Regular readers may have noticed a longer than usual absence.
We've moved to a new metropolis, and I've been contemplating the bigger picture of the world situation and not finding much about it that I like. I'm writing late at night, so this may be colorful, but it is quite real.
We have far too many parallels to the 1930s going on in the world. Not just economic parallels, which are crucial, but also political, and international parallels.
Not only is the world economic situation more like a sinking ship than any other kind of ship, with inadequate demand for goods and services, and a gradual world-wide downward spiral, which will bring into it's grip more and more nations until even the fast growers fall....
But, as in the 1930s, nations appear unlikely to cooperate further as needed to quickly veer away from the giant iceberg gashing the side of our brittle the-way-that-things-are.
Instead, leaders of nations are contemplating the inevitable need to fire torpedoes at each others' economies, hoping to preserve their own political power.
China is unlikely to stop exporting more and more unemployment onto other nations by consuming only 1/2 of what it produces.
China will not stop subsidizing its exports and forcing up the prices of imported goods via massive governmental intervention on its currency.
There's little more to say on this particular question at this moment.
Instead, we must turn to examine the consequences.
1) A continuing slump in the US, leading us to respond with countervailing tariffs, resulting in:
2) the cold trade war waged by China alone becoming a hot trade war involving both sides, simultaneous with:
3) continuing economic deterioration around the world, resulting in:
4) rising militant nationalism in many nations, as the increasing anger of desperate economic situations grinds down tolerance and good will, leading to:
5) the rise of nationalist demagogues of a wholly more serious caliber, promising to restore the "honor" or "rightful place," etc. of their nations, intent on taking "action" and creating command economies (such as 1930s Germany), leading to...
6) an arms build up (yes, it is hard to imagine the US spending even more on arms than it does, but we can. Indeed we can.), and...
7) a general break down of international cooperation and the formation of dangerous, unfriendly blocs of nations, leading to...
8) well, let's hope the obvious place this leads to is detoured around earlier in this pathway, if possible.
People, the outlines of how the world can march into the middle 1930s is becoming visible, and the middle 1930s is not a nice place for the world of 2012 or so, with circa 2012 technology, to enter into.
Is there hope in this dark land?
Really, the only hope I can conceive of is the clarity and strength of ideas and communication which could counter these powerful forces of economics and human nature careening together towards the cliff face.
But for each writer or commentator or leader that would speak wisdom, there are two or three or six that seek monetary gain, or to vent anger on imagined enemies, or worst of all, just raw power through angry demagoguery. Networks and public figures alike will often go where the money is, and a great deal of money is being had stoking and feeding and reaping fears. And in time, those that sow fear tend to lead to those that forcefully sow the seeds of it's darker cousins.
Do I despair? Not at all. I think ideas will win through.
I just fear they won't win through anywhere soon enough to avoid most of this well-worn, ancient pathway so many worlds have trod.
Now, let us work, desperately, to find any ways to make my guess wrong. Can this Lucifer's Hammer be nudged, just enough, while it is still far away and it is still possible to turn it aside?