Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
This one is scary but interesting:
...(in USA) the expectations for the numbers of jobs lost in the economy are rising towards a cruel, eye-popping and devastating 1 million per month for 2009, and likely beyond...it puts the US in a category of economies that has members in the likes of Bulgaria before the Berlin wall came down.
...Well, Mr. Obama, here is your key to reviving that trust. Find your own Elliott Ness, this one specialized in derivatives, get him the people he wants and needs, and start raiding the banks' vaults, and the hedge funds, and the pension funds. Force it all out into the open...Would be nice, right? Well, don't count on it. The man behind the curtain of Obama's financial team is Robert Rubin, and his proxies are the likes of Tim Geithner and Larry Summers. These guys have one goal in mind only: to let the firms, and the very culture, that enriched them and provided them their lifestyle and friends, their yachts and mansions, and the power they so enjoy, endure. Even though they are smart enough to understand that that culture is gone, broke, bankrupt and dead, this is still the sole thing they will work towards. And they will do so at the expense of hard-working or no-longer working ordinary people.
...But for the man in the street, it makes no difference if the Wall Street titans are toppled. He simply needs access to his money, to feed his family, and he needs a job to provide that money. $8 trillion could have provided much of that. But it is now gone. And we'l never see it again, because it's been given to institutions that have losses that are far greater than $8 trillion. In toxic assets. It is not that hard to figure out.
...So where do we go from here, knowing that our governments will keep on making the wrong decisions at every stage of the game? We go towards the prospect of unemployment so vast that it hasn't been seen since the Germany and Dust Bowl 1920's. We move into a time where nation states and their elected governments come under pressure so intense that many will fall.
...For a future in which 10-20-30% of their populations may be out of work. For a social coherence that will make it possible to provide everyone of their citizens with their minimum basic human needs. Work. Water. Shelter. Heat. Food. Health Care. In Athens, the riots of the past weeks spring from one source: 70% of young people are unemployed, have no income, no prospects and no future. That will spread to other countries. And that is a recipe for collapsing societies.
...In western societies, the perhaps most important factor is the widespread sense of entitlement that rules the lives of those who've always had it good. Who've always had well-paying jobs. Who've put money away for savings and pensions and all these things. Already, there is a huge rift growing between the baby boomer haves and their offspring's have-nots. The few lucky Greek youth who are employed are known as the "€700 generation". They can make $1000 a month, and that's it. While the older generation sits pretty. This cannot last, that should be obvious to all.
...And so we head for the inevitable wall, and we will all say that we could not possibly have seen it coming. But that wall was always there all along, walls don't tend to sneak up on people. People rush into walls, not the other way around.
...We have lived through a time of unprecedented affluence, and we have seen it as normal, and told ourselves we deserved all of it, that we are entitled to what it has given us. But it's over, and it will be no more, nor will it ever return in our lifetimes. If we are to live in a functioning society in the years to come, we will have to share much of our riches, and we will have to find out how to be fulfilled with much less material wealth. If we don't, our societies will collapse, and we will lose that wealth regardless. But looking around me, I see little hope that we will do all these things before it's too late. It you don't volunteer to share, the difference in wealth between you and your own children's generation will become so glaring that they will come and take it away from you.

...An era is over. We have been the last of the affluent, the carefree and the innocent. Not that we're really all that inncoent, mind you, it was all just pretense all the way, many millions of people have died for our affluence. We just never told ourselves their life stories. They will be our stories soon.

Are you now ready to fight in the streets, to protect your family, to share your meal with the hungry? It's not about being a leftie, or a softie, and I certainly am neither. It's about survival. It's about being smart enough to read the world you live in. The model of the nuclear family will die with the affluence. It's never been but an aberration. You will, like your ancestors before you, need your family, your friends, and your neighbors.

Life itself is about to come calling.

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind...Albert Einstein
by vbo on Tue Dec 23rd, 2008 at 12:22:23 AM EST

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