The crossroads

Halsa in Nordland country is on the surface the closest thing to utopia I know. We are not necessarily moving towards a better society, but if we make the right choices we can turn things around.
Halsa in Nordland county is on the surface the closest thing to utopia I know. We are not necessarily moving towards a better society, but if we make the right choices we can turn things around.

The USA is getting a new president today, and this time I am curious for all the wrong reasons. No matter what you think about Donald Trump it seems strange that he has been demonised to the extent he has, or is it?

The next president has targeted globalisation although that is what made America great. I sometimes wonder if it is possible to make the changes he wants. There used to be a political elite and an economic elite, but there seems to be just one elite today. It’s not uncommon for politicians to switch back and forth between politics and an executive position in a corporation (big pharma, energy, defense industry, banks etc). Globalisation is about removing boundaries between countries, and to remove competition. That can explain a lot of politics.

I don’t think there has been another US president that has been so completely demonised before his inauguration. He has been called a fascist and even compared to Hitler. I share the concerns many have, because there are undoubtedly problematic aspects of his rhetoric, but if we look back on the last couple of presidents, can we really claim that our freedom now is suddenly threatened?

Do you remember The Patriot Act and the need to store an increasing amount of data? Do you remember Iraq, Egypt and Libya before NATO liberated them? Libya was the richest country in Africa, and they may not have had the political system we wanted, but life was better than it is today. Some claim that the Norwegian government broke the constitution when it decided to attack Libya, which may very well be true, and the PM is now the head of NATO. It is interesting to try and look behind the news to see if there is something that can explain things. With regards to Libya Gadaffi was trying to create a new currency that would replace both € and $ as the currency for oil trade. Saddam Hussein replaced $ with € as the oil currency in October 2000. Egypt depend on import of oil and natural gas, but the country had to cancel purchases about a year ago because they were short of dollars. Syria is not a big oil exporter, but it is an important part of their economy. Their biggest allies are Russia, China and Iran, three powerful countries that would like to see a new currency replace USD as the world’s reserve currency.

I am not going into conspiracy-land, but this is some of the background for what has happened the last generation. If we ask ourselves when we shifted to a more dangerous world I am not sure the answer will be 20th January 2017. It remains to be seen, and Donald Trump doesn’t exactly fill me with optimism, but this didn’t start with him.

Let me share some headlines from a Norwegian newspaper’s online edition yesterday:

  • Johnny Depp’s divorce
  • Two stories from a celebrity version of The Farm (a reality show)
  • A designer criticised Trump (another celebrity jumps on the bandwagon)
  • Kardashian on filmset in see-through dress
  • Moth names after Trump
  • Linguist criticises Trump
  • Sophie Elise misses a boyfriend (pink blogger)
  • Skam is breaking records (Norwegian drama series for teens)

This was a typical day, which means mostly celebrity and making fun of Donald Trump. I can’t pretend to be better than most people. I like entertainment too, but I find it harder and harder to keep it at a distance. I feel I should try to limit it because it is important to fill our heads with a little more, and we need to analyse the news and the world around us. The fact that it was mostly young people that voiced their anti-Trump sentiments after the election could be a sign of manipulation. I am not convinced that they have done a thorough analysis of international politics.

I close with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr:

It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.

Education must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking.

MLK wrote that in The Purpose of Education in 1947. This is like the climate change issues. When people don’t talk about it, because they are afraid of expressing unpopular ideas, conservative media like Fox News get to express their popular ideas. The truth is that we are at a crossroad. We are probably not moving towards utopia, but it doesn’t have to be dystopia either. We should talk about problems elsewhere, and the responsibility our governments have in the development. Local people in North-Africa, West-Asia (such as Syria), Europe (especially Greece) and the Americas are getting harder lives because businesses want dominance and profit. We expect politicians to prevent this, but the old system of voting them out of office doesn’t work anymore.

I have written about basic income on my Norwegian blog recently, and I will post some thoughts on that subject here in a few days time. It will be interesting to see what happens under Trump, and I am open to the possibility that he could be unpredictable enough to actually do some good, but like most people I fear that he will be nothing more than a parenthesis.

5 thoughts on “The crossroads

  1. Hey John! Great piece! I agree with most of all it, but must disagree on the point about globalisation being what made America great. First, there is rarely any discussion anywhere about what exactly “great” means, nor is there a discussion of who or what exactly America is, or what it is compiled of. (I mean in general terms and not specifically your post)

    I will not attempt to define “great,” because that varies according to one’s perspective and values. But who or what is America? If America consists of the financial and political elite that you spoke of, then yes, globalisation made them richer and more powerful (if that is the definition of great). However, if America consists of a nation of people, of ordinary individuals who work, raise their families, go to school, and strive to leave a better life for their children…people who come from various backgrounds, with varying ethnicities, beliefs, and views……..then NO, globalisation has not made America “great.” For THAT America, globalisation has been an enormously destructive force. Globalisation is great for those with vast amounts of capital who can invest it all around the world, move it from one location to another and own homes in various countries. Those individuals are the ones who benefit from globalisation, and they have NO true national identity or loyalty.

    1. Yes, I agree with your analysis. The USA has profited from globalisation, but of course it has completely destroyed the middle class. The American dream wasn’t just about making a lot of money, but also about working less than previous generations.

      Success is measured in statistics like national product, number of jobs created and unemployment. Those figures don’t talk about the people that work part time, but want a full time job and people that eventually give up trying to get a job. The truth is that authorities think about people like goods. It’s not profitable to produce something that will last a long time, and it’s not profitable with healthy citizens. Imagine what that would do the big pharma and hospitals.

  2. Yes, human beings made in the image of God have been reduced to commodities, to a disposable resource. Yet, the irony is, if human beings were truly permitted to flourish and to fulfill their individual potential, I suspect that the wealth and prosperity for all would be truly unimaginable. The effect of globalisation is similar to the worker collectives in the Soviet Union. Globalisation essentially reduces workers to the lowest common denominator with regards to wages and quality of life. It is the “great equalizer,” among workers, but in a downward direction. But if one is crushed at the bottom, with no opportunity to advance, to see an increase in wages or opportunity to merit working harder than one already is…….then what is the point? Productivity and creativity becomes stagnant. As workers in the Soviet Union said: “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.”

    sorry, did not mean to rant on your page. Your articles are intellectually stimulating, and make me want to have discussion! I love your writing and the way your mind works and makes such interesting connections.

  3. “The next president has targeted globalisation”, yup because Globalisation in the form of trade agreements and US financing NATO and the like has made America poor.

    Trump’s platform is to look after the little people which make up the people of America by cutting taxation and unneccesary regulation. A simple capitalistic solution which will work.

    Of course he is demonised by the regressive left AKA Democrats because they want to continue the slide to communisim and world domination which leaves the little people of not only the US but the whole world, out in the cold.
    Maybe you can see where many of the votes came from now?

  4. Thank you for your comment. I see your point about globalisation. It only helps rich people, those that don’t really need a country because they are more international than national. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens, but so far it seems like everybody is against Trump. Change is hard to accomplish, especially if both parties decide to vote against Trump.

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