Whatever happened to The Global Village

A few years ago it was the orthodoxy – the body of ideas that all right thinking people should adopt without question – to talk about the world as one big global village. Globalization a.k.a. Americanization would bring peace and prosperity, and universal Happyness.

Then came 9/11 – and then the GFC of 2008.

Nobody talks much about the Global Village any more, and DAVOS – the Olympus of the Gods of Globalization – was poorly attended this year.

When you reach your 80s, with a mind reasonably intact, then Karl Marx’s “History repeats itself, first time tragedy second time farce,” or the more elegant French saying, “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose,” resonate ever more strongly.

Do people remember these financial scandals of recent times?

– LOHNRO
– Investors Overseas Services
– Slater Walker
– BICC
– Icelandic Banks
– Societe General
– Barings Bank
– Northern Rock
– Lehman Brothers
– Bernie Madof
– Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac

And all the other nefarious dealings – and at times sheer incompetence – of the financial community? The unacceptable face of capitalism.

Or further back in time:

– The Great Depression of the 1930s

And even further back:

– The South Sea Bubble of 1720
– The Dutch Tulip Mania Bubble of 1636

And yet we continue to try and build a global society based on get-rich-quick speculative bubbles (a.k.a. financial derivatives and hedge funds) so that the filthy rich can get even filthier. There is currently about 8 times more out in paper than actual assets exist in the world. And if I have sparked your interest read Loretta Napoleoni’s excellent book ROGUE ECONOMICS for a more detailed and informed analysis.

Last year the wealth of the top 1% in the world increased by 18%, and the wealth of the bottom 50% decreased by 10%. I guess you could call that balance? Does anybody wonder why Trump, and BREXIT – and even ISIS (DAESH). These represent the backlash to the ruthless greed of the people who contribute nothing, merely seeking to make money from money, and ruin the lives of normal people. And of course they will fight endlessly to maintain their supremacy. Hence the howls of rage against Trump and Brexit.

My book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” concerns the flotsam and jetsam that washes up in The Arabian/Persian Gulf. Expatriate American and British workers who are victims of the West’s ruthless and heartless financial system. And my work in progress, GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows” concerns one man ruined and brought to the end of his tether by the GFC, the Global Financial Crash of 2008.

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

feedaread.com

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The Muppet Show – or Fiddling while Rome is Burning?

Right now the Australian government is in uproar and has yet again changed Prime Ministers. That’s 5 Prime Ministers (only two elected) in 8 years.

Is the reason for this?:

1) A Royal Commission has found evidence of widespread corruption and outright criminal activity in the banking and financial sector (what a surprise).
2) There is a huge and growing drug addiction crisis (The highest illegal drug usage per capita in the developed world). A 28% increase in consumption year on year 2016-17.
3) The state of NSW is in the throes of the worst drought in 100 years driving many farmers to the wall – and some to suicide.
The answer is none of the above.

The answer lies in the overriding concerns of politicians – their ego and their vanity. The ruling Liberal party was sinking rapidly in the polls because of their lack of action over the above problems – and a huge increases in the cost of living.

The patrician leader Malcolm Turnbull was replaced, and like Serena Williams, displayed a complete lack of class. He resigned from Parliament on the spot, handing a poisoned chalice to the incoming leader. He has to try and operate in Parliament without a majority.

And the man who first started the leadership challenge, Peter Dutton, is now being challenged and vindictively pursued because it is alleged that he, as Home Affairs Minister, let in a French and Italian Aupair in order to help his mates. All they did was babysit. Meanwhile there has been no satisfactory answer why the perpetrator of the Lindt Café Siege – an Iranian illegal immigrant with 36 counts of sexual assault, and one count of accessory to murder – was free to roam the streets on bail.

It is so bad, that one of the Opposition MPs has labelled parliament THE MUPPET SHOW, and wonders why he bothers to turn up such is the low level of debate.

Last year the main concerns of Parliament were Gay Marriage, with a very expensive and time consuming referendum, and the number of MPs who had dual nationality. They did absolutely no harm. There was no evidence that they were acting as agents for their Mother countries. But they were forced to resign on a technicality, causing a series of disruptive and expensive by-elections. It’s all part of the game. Huff and Puff and Ponce around to avoid the serious issues.

Fiddling while Rome is burning.
In the broader political context of the background to my new book GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows” the starting point is a meeting of the “Great and The Good” that took place in Corfu. The occasion was the 40th birthday of Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, and her party attended by Lord Rothschild, David Cameron and George Osbourne, former UK Prime Minister and UK Chancellor, and Peter Mandelson, the right hand man of Tony Blair, the existing UK Prime Minister at that time.
One of the outcomes of that get together was Mandelson and Rothchild squabbling over a GBP 50K donation solicited from Oleg Deripasky the wealthiest Russian oligarch. He was also present on the island at that time.
And while squabbling over the petty cash none of these Masters of the Universe foresaw the GFC – the multi-billion dollar financial meltdown that would ruin the lives of millions of people – and expose the greed, the cynicism, the criminality and sheer incompetence of unbridled global laissez faire free market capitalists.
The overriding theme of my current book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, is that Western politicians have persisted in trying to make the Middle East conform to their view of how they think it should be – democratic, free market, capitalistic – a system that isn’t even working in The West. The calibre of our leaders has never been lower. It is time for another Oliver Cromwell. Or maybe we have found one in Donald Trump?

To quote Rudyard Kipling: “East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.”

You can review and buy my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind” and its fictionalizations of real events in the Middle East at:

amazon.com

Or on my publisher’s website:

feedaread.com

Marie Antoinette’s cake

Maybe, finally, what I have been writing about for the last 30 years is beginning to enter the mainstream.

At a recent conference of the political elite in Sydney, Peter Varghese, the former Head of the Australian Foreign Affairs Department said:

“ . . . I wonder whether this is a gathering of the Ancien Regime and we are all eating cake at Marie Antoinette’s party. One day we might wake up to find the peasants are revolting.”

The only thing he got wrong is that the peasants have already revolted, hence Trump, Brexit and here in Australia Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party.

The political elite/progressives agendas are based on the ideas of the 1960s Permissive Society, outmoded ideas that have failed catastrophically to meet the needs of Western societies. Every indicator of civilized life is going backwards: divorce rates, drug abuse, violent crime, home ownership etc.

For the first time in many generations the present young adult generation will not have as good a life as their parents. This is all the consequence of laissez faire capitalism, and laissez faire neo-liberalism.

Maybe a sea-change is on the horizon? On TV the American series MADAME SECRETARY, and in books the successful Inspector Brunetti series of Donna Leon, are based on successful marriages and happy families – and not the usual divorced, recovering alcoholic, omniscient and frequently violent protagonist that is the noir norm these days.

The only disturbing factor for me is that MADAME SECRETARY still clings to the 19th Century attitudes of American exceptionalism and its divine right to re-create the world in its image, ignoring the realities of its own violent, drug crazed, money obsessed and fractured society.

Donna Leon, who is herself an American, but expatriated to Venice for many years, has a much more realistic view of the world as it is, and not as we wish it to be:

“ . . . how to persuade the Romanians to stop picking pockets, the Gypsies to stop sending their children to break into homes . . . in Venice. And on the mainland . . . asking the Moldovians to stop selling 13 year-olds and the Albanians to stop selling drugs . . and the possibility of persuading Italian men to stop wanting young prostitutes and cheap drugs.”

And, in the same vein as Donna Leon, I try to present the Middle East (or more precisely the oil-rich Arabian/Persian Gulf region) as it really is, and not as The West wish it to be.

In my first book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, I dealt with the effect that fabulous oil wealth brought to the region after the quadrupling of crude oil prices in 1972. In the book I am writing now, GULF II “The Beginning of Sorrows”, I am dealing with the ongoing effects of that wealth which lead to the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You can preview my book, THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”, on Amazon’s Kindle Websites at:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my UK publisher:

www.feedaread.com

What was the use of Magna Carta?

And what was the use of The Peasants’ Revolt, or the Russian Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, or indeed the iconic French Revolution with its motto ‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité’? All of these were brutal reactions to oppression by entitled elites who refused to relax their grasp on their privileged lives.

What we are seeing now, with a wave of populism so sneered at by the privileged elite, is a (so far) less bloody reaction to the oppression of laissez-faire globalized capitalism that has served only to enrich the rich and beggar the poor.

Here in Australia the government propped up the banks during the GFC with A$700 Billion (of tax payers money) in loan guarantees. 9 years on the banking sector is still behaving in the same reckless manner, pumping up the property market with shaky loans, and issuing worthless paper.

House prices are now 10 times the average wage, and household debt is at 189% of disposable income – twice what it was 10 years ago. There are in circulation complex derivatives to a paper value of 12 times the actual value of the total GDP. And the experts, the pundits, wonder why the rise of populism. The lunatics are in charge of the asylum.

And what are our leaders doing about it? Nothing – because almost without exception they have their hands in the till, or their noses in the trough. They are prospering on the back of this bubble. Mike Baird, the former NSW Prime Minister, resigned and within 5 weeks walked into a banking job at a salary in excess of A$2 million, and negotiated a mortgage in excess of A$1 million to buy a house in a swanky suburb. The feeling is that he negotiated this golden parachute before he quit.

The property boom is being driven by speculators using negative gearing to lower their tax burden – and by black money coming in from China and the obscene profits from the ‘Ice’ epidemic that is sweeping Australia.

Donald Trump was right in saying “It’s time to drain the swamp.” No wonder he was elected instead of the criminal Clintons.

And Britain is right to exit the European Union – another club designed to benefit the few at the expense of the many. With the most recent terrorist attack in Paris it is looking likely that Marine Le Pen will become French President and take France out of the EU.

I am no supporter of right wing governments, or fascism – but I understand from history all to well how it comes about. It is the fault of the decadent and narcissistic fools who think they are entitled to rule without reference to the wishes of the common man. Google NARCISSIM and see what I mean.

My 12 odd years of economic imposed exile in the lonely oil camps of the Middle East gave me time think, read many good books, and observe Western so-called civilization from afar with detachment. And the company of the expatriate flotsam and jetsam that washed up in THE GULF for whatever reasons (financial ruin at the hands of banks, unfaithful wives, out of control drugged out teenage children, a weariness of fighting in politicians wars – Vietnam, Buraimi, Dhofar, The Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq – or just a general sick-to-the-stomach reaction to the consumerist ‘greed-is-good’ and ‘obesity-is-the-norm’ lifestyle in The West) – and exposure to austere Islam – gave me a wealth of material to write my book THE GULF “Reaping the Whirlwind”.

Although it is a work of fiction, it is journalistic because the stories start from real events I witnessed – or were reported to me by reliable sources during my 40 years in and out of The Gulf. It is written from the points of view of those expatriates washed up in the the Arabian/Persian Gulf.

You can preview my book on AMAZON’s Kindle Websites:

www.amazon.com www.amazon.co.uk

and read the comprehensive 5 Star reviews it has received, and download it if you have a Kindle.

If you prefer a real book in your hands, you can preview my book, and order the paperback from my publisher:

www.feedaread.com