I stood and ate cherries as I watched the East German border guards patrol the border between East and West - effectively the border between USSR controlled Europe and US controlled Europe. I stared in mute horror at the bunkers holding nuclear weapons ready to be used and end life as we knew it. Finally the USSR crumbled under the weight of investment in non-productive assets, namely the machinery of war. I have a shard of the Berlin wall in a biscuit tin, next to treasured geological specimens. I thought life had to be safer and better.
Sept 11 2001 I was working late - past midnight - when a friend called and asked me to turn on the TV. It was early morning in New York and two huge buildings were burning. I watched them crumble. There ensued the "War on Terror" - by now I was too cynical to believe propaganda. I read an online article that said the US would "win", but the cost of the war would weaken it economically and cause it's reign to end. I think I am seeing that now.
The investment in non-productive war assets notwithstanding, poor management of the financial industry and government budgets is hastening the decline of the West in favour of the new East - the EU agreement with China appears to be a landmark in that regard. I am troubled by the implications of there being a new emergent world master.
There are however, more immediate concerns - as governments in Europe and around the world cede power to mobile financial capital and cross-border supply chains, they are losing the capacity to meet citizens' demands. The result is a global crisis in politics.
On Thursday I heard a protest echoing between the buildings in central Brisbane. Finally I discovered what appeared to be "occupy Post Office Square".
It is interesting and disturbing to live so long.
|27 October 2011, Post Office Square|