The rumblings in the world are increasing in volume and scope. Here are a few choice samples:
The Greeks are emptying their accounts – i.e., they are pulling “euros” from various points in the wall. Paper notes which the ECB printed only the day before. They will be wise to keep them, because winters in the Mediterranean can be quite cold, and once their boilers malfunction, and the last plumber has left, taking the last spanner with him, they will at least have paper to burn (if they can still afford matches). It would be wrong to laugh however, because the Greeks are the canary in the coal mine and have merely descended further and faster down the shaft than any other EU member state.
The US have announced they will deploy 250 tanks in eastern Europe to counter the Russian “threat”. They are asking Europeans, especially the Germans, to increase their military spending (i.e., increase their deficits) and to be more menacing towards Russia in particular. That’s funny in a way: the Americans want to re-re-educate the Germans. (West) Germany was happy to provide (defensive) deterrence when they perceived a real threat to themselves, i.e. until 1989/91. For the time being, they can’t imagine going to war with Russia again. Ever. Not that this attitude will stop a war. A poodle can have many tasks, but deciding for itself is not included. However, even the Americans seem to understand that at present they cannot push the Germans any further. Which doesn’t stop them from trying though.
Calais two days ago was in meltdown, with French port workers striking and migrants from 3rd world countries jumping into trucks and everyone blocking the rail tracks. The acts have brought the whole migrant situation to the forefront of everyone’s mind in Britain and France. The welfare state may be a pull factor. It is also correct to point out that foreign interventions are messing up countries to such an extent that local people see no other recourse but to leave. But the main culprit in this particular saga is a different one. It is the same one that is driving the above two stories as well. And many other rumblings around the world.
Many, if not most of the people crossing the Mediterranean, who often end up glancing longingly across the Channel at Albion, are from sub-Saharan countries. These regions are beset by more than usual political corruption and internal strife and are desperate economic basket cases. I have no stats but anecdotally, from various reports, I have gleaned two things that initially puzzled me. The first one is this: Whenever asked, these destitute people invariably claim to have paid thousands of dollars to make the trip. Assuming this is true (and why should they all lie), this question comes to mind: Where did they get this kind of money from? I mean the amount, not the denomination (dollars are everywhere).
The second point that struck me, not so much a puzzle as the first, but it struck me, was their ability to speak English. In fact some of the squatters in Calais say they want to come to England to work because they can speak English – and not French. Some will have come from former British colonies, so no surprise there. But, according to reports, a great many are currently coming from Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia (what’s left of it). There is no real British (or any other) colonial history to speak of in these countries. So what’s happening here? Part of the answer is selection by the media. They will look around to find people who can speak (some) English. But how did they learn it? I doubt is was from watching MTV or things on Youtube. What we see here is a result of foreign aid. Specifically education: Teach them English (in other countries it will be French), it’s a world language, it’ll be useful later in their lives … . Another area in which foreign aid does a lot is health provision: vaccination and so on. Now it would be extremely callous to say, withdraw that help, let them die young. And it would also be callous to withdraw education from children.
However: What foreign aid has so far failed to do is to create thriving economies that can look after their own. It’s obviously gone rather pear shaped. These healthy, (sort of) educated young people find no jobs in their homeland. So they cause trouble at home (I guess – it’s the first thing young, educated, underemployed people do before they think of going abroad.) The local elite thus have a problem. To solve it, they have two options. One is economic reform, i.e. protect property rights, enforce the rule of law, generally become more “market friendly”, and to phase out “foreign aid”. The other is to give (or more likely lend) the troublemakers a pile of dosh and tell them to b****r off. It’s obvious what the easier option is. To be fair on the (usually corrupt) local elites: The EU and other rich regions/countries maintain high trade barriers to protect their own declining primary production sectors from developing countries. Which does not help them to the right, as opposed to the easy, thing.
The main reason for all this mess is the mindset of the central planner – in the UN, the World Bank, the EU, the US and what have you. The mindset says this: Here’s a problem (at least, I think it’s a problem and that’s all that matters, after all, I’ve got this position, see?), there’s someone else’s money. Here’s a plan how the money can solve the problem. Qualms? Doubts? Here’s a lobbyist from Lobby Corp to help you out. Protests? Here’s a media man interviewing someone with a PhD, a nice face and spellbinding elocution. (Un-)intended consequences, side effects? Brilliant! More problems – my job’s secure.
However, perpetuum mobiles are impossible in this universe. So what’s fuelling this vicious cycle? The same fuel that soon will be the last thing warming the Greeks, the same fuel that is driving reckless US foreign policy: unbacked paper money. Fiat (“let there be”) money. Seemingly in endless supply. Distorting actual prices, confusing their signalling function. Causing all sorts of mayhem. However, those close to the sources of this “money” (the central banks: Federal Reserve, ECB, Bank of England and others) can easily protect themselves from the consequences of all their “problem solving”, while most others suffer.
As long as this source of evil is not effectively tackled, the rumblings in the world will continue to increase in volume and scope.