it´s been a while since my last post here on this blog, but I had some stuff to do (business and privacy related), I have some other blogs that need some content, and well…let´s say: I was a little bit de-motivated to write something here. My last post was on March 2017. I wrote that I was worried about the development of this great country of yours is about to take. Now 1.5 years later, I´m still worried. Things that I was concerned about came true. There is a president in power that literally give not much on others (but himself). I see a country where people are more divided than united by the way that they vote.
It makes me sad to see that, because I always see the United States as a role model for democracy, as a country where everyone get´s the same fair chance to make his/her dreams come true. This is “the American Dream”. I mean…this is not just a phrase. It stands for that anyone can become anything if he/she tries and work hard for it. United States of America…this sounds so great even to speak it out. It´s bold, it´s big, it stands for freedom, democracy, put everything positive in it and USA will come out. America is not a country of “me first, then the rest”. It wasn´t under the presidency of any republican or democrat president before.
Today things changed. And it changed a lot. Lies and selfishness become “normal” under the presidency of the current president. He spreads so many lies that newspapers start collecting them like stamps just to prove them wrong, but a lot of people still believe them. For me it´s hard to understand why you do that. I usually don´t take news I watch for granted…mostly I check things that caught my interests of various channels to build my own opinion. It seems that a lot of people lost this kind of reflection. They only hear “the single truth” and this has to be the truth. They don´t reflect, they just take it as it is.
If you don´t care about nature for yourself, may be do it for your grandchildren and the ones that come after them.
“Make America great again” is their battle cry. But is it like this? Let me tell you from outside the USA, this is not the case. People from other countries shake their heads in disbelief about how the US develops. USA quitted the Paris agreement on climate because it was a “bad deal” for the USA. Well, so far I didn´t see any “better deal” coming up. I don´t think there will be one coming up. But is this really the answer? We all know that the world is changing. We burn fossil fuel like hell. Burning fossil fuel causes CO2. That´s we can all agree on, right? If Billions of people burn fossil fuel that causes a really big amount of CO2…right? Usually, we would say: Trees and plants will consume the CO2 and give Oxygen back….ok let s have more plants and trees to compensate that. Thing is … we are doing the opposite. We cut down the woods to have some nice paper and whatever. So the point is….we need to reduce the CO2 to get at least some sort of balance. This is what the Paris agreement is mostly about. Now, if the USA say “screw that…we are treated unfair…we want to produce CO2 like China and India. What kind of logic is that? It´s like saying “We want to have the right to pollute our environment as others do.” Thing is: Every country, every man and every woman is responsible for this world we are living in,…and for this: we are not doing good. Some simple Googling will tell you that we are doing not good in avoiding CO2 (I don´t even talk about reducing). China is by far the country with the most CO2 emissions based on the fact that 1.379 billion people live there and they have a lot of not-so-green industry.
But USA comes right on the second place. And they have “only” 326 million citizens. Per head: USA are on 3rd place of CO2 production. But instead of doing something, the leadership decides that it´s better to boost the industry (to create jobs). Fuck the environment, we need jobs! In a short-term, this might pay off (at least until 2024, if everything goes wrong and the current president gets elected a second time). Just in case you didn´t know: We don´t have a second earth…there is no “Plan B” or a earth 2to go to. And if evolution doesn´t give us lungs that are able to get along with less oxygen and polluted air mankind is pretty much fucked.
Another thing is this “fear” thing.
Fear is powerful, it is a basic instinct that makes us survive in the past. What we fear, we avoid, because it can harm us. That´s simple psychology. If you get burned by fire….you usually avoid getting close to the fire or at least pay respect to the harm that it can cause. We learn to deal with it so that it can not harm us. If you burned yourself as a kid, you know that it makes you “outch”….then you start paying respect to it. But using this as a matter to reach your political goal is something that several heads of state did to reach their goals.
The most “unfamous” example comes from Austria and ruled Germany eight decades ago. He caused the death of millions and pushed the world into chaos. For what? To make Germany “the greatest country in the world”. He and his regime used the very same tactics like in today’s time: Set up a target…tell the people these are very bad people and they want to harm you and your family….and repeat that over and over…often enough that at some point the people start believing it. Again: Basic psychology.
But the people start believing it in the US. do you really think that some thousand refugees can do ANY harm to the USA? Just saying: Germany took 800.000 refugees. It caused some problems…and they need to get solved. But you see 10.000 refugees as a threat to National Security. A country that has a four times greater population should be threatened by 10k refugees while a country with 1/4 of the citizens can handle 80x more of them? Think about that for a second.
Those 10.000 poor souls are so frightening that you need to move the National Guard AND the US-Army to secure the border. Heavily armed military against people that carry their home in a bag. This is not the way I remember the United States of America is dealing with refugees in the past. Esp. when you look at it 100 years ago. Remember what the inscription on the Statue of Liberty is?
Let me give you a helping hand:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
You may think that this is not relevant to you, but I´m quite sure it was relevant to your ancestors. Think about what would have happened, if someone like the current president was telling the people time ago that your ancestor is something to fear and prevent them to come to the United States? In my point of view, what makes America really great is that it takes the best out of every culture, of every nation and of every religion. It was Americans, French, Germans, and people from many countries that fought side by side in the war of independence…driven by the spirit that no king or sovereign can or should suppress the people….that´s how the United States of America was born. Don´t fear the unknown. Those people just seeking for the “American Dream” like your ancestors did centuries ago. Maybe you consider this in your consideration.
Economics is not such an easy thing, you know?
Protecting the job you have a valid point. No one likes to be unemployed. Providing the best position in global business is a relevant point that every country has. Fair enough. But don´t fall for the idea, that you can force or dictate that in a global environment, like the United States are trying to do that at the moment. You can shield your market and try to negotiate “better deals”, but be sure it won´t pay of like it is currently happening. Globalization means that if you produce stuff, you want to sell it. If your local market doesn´t buy all your products, you sell them to other countries because they like your products. If your product is good and competitive other companies or costumers from other countries will buy your product. This is how globalization works.
If a government says “I want people to buy local products more then other (foreign) products.” you put taxes on them. So you make the foreign product more expensive than the local product. The company doesn´t benefit from this strategy, because taxes usually go to the government. The company benefits from it because your local product is now cheaper than the foreign one. In reverse, the other country can think “ok, fair deal…if you put taxes on products of my country…I do the same.” And this is how a trade war starts. The USA does this at the moment with not one but two major economic environments: China and Europe. Thing is: You can do that with one…but two is like a two-fronted war…and every military strategist will tell you: That is not a good idea because you have to split your forces to fight on two fronts.
And believe it or not, the United States rely on global trade. Especially the US farmers (e.g. Soja beans). If the US governments behavior causes the reaction that China makes US Soja beans more expensive than other ones…they will change the supplier. And then your local farmers won´t sell their all their Soya beans, because no one wants to buy them. This would be bad for the farmers. There´s a good article about this within the New York Times ( https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/05/business/soybeans-farmers-trade-war.html ). May be you like to read it. It´s really worth reading it to understand the complexity of this situation.
High Tech it s mostly the same: If China puts taxes on tech like tech components for the iPhone, it will make the iPhone more expensive. Simple logic. And what will happen if Apple descides to bring the production back home to the US?
The average earning of a Chinese worker is 2,95 US$ per hour. If Apple decides to produce all their products in the US they have to pay for each worker 7,25 US$ per hour (that s the minimum wage per hour by law). This will increase production costs. Sounds logic, or? And that companies are based on the idea of income maximation, they won´t take this raise in production cost on their behalf. They will put it on the price-tag.
You can not have the benefits of cheap products without compromising on other points. A good exercise would be if you check your stuff like your jeans, your electronics, your car or your DSLR (I bet it´s a Nikon or a Canon)? I bet some of the stuff you own is not “Made in USA”. What do you think will happen, if you have to pay an additional 15% (at least, because not only wages are higher in the US but the other costs like energy are higher as well)? Are you ready to pay the extra?
So, what´s the conclusion?
Tomorrow are the Midterm elections. And I will stay up most of the night to watch the incoming results. I could say: Hey, why do I care about elections 6.000 miles away? Not my country…not my problems. But this would not be correct. In fact, Midterm elections will have a direct impact on my life over here in Germany. Mostly because the economy thing will have an impact on my daily life. But that´s ok.
What concerns me even more is that if things are not going in the “democratic” direction it will give other people in other countries a boost that says “nationalism” is ok. Like: “Look over to the US, they are the role model for this kind of politics of egoism. If they can do it, and it´s ok…why shouldn´t we?” This is ONE world. We don´t have a “second earth”, we don´t have a place where one can stays on it´s own.
From my perspective, we are way beyond this “country first” thinking. We have global problems that can only be solved as a global team. And it´s not possible if one of the “big players” start to care more on its own business, but causing global problems on the other handsite. It´s time that the United States turn away from this kind of ego trip and start acting again in the role they like to claim.Image by: frank mckenna