In 2006, Chile elected its first woman president, a socialist, Michelle Bachelet. Hopes were high that a dramatic change in both gender and political view might revitalize Chile. It did not. The experiment was a dramatic failure and only four years later, Chile switched sides and elected a conservative billionaire businessman, Sebastián Piñera.
In 1933, Albert Einstein renounced his German citizenship soon after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor. Although that left him without a legal home, he was welcomed in England and later the US, and eventually became a US citizen in 1935. This was quite a risky move at the time, as he had no certainty of a better life outside of Germany, or even a prospective job. But he saw the writing on the wall. As a man of reason, he focused not on the present condition in Germany, but where events would ultimately lead. His focus was on the Germany of the future and he made a difficult call that those with less vision might not have made.
The baby-boomer generation were perhaps the most privileged generation that the US has ever spawned. Their fathers returned from World War II, eager to get married, buy a house and start a family. The economy was booming, as, during the early years of the war, the US wisely stayed out, but provided tanks, helmets and even toothbrushes to those who were directly involved in the fray.
Coronavirus has long been known to virologists. It’s a seasonal virus that mutates somewhat each year. In the past, it’s routinely been dealt with through treatments that are both cheap and plentiful. And yet, somehow, the release of corona in its latest mutation has been co-opted to justify a social and economic shutdown in over one hundred countries.
In his inaugural address in 1961, new President John Kennedy gave a stirring speech in which he famously stated, “And so, my fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. “ He then went on to say, “Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you.” Nonsense.
In 1906, Alfred Henry Lewis stated, “There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy.” Since then, his observation has been echoed by people as disparate as Robert Heinlein and Leon Trotsky. The key here is that, unlike all other commodities, food is the one essential that cannot be postponed. If there were a shortage of, say, shoes, we could make do for months or even years. A shortage of gasoline would be worse, but we could survive it, through mass transport, or even walking, if necessary.
Most people in the West are familiar with the Biblical story of Moses. In this tale, a spiritual leader, chosen by God, leads his people out of Egypt to the promised land. The Israelites are saved. God provides Moses with a list of commandments that they are to live by – pretty basic stuff: Don’t kill people, don’t steal or lie, don’t cheat on your spouse, etc. But interestingly, the second commandment exhorts the Israelites not to create false gods, nor to bow down to, nor serve them.
The image above is of the Arch of Reunification in North Korea, located just south of Pyongyang. It was constructed in 2001 and features two women wearing traditional chosŏn-ot dresses, representing the two Koreas coming together. The arch spans the highway that connects North and South Korea, except that, as can be seen… there are almost no vehicles on that highway.
So, why build a highway that doesn’t have a use?
Mao Zedong was, by all assessments, not the nicest fellow. In 1964, he first published “Quotations from Chairman Mao,” which came to be known to all and sundry as “Mao’s Little Red Book.” At first, it just went out to the military, but by 1966, it gained far wider distribution. The goal was for "ninety-nine percent (of the population of China) to read Chairman Mao's book."
I first began to predict a major economic collapse back in 1999. Although I understood that it was at least fifteen years off and possibly more, I believed that it would be wise to begin to prepare for it then, as the actual date of collapse could not be predicted. (Better to be a few years early than even one day too late.) Not surprisingly, back then, this prediction appeared to most people to not only be unlikely, but laughable.