The end of the world
|August 9, 2011||Posted by Fergus Doyle under international|
There is a man who has installed himself in the public areas of York. He has a beard, wild eyes and a scruffy dog. What makes him different from other madmen? He is always stood next to a sign: “10 reasons why the world will end soon”. And, I fear, the world will end soon, but I don‘t think the reason will be on his list. I don’t think it will be divine retribution that ends the world, or a Survivors-style pandemic. No, as usual, it will be our fault that society will collapse, and that is because we have invested too much in the Americans. Yes, our pan-Atlantic cousins, the saviours of the free-world, will be the instrument of our downfall. Over the last week or so, amid fears of the most powerful country in the world being sent to some imaginary, international debtors prison in the middle of the Pacific, international shares have plummeted. The gap between the value of Spanish and Italian shares compared with that of Germany is the widest it has been in 12 years. And all because the fattest cat around has run out of Sheba.
But why have we allowed ourselves to get into this mess? To answer this, we have to go back to 1945. Let’s have a look at Europe: The UK – bombed to pieces, a sneaky underhand tactic used by the evil Germans, and completely unjustifiable. Bankrupt by the war and concentrating most on clinging onto the Empire. Germany – bombed by the good guys, heroic bombers who fought for democracy and sprayed phosphorus over innocent citizens… for the good of the future. But that’s by the by. Germany was flattened during the war, then split down the middle to avoid it from getting back up. Greece – roughly in the same state as it is right now actually. Over to Asia: Japan – after being the only country to suffer a nuclear attack, they have to rebuild their country from the top down, embracing new ideas like democracy and shedding the yoke of feudalism (they are, to this day, the only remaining country with an emperor as its head of state). But the US? The US was looking good. After only suffering one bomb attack on the mainland, in which one group of picnickers was killed, and fighting all of the war on European or Pacific fronts (the nearest it got to the continent was Hawaii), America was the country of the future. Having no major competition, and no prospects of any for a good 20 years or so, they could flourish.
But, as some of the more astute of you may have noticed, it is not 1945. In 1989, East and West Germany were reunited, and with it, the economy of the new, unified country flourished, and, to this day, remains the most financially stable state of the European Union. After the war, Japan took to its new constitution like a cabbie to racism, and, despite its troubled past, has become the strongest opponent of nuclear arms. On top of that, it was the 2nd largest economy in the world until last summer. Still, these are two strong, independent economies that are not reliant on the USA in such a way as to be damaged by the faltering step of the giant. So why do the Spanish, or the Italians, feel more affected by the Americans than they do by the Germans? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Why do we look to the Yanks, not just for our supply of cosmonauts, but for everything? How sad…
These events have also revealed one thing: the rise of the corporations. A couple of weeks ago, it turned out that Apple had more money to spend than the US government. I’d like to think that those in the White House looked at their Macs and iPhones and saw the bitter irony; but I fear they didn’t. So why doesn’t Apple take over? They’d have more money to spend, several ways of making cash and they might even be able to do a better job; the society they’d create would be sleek, stylish and easy to use, after all. Alas, no. America is on the way out. It’s corrupt, bankrupt and cares more about its outward image than being able to house its people. But the stock markets don’t like to accept this. In just over 200 years, America has risen to dizzying heights, but now it’s beginning to plummet back down. And its fall will be much, much faster than its rise.