The Economy: What Went Wrong?

Just like children we have built our world on optimism, selecting certain elements that are keystone parts to our own construction, in order to make ourselves look good. We have forgotten that things were not quite as rosy as we have made out for the past decades in which we have controlled this world in terms of economics and society. Or rather, that’s what we used to do until things went haywire at the turn of the century and we realized that our optimism hadn’t been as strong as we might have once thought and the economy, the good that we invented collapsed with the banks around our ears. We have built our world on the WWW. But that’s no longer the World Wide Web, it stands, towering above us, the haunting question is: What Went Wrong? What went wrong has been our dependence on information technology, our dependence on the world that we have constructed, the consumerism, the elevation to the status of god-like worship of production rather than people. What went the most wrong is the fear of others. The laws that we have created to halt immigration, the pointless telling to the people that the others want us, that they are the bad guys.

Europe and the Western world have constructed their economies on binary feelings of good and evil. We are of course the good in the west. We are the wonderful, the strong, the rich, the ones that have the power of production. The rest of the world, wherever that might be, is bad. They are evil. They are consequently not allowed or considered to be able to either take our place or do as well as us. Even when reality stares us in the face that countries elsewhere in the world are not the countries that they used to be. Even when India grows quietly stronger in South East Asia. Even when China more noisily hammers out her predicted future and slaves away. We still believe that we are the good, the right, the ones that know. Ever since we won World War II, we have had justification of our places on the top podium. We are the winners. They are the losers and they must remain losers for the rest of their existence. Right, yes, of course, life is a dream (or a nightmare depending on where you are sitting). Things don’t unfortunately work like clockwork, do they?

But, the force of things makes us change. Look at how twenty or thirty years ago, the mere thought of trading with the Russians (those ‘commies’) would have made some come out in a cold sweat and a rash. Now look at us! The USA now trades to the tune of $917.9 million in exports to Russia (March 2013). It imports $2, 493-million worth of goods. It is in deficit and that’s not just a month that it has been going on like that. You’d have to go back to September 1999 to find a positive figure for the US (and that was a one off). The US hasn’t been in positive figures since 1993 and then it was by very little in terms of value. Russia’s foreign trade with the EU is much the same. They are exceeding the EU’s exports to them, by enormous quantities.

China is exactly the same. Worse! You’d have to go back to 1985 to find a dent in the excess trade figures for Chinese exports to the USA. The USA imports $37, 172-million worth of goods from The Peoples’ Republic of China. The USA only exports $9, 384.6 million in value of goods to that same country. But, people harp on about how good we are in the West. They had just better not cite the figures. Otherwise, their arguments will collapse. We have built our world on figures, numbers and statistics. We need proof. There it is, for the taking! Except people can’t take it. It would mean the collapse of a failing system already covered in rubble.

But, we are still the believers that we are the winners because we have faith in what we made ourselves into. Russia might have won too at the end of the war, but Russia was the enemy, the Communist state that didn’t deserve to win, wasn’t it? China might have been the enemy of our enemy at the time, Japan. But it too didn’t deserve to win. India was just a soon-to-be ex-colony. They never deserve to win, ex-colonies, do they? Except, one thing! We failed and are still failing to admit that they are now the winners and we are the losers. People rant and rave and stamp their feet and hammer home that it’s not true. But, it is!

We are still living as if we were in another era. We have created our national identities, built them on what we might have done (although we all know that national identities are constructed in a present that is so far from the beginnings that they become almost like fairytales). They are fairytales! We have made ourselves glorious.  We have made our selves supreme. Our past was constructed to look like it was important, and that was essential to make our futures look just as important. Except, the others have now done the same. And the difference? Theirs is new? Theirs is a new construction and so it looks more important. But, we’ll continue believing that we are the ones that will win still in the future. Long Live US!

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