Hectic traveling continues. Traveled to a village called Dattwada in Madhya Pradesh, about 150 kms from Indore. The route goes via Tikri, Anjad (Anjad-Bharwani Road) and then to Dattwada. The heat was sweltering in end-September. No internet connectivity. Back to the base in Singapore on Sunday.
Too many things happen for us to keep pace. We cannot. We cannot keep pace. We can try and keep peace with ourselves and the world. That is what we can and should try. The European economic and political stability bubble was pricked with the German election result. Christian Democratic Union of Merkel turned in its worst performance since WW II and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) turned in its worst performance from even earlier. The Alternative for Germany (Alternativ für Deutschland – AfD for short), deemed far-Right by the commentariat turned in its best performance and won some 94 seats, I think. AfD picked up votes in Bavaria State (where Munich is located) and in the capital Berlin too. As for what AfD stands, it is only thing to emphasise nationalism and security and seek tigher curbs on immigration and it is another to deny the holocaust. See here. The WSJ article has some useful charts.
Even before the elections in Germany, I had been sceptical of the romance of the so-called global ‘elites’ with Europe. They saw in Merkel an alternative to the isolationism of Trump. But, Merkel was disregarding the popular feelings towards immigration. Daily Shot, a nice collection of pictorial global economic snapshot from the Wall Street Journal carreid this chart on 6th September:
While I was searching for the chart above, I saw this one too.
Other charts carried in this article in August 2016 are equally interesting. The warning signs were there. Again, the elites and the biased media ignored them.
European economic convergence had not happened. Post-Euro introduction, it has been a story of divergence between Eurozone original 12. Further, IMF Article IV consultation report for the Eurozone stated bluntly that the Southern European nations had not used the windfall from low interest rates to put their fiscal house in order. They are vulnerable when rates rise. I had written about it in a MINT column recently. It is a different story that IMF still advised European Central Bank not to raise rates, despite low rates encouraging complacency!
Over the weekend, there was a stabbing incident in Marseille (France) outside the train station. Two women were killed in a ‘terrorist’ incident. Such attacks are meant to create panic and hardening of attitudes among the locals. Alienation is what terrorists seek and such attacks succeed in breeding alienation as they strike very near ‘home’ for many. However, analysts and intellectuals would blame the locals for not wanting immigrants in their midst. It is silly to question the innate human need for security. Charity comes after security.
In Spain, Catalonia held an ‘illegal’ referendum. 42% showed up to vote and of them, 90% voted in favour of independence from Spain.
It is a difficult world. Europe is no exception. Indeed, Europe is arguably the epicentre of it. It was delusional to think otherwise.