Thoughts - Written by on Friday, June 24, 2011 17:47 - 0 Comments

Revolution is in the air

When I had political discussions with my grandpa most of our talks ended up like this: “Boy you´re right but never forget, you grumble on a very high level.” And I knew he was right. While I grew up in safety, freedom, peace and democracy he did in war, poverty and the Nazi regime, not knowing what to eat tomorrow, not knowing who to trust. He almost got killed 3 times before he turned 16.

What we see right now are beginning revolutions in many countries and while my grandpa could argue that the revolutions in the Arabic world are not connected to Germany because the situation there was and is way worse, probably he would not understand, why the #SpanishRevolution started.

In this post I´ll share my thoughts about why I think the revolutionary movement was and had to be kicked off also and especially in “western” countries and why I think we´ll see similar situations like in Spain probably in almost every European country within the next years. Let me give you a collection of facts and quotes that I can see to be combined in one huge picture. No doubt it´s still quite blurry and not really coherent but I think it gives an idea what we are heading for.

So let´s drop the bomb: In my opinion we are experiencing the beginning of the end of the capitalist world order as we know it. Please don´t get me wrong, I´m neither communist nor a believer in any other ideology. But even Schumpeter, the “intellectual father” of capitalism, already stated in 1947 that capitalism will not only tear down barriers that hinder its progress but also buttresses that prevent its collapse.

Some more concrete ideas what this could mean practically are given in “The Limits to Growth“, a study published by The Club of Rome exploring the future of world economy that was sold more than 30 million times in 30 languages since 1972. It was updated in 2004 and points out that:

  • within the last 3 decades the gap between rich and poor increased from 35/65 to 20/80
  • going on with the “business as usual” of the last 30 years will lead to collapse starting around 2030
  • from 13 possible scenarios only 3 will lead to stability and balance while all the other scenarios lead to overshoot and collapse

Here some numbers, symptoms of the financial system eating itself:

  • A brand new study released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in collaboration with McKinsey (!) finds that while global credit stock doubled from $57 trillion to $109 trillion in just 10 years (from 2000 to 2010), it will need to double again to an incredible $210 trillion by 2020 in order to provide the necessary credit-driven growth.
  • Right now the US make 4.300.000.000$ debts per day. The overall indebtedness now equals the gross domestic product of the US (~14 trillion $).
  • EU – Greece: What the EU is doing right now especially to Greece is basically this: Imagine you´re unemployed and the few bugs you get from public welfare don´t cover all your costs. Because you can´t lower your running expenses you ask your bank for a loan. The bank gives you some extra money that helps you to survive this month. In the following months you have to repeat your bank visit and the bank gives you loans again and again. That way you get into depths more and more and month by month you need more money ´cause you still have to pay your costs but increasingly also the debit interest. This is a downward spiral that inevitably has to end in an insolvency.
  • Even the Economist´s “diagnosis” points out that “Greece’s moribund economy is hopelessly uncompetitive.” What this means? Europe permanently has a leak in the boat.
  • “A Real Crisis”: If this happens to Greece that would mean that a lot of international banks will not get their money back what might kick off some kind of domino effect through out most western countries and their private and state banks. And this would end in the “real financial crisis” and no country in the world will be able to stop it with the money of its tax payers. Just to give you an idea of about how much money we are talking here also the numbers are that huge that it´s actually unimaginable: The IMF (International Monetary Fund) puts the total costs of the “1st” financial crisis at 11.9 trillion $. This money, that was mostly spent to bail out banks is now of course missing in other areas, especially in the social sector.

“Climate Change”:

  • Just yesterday The Guardian published an article that quotes Fatih Birol, chief economist of the Internatonal Energy Agency (IEA), who calls the goal of preventing a temperature rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius nothing but “a nice Utopia”.
  • A study sponsored by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) found “that ocean health has declined further, faster and to a far greater extent than dire forecasts only a few years ago. These symptoms, moreover, could be the harbinger of wider environmental disruptions, scientists said. All five mass extinctions of life on Earth – reaching back more than 500 million years – were preceded by many of the same conditions now afflicting the ocean environment. The rate at which carbon is being absorbed by the ocean is already far greater than at the time of the last globally significant extinctions, which wiped out up to 50 per cent of some deep-sea animals, the report said. Overfishing has also reduced some commercial fish stocks by more than 90 per cent, it said.” (Al Jazeera)

“Social Injustice”:

  • One in five children in America lives in poverty. The US child poverty rate is 21%. When you have one in seven Americans living in poverty, one in five children living in poverty—including one in three African-American children and Latino children.
  • All 5 seconds a child is starving and 37.000 human beings are starving per day in a world full of money.
  • Spanish Telefónica laid off 6.000 workers while the management got paid 450 million € and additional 6.9 billion € of bonus just some weeks ago.
  • Here is an absolutely frightening infographic I found at an interesting blog post called “It´s the Inequality, Stupid“. No more explanation needed.

In more and more countries all of the above and a lot more leads to a growing dissatisfaction of the population and in Spain, a country with more than 40% of youth unemployment, these people start to form a so far very positive, pro democratic, non violent resistance outside of the parliament and all established political parties. How scared the political elites are right now you can see in this video where spanish policemen attack sitting peaceful protesters:

To sum it up: the end of the world as we know it is near and we don´t know what will be next, but I think WE will like it.

WE urgently have to collectively bring in our creativity and humanity to help to develop a next, better system and we have to learn from Tunesia, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and now also Spain. A good starting point to do so is this first draft of the 8 demands people of the spanish movement 15-M who occupy the Puerta del Sol in Madrid have formulated. It´s about time.

(This post was originally published at my blog.)

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