Thursday, September 21, 2006

Its the economy stupid!

Have been watching all the coverage of Hugo Chavez and Iranian President Nameicannotpronounce about their speeches in the UN. Its simply amazing for a whole host of reasons. Mainly because both leaders are living examples of what is wrong with the world economy today and why we cannot make more progress in advance United States interests than we do.

Lets look at Chavez. This man's country gets 10 Million US dollars a day in petro dollars. The United States forks it over to feed its oil habit. Same principal exists in the Middle East. Yet in Venezuela at least there are still way too many people living below the poverty line. In the Arab countries, they treat their citizens with contempt because they can afford to pay others to do all the hard work for them. Countries like the PI, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh feed this economic imbalance, ergo they make no progress in their own societies because they don't have to. It becomes a self defeating cycle that continues on and on -fed by oil money-up and till their is some event that shakes up the status quo.

Consider some other examples. In Iraq, if the US had been able to deliver on the services the Iraqi's expected from the start, it would have probably done a lot to short circuit the insurgency. Because of the security situation being as tenuous as it is, Iraq makes no economic progress. It needs a stable infrastructure more than it needs democracy. Unfortunately its democratically elected government seems unable to deliver it.

The rich may be getting richer due to globalization, but for the rest of us: the people who do the working, the sweating, the living and the dying median income is actually going down. That gap is not poised to narrow anytime soon. And worse, the rich who hold the money are doing nothing to close the gap. If anything the seeds are being sewn for a massive breakdown. America's addiction to allowing others to hold its debt, particularly its main enemy China, is very troubling. Righting this situation will be tricky, and having a President who is committed to increasing those imbalances through wartime and other deficit spending does not help the process.

Iran, for all its bluster is an structurally imbalanced country. It makes huge revenues from oil that are being misspent. Thus Iran has some serious social and other problems it turns a blind eye to, or hides under a Muslim veil. It cannot do so forever.

That is what is really sad. No one, anywhere, is making an effort to address this imbalance. The war on terror is fixing a symptom of economic distress, without curing the main cause of the disease: frustration that makes people susceptible to the mouthings of Muslim wakcos.

In the old days, we had European empires to keep this in check and at the least, keep the money in the hands of the West. Now it seems we have to be resigned to seeing the West vicimized while the parts of the east rise-others do not.

So in the end, I'm stating the obvious. Want to fix the rights of women and others in outside countries? Wean them off the spending for conflict and provide some balance in their workforce. "Business as usual" simply feeds the causes of discontent. That's what folks were trying to say at the UN. Provide some equity in the global market place and you will go a long way to reducing the root cause of the current violence in the world.

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