The World is a Nut House and the Inmates are in Charge

In the book of Genesis, mankind is instructed to take charge of the world and to be custodians of all that God had created. This mandate is not gender based – it is an instruction to mankind, male and female. When we were just a few millions and our technology limited, this was fine. If we started a fire and it got out of hand, it hardly made a blip on the horizon. Now that we are 6 billion and growing, everything matters.

We know full well that the earth is our only home – we cannot get into a space ship and go elsewhere. We know that the atmosphere is a thin skin on the surface of the earth and also that the tiniest variations in temperature or anything else can destabilise the whole with disastrous consequences. Today we also have the technology to predict events and changes. We also know what causes these changes and yet we show no concern or sense of urgency about many crucial issues.

I live in Zimbabwe, a tiny little State in Africa that does not really matter to anyone except those who have made it home. We are well known as a country that has destroyed its economy, its currency and in the process wiped out the savings of a century of hard work and initiative, so that today we break all sorts of records – the highest inflation rate, the highest mortality among pregnant women and children under five. We are an example to the world of just how to screw things up in every way, despite our education and rich resources.

But before you laugh at our expense, just look around you. Today the South African Government has admitted that their economy is now officially in recession. Today also the Rand went through 15 to 1 against the US dollar. Just what did they expect when they said they were going to take farm land without compensation. Did they not understand that this is a slippery slope to nowhere? Did they not appreciate that they will be in Court for the next century over this sort of delinquent behaviour? Eventually they would have to pay compensation and that compensation, if it is determined in a Court of Law, will be many times the cost of the land on a willing seller, willing buyer basis.

Then there is Donald Duck Trump and his trade war with China and anyone else who can knock the socks off American business. We have just come out of a Century which has seen the greatest economic growth in world history. More people have been lifted out of poverty and into middle income or wealth status than at any time before. The great driver of all of this growth has been free trade, it has allowed countries that were poor and under developed just 25 years ago to become major drivers of global growth. Where would we have been in the past decades without 12 per cent growth in the Asian Tigers? The adage that a rising tide raises all ships is absolutely true.

But no, Donald Duck Trump sees the huge trade deficit with China and other counties who can compete with the US in open markets as a “security” threat to the USA and he tries to level the playing field with tariffs. Breaking WTO rules in the process and damaging world trade and growth prospects. There is no sign that the trade deficit impedes US economic activity or job creation, on the contrary the inevitable loss of business for all sectors of the US economy that will follow this senseless declaration of a trade war, can only do damage in the long term. The US has always been a beacon for free trade and open competition within global markets. It is a mantra that has delivered the huge US economy and now the burgeoning economies of Asia and South America.

Then we have the spectre of Theresa May, who voted to stay in the European Community, and against the majority of her own Party and even the Commons, trying to roll the Brexit ball up the Hill with all of Europe pushing the other way. For heaven’s sake lets recognise that Europe does not need the United Kingdom, Britain needs Europe. The attempt to keep trade rules the same and seek protection for services and migration, is simply not going to be accepted. She reaches a hard won agreement with her divided Cabinet at home and now says she will not change one iota of that deal. Come to my party she says to Europe, on my terms or nothing. Well the answer to that is easy – nothing, no deal.

Such a cataclysmic event will drive Scotland out of the UK, divide Ireland and seriously damage the British economy which is now 80 per cent services. She will have to learn to farm again, to re-establish her industries and seek comfort in the arms of her Commonwealth partners whom she turned her back on in the 70’s when Britain went into the EU after many years of indecision. Brexit is clearly not in the interests of Britain and her Citizens should be asked to vote on the issue again before the country cuts its ties with Europe irrevocably. If, knowing the costs, the people of the UK confirm their desire to go it alone, then so be it. But you cannot continue to say that the conclusion of a referendum, lost by a tiny margin, with the majority of its young people – the future – voting to stay, being held as the basis for implementing Brexit when the costs are only now, fully understood.

Aside from the above arguments I am fed up with those who see no value in the European Union. Just imagine the United States as a Continent made up of many competing countries, each with their own agenda. Europe after the Second World War, decided that the only way to end conflict in Europe and the only way to compete internationally, was to unite the continent. The result of that vision has been an unparalleled period of peace and growing prosperity in Europe. The breakup of the Soviet Union could have been a disaster if Europe had not been strong and unified. The Euro experiment has worked, the Pound is discovering that life in the open is cold and tough – it has lost a third of its value since Brexit.

With Putin in Russia – hardly now a global power but with the capacity to destabilise Europe, Russia has to be confronted by a united Europe with a strong NATO Alliance. These features which have given the World a long period of global peace and prosperity and which have allowed huge changes to take place without instability, cannot be lightly tossed aside. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the visionary leaders of Europe in 1945 who laid the foundations for the world system we have today.

Just as we all have a stake in managing the earth and securing sound stewardship of this small blue ball in space and time, we all have a stake in the global economic and political systems that serve to guard our prosperity and our stability. None of this can be taken lightly – we are all stakeholders and how we view these things matters. Because of its size and reach, what happens in the USA matters, so does what happens in Beijing or Brussels. London used to be the centre of global power and the Empire, but this is no longer true and if Britain wants to play a role and help the other Members of the Commonwealth, the best thing they can do is stay inside the tent and influence the leaders of the EU.

Post published in: Featured
  1. Bob Howe

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