Thursday, November 22, 2007
Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving, And They Should - So Should We!
Americans will do well to make the most of Thanksgiving this year - 2007 - because things are unlikely to be this rosy for very much longer. Americans have enjoyed incredibly lavish living, and thanks to the ballooning of the American Dream, freedoms and properity have spread to many other countries in the world.
It has been said that even Louis XIV did not live a life nearly as comfortable as millions of middle class Americans enjoy. Western civilisation now conventionally enjoy an incredible variety of entertainments, catered to various whims: from movies, tv, music, telecommunications, phenomenal air, rail, road and water transport, excellent variety and quality when it comes to foods (from around the world), access to a variety of clothing etc etc etc.
For these reasons and more, we, but Americans in particular, ought to be very thankful. Of course this near magical abundance all comes to us - altogether now - courtesy of cheap oil. The stuff that allows us to have access to all this stuff, is oil. It basically lends itself to creating magnificent amounts of energy, which we have harnassed to give us everything from electricity, to fuel for cars, to the stuff that goes into balloons, computer parts, chewing gum, toilet seats and telephone handsets.
But right now, America is in deep shit. It actually started in the late 90's, but America avoided the shit then by shifting it to credit cards and mortgage instruments, to derivatives and other bullshitting financial devices/artifices. Reality has taken a while to catch up (for some, it never will).
While some countries are not feeling the pinch of high dollar valued oil prices, America certainly is. $95 per barrel is $95 per barrel if you're an American. South Africa has seen it's currency gain on the dollar, so has the EURO and many other currencies. But is trouble in America a good thing for the rest of the world? No. With the American Economy - largest in the world - slowing, so will the rest of the world.
But there may be an exception. South Africa enjoys a position where it is custodian of a resource that always becomes more valuable when the world goes to shit. Gold. The gold price is fuelled by massive uncertainty. It is now flirting with $800. Not long ago it was at $300. The oil price right now is flirting with $100. Not long ago it was at $50.
A sign advertises a home for sale October 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. The Thanksgiving holiday will give Americans a break from stressed stock markets, surging home foreclosures and an ailing dollar, but celebrations will be muted by fears of an economic slowdown.(AFP)
But does anyone think America will sit back and accept a situation where its population can't afford the things it has enjoyed for decades? It's already demonstrating that it won't. It has made incursions into Iraq and Afghanistan (under various guises and excuses). When the rest of the world joins the food fight, America will there.