The Winter of Our Discontent

We are living through a chaotic time. But this is not necessarily a bad time. Change for the better also brings, for a time, chaos.

We ought to properly appreciate the apparent miracle that happening in Ukraine. As things stand, this relatively smaller nation looks set to defeat the world’s second greatest military power, Europe’s greatest land power, on land, right adjacent to its borders. The impossible appears about to happen. Other nearby nations are growing restive.

We ought to notice the growing economic problems in China. It seems unnecessary to worry about China becoming a new totalitarian world hegemon. The danger of other regimes imitating the Chinese “success” looks suddenly more limited.

 Closed systems can look good over the short or medium term, but they are self-limiting.

The same moral might apply therefore to wokedom, which relies on putting your fingers in your ears and shutting down sources of information. Like the Wizard in Oz, it looks strong so long as it can intimidate the silent majority into silence, the unthinking into thoughtless assent to the loudest voice. As noted here, it is crashing as we speak, largely due to the anonymous “crowdsourcing” possible with the internet. Wokery is getting voted down online, and the big corporations are beginning to worry and respond.

We are insufficiently celebratory on the fading of COVID. It is ending not with a bang but a whimper, which robs us of an inflection point, a V-J Day to celebrate. But that nightmare is over. We are already beginning to forget.

We are now all alarmed by inflation. I am no expert on economics, but it seems to me this has to be temporary. The underlying trend is deflationary.

Let me explain. Inflation is too much currency chasing too few goods. Improved technology means more goods, produced more efficiently. We are in the middle of a major industrial revolution, thanks to computerization, and a quantum jump in efficiency. It is for this reason that, up until two years ago, inflation was not a concern, and the interest rates were historically low.

Now the supply of goods has been disrupted by covid and the lockdowns. In the meantime, buoyed by their ability to do so without penalty in recent years, governments just started printing money to help people through the lockdowns. This has caused a jump in inflation, but it was artificial. As supply chains come back, and if the government stops handing out money, the matter should correct.

The only problem is that governments have not started to cut back yet. Nothing could be more insane that Biden’s recent program in the USA: spend more money to stop inflation. Except the Canadian government’s idea of raising taxes on carbon, imposing vaccine mandates, and restricting fertilizer during a supply crisis.

But perhaps that too has a silver lining. The cost of living crunch coming now may discredit this approach for some time to come. Sweden has just tossed out their left-leaning government for a right-leaning one. That may be the start of a general trend.

The malaise of the Carter years in the US, after all, were immediately followed by the golden age of Reagan. Carter’s failures made Reagan’s election possible, and the people and congress prepared to consider his policies.

It may be a tough winter.

It may be a glorious spring.

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