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World Economic Forum

weather: sunny
outside: 6°C
mood: fascinated
This e-mail was written by a reporter attending the World Economic Forum. She intended it to only go to her friends, but, of course, since it was so interesting, it's spread to the world. I've saved the text in case Topica gets gunked by the traffic. And Topica is so flaky that I wouldn't be surprised if it does.

If the things she says true (and I at least somewhat believe her because I've read similar commentaries before), it's incredible.

The most frightening part of it, to me, is where she says (emphasis mine):

If the U.S. unilaterally goes to war, and it is anything short of a quick surgical strike (lasting less than 30 days), the economists were all predicting extreme economic gloom: falling dollar value, rising spot market oil prices, the Fed pushing interest rates down towards zero with resulting increase in national debt, severe trouble in all countries whose currency is guaranteed agains the dollar (which is just about everybody except the EU), a near cessation of all development and humanitarian programs for poor countries. Very few economists or ministers of finance predicted the world getting out of that economic funk for minimally five-10 years, once the downward spiral ensues.

And then further down, she quotes "American security and military speakers" who say (emphasis mine):

We need to attack Iraq not to punish it for what it might have, but preemptively, as part of a global war. Iraq is just one piece of a campaign that will last years, taking out states, cleansing the planet."

When I read that, I thought, "Wow, we could be headed towards a global depression..." And uh, "cleansing the planet"? Someone bind them, gag them, dogpile on them and don't fucking let them move a hair. Holy Fuck.

And interesting point was that, somewhere in there, she says:

... Ashcroft, and observed Ralph Reed and other prominent Christian fundamentalists working the room and bowing their heads before eating. The rest of the world's elite finds this American Christian behavior at least as uncomfortable as it does Moslem or Hindu fundamentalist behavior. They find it awkward every time a US representative refers to "faith-based" programs. It's different from how it makes non-Christian Americans feel -- these folks experience it as downright embarrassing.

Honestly, I've always found that kind of thing embarrassing to sit through as well. I'm glad the world's elite feel the same way.

It's an all-around fascinating read.

[Update - 1646h]

*sigh* Some peoples' kids and their drama. Thanks shiningmoon =)


Feb. 27th, 2003 09:47 pm (UTC)
It's a good article but if you're looking for my honest opinion, I think it's a little too pessimistic. There's good reason for optimism. There are stronger ties today that while not immediately apparent, are binding countries together.

Nationalism, which I believe to be one of the most dangerous forces we face today, is on the decline with countries working together with increasing economic integration, fighting terrorism, working together to solve mutual issues. (The exception to this is America who seems to be going in the opposite direction) Fundamentalist and rigid autocratic states are slowly liberalizing.

On the economics and finance side, sure we've endured through a 3 year bear market. This is the longest slump in over 20 years. Businesses aren't spending right now. But that's going to change. All that cost cutting in the aftermath of the tech bubble bursting is going to prompt increased spending in the future.

Sure, there is a fear of deflation and economic stagnation. Markets hate uncertainty and there's an abundance of that right now. I honestly think that things are going to rebound once that yahoo Bush is out of the Oval Office and someone who is a little more predictable is returned to the White House. Maybe improvement won't come immediately but it will come gradually as the markets correct themselves.
Feb. 27th, 2003 10:10 pm (UTC)
The exception to this is America who seems to be going in the opposite direction

Which is kinda why I'm more pessimistic than not. Canada is so close to the US, economically, geographically, politically. If they do something completely asshat, can we really be unaffected?


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