The Crisis

The Red Cross now seem to be handing out aid packages from Western Europe through to Eurasia, and have published a report about it (which I found on EU Referendum).

I've been trying very hard over the past weeks not to 'go gloomy' about the state of the economy, having had my fill when I predicted how far into the depths we would sink last year. We're still going down and I don't want to dwell on the fact. But, as our third rate political-media class pat themselves on the back and convince themselves that everything is well, think on these things, and connect.

(1) Mortgage renewals in the UK are going to meet with refusals and gouging terms that will see the wave of repossessions accelerate, as those in arrears begin to fall impossibly behind.

(2) Quantitative Easing has produced huge amounts of electronic money, but money growth is still sluggish; the banks are functioning either as a dam or a drain to a stimulus that could in itself turn toxic here soon. We have given them all that money and the most they can do is embarrass themselves trying to throw the money back at the government whilst not giving it to current-account holders. Stagflation must be on the way, unless a far worse deflation sinks it.

(3) Economies at either end of Europe are poised on the edge of collapse. Thankfully, Germany seems to be fighting credit sclerosis well, but it could still prove capable of delivering near-fatal shocks. I hope to God it does not.

(4) There is every sign that those who suggested a quiet sun would result in an unusually severe winter are going to be proved right; with gas, and oil, already up, this could lead to another squeeze on European disposable incomes. The era of cheap oil is clearly over; peak oil is going mainstream as an idea. I'm not sure that the reality is here yet, but it will be.

I also find myself wondering, albeit with some but not that much evidence, if we could be in for a one-two punch; years of drought left over from the late nineties warming have led to food price rises and lower food stocks, followed by years of cold (even with precipitation) keeping prices there. Certainly, some in blogland seem to be picking up on that seventeenth-century pattern, as it were. Over one billion people are hungry tonight. The acceleration of food riots seems likely.

But what if all that is necessary is to hold to what you love and can have faith in, and that we use our reason? What if oil is declining--but we develop alternate energy sources? What if food is in trouble--but we get a grip on the failures that echo the failure of the past? What if the world is bitterly unequal, but we discover not in meddling but in freedom and cooperation a way forward?

What if we see sense, and stop throwing men and women and oil into the burning arcs of instability?

Yep, likely.

Here's an ursine muppet tragedy to keep you occupied until the end. One of our fellow species took the trouble to make this, you know. There is hope for us yet, although I was a little perturbed by the suicide at the end.

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