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Tuesday 19 September 2023

Where the World Is Going


Image: Unsplash

With the direction the world is going right now, I think many Australians need to sit down and take notice and make some changes in their lives. There are several monumental events that are happening, that many people do not understand the significance of and because of this they are not adapting their lives to be prepared for the coming changes. I don’t intend to discuss this in any serious detail, because that would require pages and pages of analysis and examination. But I think it is good to give a brief overview of the direction the world is heading and how the world is facing many challenges and changes.

So, what are these changes?

Well, everyone is aware of the war that is happening in Ukraine, but not many people are aware that this conflict is only one theatre of a much larger conflict. The principle opponents,  as far as most people are concerned, are the big Russia and the “poor little” Ukraine. But as is becoming much more clear to many people, the real opponents are The United States and its allies/satellites, in Europe and beyond, and Russia and its allies. For a long time many people were not able to see this, and the war has entered the background news phase for so many people, that even though they may be aware that the United States is driving this thing, they really don’t care. All they care about is paying their bills and living their lives.

But this is why you should care. Because this war is going to have a negative effect on those basic realities of life. Russia is a major oil and natural resource producer, and because of this is a direct competitor to the United States, especially in Europe. Many nations in Europe were dependent on gas and oil resources from Russia, and the United States has been working hard to break this reliance, and move Europe to greater reliance on American and allied resources. China on the other hand is the real and more direct threat to American influence and power in the world, and China’s refusal to condemn or work against Russia has intensified the United States desire for conflict with China…where almost everything is made. And if it is not made not in China, it is made near China, in places like Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, etc.

This has created what economists like Vox Day and Michael Hudson call a bifurcation in the world economy. Rather than one global system dominated by the United States, a new era is rising where China, Russia and other allied or friendly nations, increasingly trade with each other and cut out the relatively wealthy, but also relatively resource and production poor western nations that are aligned with the United States. In reality, this bifurcation has been coming for years, because a multi-polar world is the norm, not a unipolar world, and eventually nations were going to start to react against American sanctions and military incursions to keep reticent nations in line.

Think about the effect that this is going to have on an economy like ours in Australia? Australia has partly grown so wealthy because of our resource rich ground, our British culture and laws, and our reliance on off shoring production so that we can buy cheaper products back from overseas. This has a temporary enriching effect on an economy like ours, because we can buy more and more things at better and better prices. This works as long as people are able to be redirected to other jobs and fields, and you retain good relations with your trading partners, and you don’t mind slowly enriching other nations, while your own nation’s ability to create and build things diminishes. Oh, and you don't mind losing your national identity. 

Eventually, the good times will come to an end, and then you are reliant on buying most things from overseas just to live your daily lives. If you get your phones, T.V.s, computers, and especially things like oil from overseas, what happens to your economy when alliances start to shift and the nations you once lifted up through giving them your production are now in the position of not needing to sell to you, because they have better, friendlier markets? What happens is your society becomes very expensive to maintain. This is happening right now in our own nation. Inflation is still growing in Australia, and rising oil prices are making it very hard for our economy to reach equilibrium. In fact, this is happening across the West, as trading partnerships change and the world adjusts to the bifurcation of the globes economies. 

Something Australians need to realize, and something for which many Australians are not prepared to accept, is that we are entering a phase where the West is no longer the largest, wealthiest, most productive or favoured region of the world. For several decades now the West has been creating this situation with off-shoring and an increasing focus on the financialization of the western economies, rather than making real world products. This means, if the fractures in the world increase, and it appears likely that they will, because they currently are, western nations will find themselves in a situation where our ability to get things like we did before is gone. A bit like wealthy ancient Rome surrounded by Goths, Vandals and Huns, rich but with little hard power. Countries like Russia and China have been preparing for such a world by relying more and more on domestic production capabilities, and building friendly relations with other up and coming nations. Nations like Australia, on the other hand, have deepened their reliance on the belligerent United States, and large supply lines that spread throughout the world, and especially into areas of the world the West is turning against, like East Asia.   

To put is bluntly: the easy ride we westerners have enjoyed for sometime now is coming to an end. For centuries the Western economies have been the favoured economies in the world. But this favour has been mishandled. The skyrocketing cost of living in western nations is partly coming about because of this situation. And it is only going to get worse.

More and more countries are now buying oil in their own domestic currencies, bypassing and therefore weakening the United States financial dominance. More and more counties are starting to assert themselves against the U.S. and its satellites (of which we are one), and this is why you see our leaders increasingly talking about war with China, about buying U.S. arms and supplying arms to the U.S.. This is why there is so much hysteria about Russia standing up to American dominance in Ukraine, because if countries like Russia can so effectively oppose the will of the U.S. on foreign affairs, then the United States is obviously not as powerful as people once thought. And the big nations can now do their own thing. 

The results of this will mean several things, more war, already we are in a World War, the sides are lining up against each other, Ukraine is a just a part of that, the economic battles are another. It is in the early stages, but it is escalating. The longer term results mean that we will no longer live in a nation allied to the world’s only superpower that can sanction other nations at will, but we will live in a world where more powerful nations can extend their dominance in their region, and likely sanction who they believe to be troublemakers in their own regions, or even worse, bringing nearby nations into their orbit of power as satrapies, conquests and colonies.

So with all this said, and much more can be said, here are a few bits of advice about what I would and would not be doing right now.

1)     I would not be increasing debt. Now is the time to pay down debts, and leverage your assets to become as independent as possible. The interest rate pain we are experiencing at the moment is only the beginnings of such pains. The increasing costs of things like oil and fuel are likely going to get much worse. Western nations have made themselves very vulnerable to interference in these area from overseas actors.

2)   Don’t move away from family. Now is not the time for disconnecting yourself from family connections. Some people might think now is a good time to try and find a place which will not be effected by the war. But how can you control that? What you can control is who you know, how close you live to them, and how well you get along with them (to a degree).

3)     Build community. Join a church where you can talk with people about what is happening in the world. Invest in the lives of others and build more relationships with trustworthy people. Add your skills and knowledge to a community and become a valuable member of it. Seek to do the same in your neighbourhood. Knowing people and where to get even basic things like eggs, milk and meat, and help fixing things.

4)     Be like the ant: Proverbs 6:6-8, “6 Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, 8 she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.” Proverbs 30:24-25, “24 Four things on earth are small, but they are exceedingly wise: 25 the ants are a people not strong, yet they provide their food in the summer;…” Prepare like an extended winter is coming, because economically it is very likely that one is. Get used to fixing things, working on things, and improving things yourself. And spend (frugally) like the good times are over, because soon they will be, really they already are.

5)     War in unpredictable, and all of your preparations to sustain yourself can be undone if the battlefield comes near your home or city. So learn how to be a bit more self-reliant, to live with less, practice things like hiking, camping, and living simply, stay fit, and ready to move on foot over large distances if you need to.

You don’t need to change your whole way of life. You can continue to live relatively normally. You just have to recognize that the world is changing. The easy lifestyle we grew up with and which the West is used to experiencing is coming to an end. It may not be that our whole way of life is turned upside down, just that it becomes harder to prosper or live well, than it has been in recent decades. The times of prosperity we have experienced have been pretty unprecedented anyway. Who but the uber rich in history had extended overseas vacations and ate gourmet foods regularly? Who but the uber wealthy lived in such comfort and relative ease? We have lived at the peak of a prosperous golden age, all good things come to an end. Don’t let the ending of this one take you by surprise.  


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