increase profit and shareholder value. With the increasing beneficial (to them) trade agreements, they can move parts of their business, manufacturing or services elsewhere quite easily. (As an aside, I’ve just broken off from this and seen that Theresa May has been saying something about this at Davos – and asking multinational companies for “help” in making it right. This should be interesting.)
Money: Of course, money is actually (originally) debt, created by the banks. The problem is not money itself but the fact that, like a river, it flows and sometimes gets caught up in certain places (forming lakes of water) and sometimes disappears from elsewhere (the debt part of it). If you have it, it’s all right; if you don’t, it’s a bit of a problem. Countries used to have it (sort of) but now they have massive debt and multinationals and the super-rich have it all. This puts countries and most ordinary people at a huge disadvantage (see also globalisation above.)
Technology: Just like in the Industrial Revolution at the end of the 18th and into the 19th centuries, is changing everything we are used to, from a social and cultural sense to work – what it is, who does it and, more importantly, who doesn’t. Just like the change from everything being done by hand to automation and mass production, it is having an enormous effect in terms of employment and is growing globalisation faster than ever.
So there are the problems. The question is, what do we do about them. And no one really knows what to do. Countries, for a couple of centuries, our (more or less) stable units of groups of people, certainly aren’t sure and certain countries are trying different things. The EU has been (and currently still is) trying to “keep control” using laws and benefits. Recently some countries have put forward the idea of a universal income – where everyone gets a basic amount whether they’re working or not. Therefore these people can still buy the food they need, live in a house or flat and have some basic necessities. Those at work would have more money and can spend that money creating more employment. However, in my opinion, this will only work if those in employment either pay much more in tax or take lower pay, allowing their company to make more profit and pay more tax. At the end of it, the countries doing this kind of thing need more money to make it work.
An alternative, and the one that Trump seems to be banking on, is to ensure that companies create more jobs. The problem with this course would seem, at the moment, to do away with trade agreements and free trade – something that the multinationals desire and need.
Another alternative is to “encourage” companies to come to your country to create employment. This is what the EU (and America too) have been doing up to now. The unfortunate bit (as I mentioned in the globalisation paragraph) is that multinationals don’t feel so patriotic and will happily break any promises they make or move when they get a better offer. So, I think it’s possible to conclude that this method just isn’t really working, although it will take a bit of time for countries to get this.
Of course, in the meantime, the blame for all these world problems is being put on a) immigration and/or b) fanatics (which for Western countries is synonymous with hard-line Islamic groups.)
In the meantime, we are approaching World War III as countries and blocks around the world try to ensure (as it was for Communism v Capitalism) their brand of solution is the right one. Of course, as we’re seeing, it won’t necessarily be physical war. It will also include Digital War and an Ideals War (as for Communism v Capitalism). It’s impossible to tell who will win right now but, in the meantime, the fun game for the last few (20?) years has to be to pin the blame on someone else. And this has, largely, been successful, unlike in the war between Capitalism and Communism when, obviously, the enemy was the other side. Either the politicians and/or the media have a) not known who to blame (which is terrible) or they b) knew they were blaming the wrong people/groups but either didn’t care as it was a quick way to gain power or it was deliberate (which is also terrible).
The blame has been put on a) immigrants, b) those people not working, c) those people not paying their “fair share of tax” and, occasionally, d) banks and e) corporations.
But, in the main, it’s been a) and b). Those are the people that will HAVE to be looked after under the new EU-type model of the economy or completely abandoned under the new USA-type economic model although, under that model, the people in group b) may have some chance of working (but, possibly, in a gig economy – meaning that, although they will no longer in that group, they will have no future.)
Whichever way the world goes and whichever economic model the countries take, expect a lot of fall out and, I would say, most people in the world will suffer until the economic winner becomes clear.
So, basically, whether you live in the Syria, Turkey, Russia, the EU, post-Brexit Britain or the USA (or anywhere else?) you can expect, over the next 10 years or more, to be completely fucked.
Oh, yes. And happy new year!