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Tearing down The Wall

September 22, 2010
Frankfurt, Germany

From the moment he walked out on stage, the crowd was in a frenzy. Roger Waters may be 67 years old, but as one of the chief creative forces behind the band Pink Floyd, his seminal work “The Wall” resonates even more today than it did 30+ years ago.

I was there at Chicago’s United Center on Monday night with floor seats to his concert. Actually, it was more of an opera than a concert, full of visual and musical metaphor. To paraphrase Waters’ own words, any bloody fool can play the music– an artist conveys a message.

And the message was loud and clear.

During the first half of his performance, the stage crew meticulously and inconspicuously built a faux-wall behind Waters, brick-by-brick, while he sang. Simultaneously, anti-war and anti-establishment images were projected onto the wall as it grew higher and higher throughout the show.

The hoops and whoops from the audience certainly suggested a strong agreement with Waters’ message, particularly as he projected images of fallen soldiers and civilian casualties juxtaposed with images of frivolous consumerism and political greed.

The greatest reaction of the night, though, came during the acoustical ballad “Mother.” At the point when he sang the lyrics, “Mother should I run for President / Mother should I trust the government?”, Waters’ laser lights etched the words “No fucking way” in deep crimson on the Wall behind him.

The crowd went insane.  The noise was so deafening, it was as if a jumbo jet were landing in the arena.  Apparently, no one at the United Center that evening was a friend to the government… and this was no Tea Party gathering either.

In fact, I’d say it was one of the most diverse groups I’ve seen in quite some time, including homeless anti-war demonstrators, cross-dressing drummers, local drug dealers, retirees, and even a few professional athletes and Fortune 500 execs.

Personally, I took great comfort in this optimistic sign. It seems that the party of ‘throw the bums out’ is finally taking hold, and significant mistrust of all establishment politicians, regardless of party affiliation, is growing.

Far beyond the Pink Floyd microcosm at the United Center this week, though, there are growing indications in other parts of the world. Here in Europe, from where I pen this missive, there are also signs of a changing political current.

With decades of bosomy entitlement programs and overblown taxes under their belts, European nations have a heritage strongly rooted in the left. But now even socialist bastions like Sweden are bucking tradition and starting to elect inexperienced candidates from obscure, right-wing parties.

Meanwhile, mistrust of the political establishment is growing in the financial sector. Greece’s finance minister has been on the road lately trying to convince investors that Greek debt is just fine and that they’re not going to default thanks to a 12-figure EU bailout package.

No one is buying it… and Greek bonds are now trading at a higher risk premium than they were during the height of the euro debt crisis a few months ago.  Meanwhile, Irish and Portuguese bond spreads are the highest they’ve been in the history of the euro.

In other words, the collective European mentality also seems to be ‘throw the bums out’, though in this case referring not only to the political establishment but to the PIIG nations as well.

I’m convinced that continued pressure from voters and financial markets will call the EU leaders’ bluff, eliminating any resolve to hold the eurozone together.

Will a German factory worker who already pays 50%+ in taxes suffer through austerity or tax hikes just so that a Greek hairdresser can retire at age 50? No chance. Will any politician be dumb enough to force this through given the sea change in voter sentiment? Doubtful.

Remember, this is a continent that has been at war with itself for most of its long history. It’s nonsense to think that, all of a sudden, the whole of Europe will be willing to go down with a sinking ship… and for this reason, a breakup of the eurozone is a foregone conclusion.

In the meantime, this provides some rather interesting opportunities to buy high quality (non-PIIG) assets at a PIIG discount. Most importantly, though, this shift in attitude is also a great sign that people may be starting to wake up… and tear down the Wall.

Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.

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About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Wille

    As a Swede, I would just like to partially correct the statement that Sweden are starting to elect “inexperienced candidates from obscure, right-wing parties”..

    If you are referring to the big news of the recent election, the elevation of the “Sweden Democrats” to parliament, they are hardly what you would wish for: it is a party with roots in neo-nazism, that no less than 10 years ago had members proudly wearing swastikas, brown shirts and shaved heads.
    They are racist xenophobes whose economic policies are to the left of the Socialist Social Democrats, who have almost had a monopoly on power in the country during the 20th century.

    The slight bit of good news though, is that for the first time in 100 years, Sweden has re-elected a centre-right government, though in actuality they have been elected on a platform of “not rocking the boat of the welfare state”.

  • Justen Robertson

    Man that sounds like a great show! Thanks for sharing the highlights. Glad the anti-establishment sentiment isn’t confined to ignorant populists and their throngs in the U.S. Whether the sheeple wake up and do something about their own predicament remains to be seen, but at least the sympathy currently leans in the direction of people who do (despite all the “law-and-order national pride” schilling in the Tea Party crowd).

    • Elai

      Anti-establishment sentiment comes about when more people are let down by the establishment. Look at the vietnam war era for example.

  • Kakudovi

    It’s ironic that Pink Floyd is Russian President’s favorite band

  • joe_bob_gonzales


    you made a clear point that I have been making for years……………………

    no, the german wont work to support the greeks in the style they have become accustomed to.

    and further, my similar US focused point for years was/is this:

    why would a latino in southern california give away half his salary to support old white people in connecticut.

    answer: he wont. he is not, culturally, one of us and has no reason to do so.

    or why should a young couple suffer, be unable to afford a home or children to support a debt burden that they did not create and from which they will NEVER benefit.

    answer: they wont. they wont produce, or they will leave the country, or they will fight. fight, flight, or hide.

    the same shit storm will hit the US as it will Europe.

    if germany and the northern europeans toss out the PIIGS,

    then they may have a chance.

    as for me, once a true believer in “america”, volunteer veteran of the USMC, vietnam era, and whose family has been in these united states since 1598…………… well, Chile is looking pretty good.

  • Cali Mike

    Good to know Roger’s message is still being heard.

    “It seems that the party of ‘throw the bums out’ is finally taking hold, and significant mistrust of all establishment politicians, regardless of party affiliation, is growing.” – my favorite line of the post. It’s about time. Whether through vote or bodybag, it’s time to go.

  • Old Hippie

    “Party of ‘throw the bums out’?” Sadly, Simon, the bums will not go gentle into that good night. They will burn and rave at close of their day, and it is we, the people, who are going to bear the brunt of it.

  • Des Goh

    Simon, you do a great job thanks for your insights. However, one thing, how long must we hear about Hairdresser story? Its now a way tired tabloid piece done by the NYT and used by the US financial news channels taken way out of porportion. Media and their bankster clients on wall street squeezed every penny out of this trade in Europe…..
    How about a focus on the disasaster in the US pension and state fiscal affairs (not to mention Fed budget). Now thats the real outrage, not a few hairdressers

    Euro is now above 133 and although not perfect there were several Euro Bond offerings completed in last few weeks, why no mention by US Financial press who was obsessed during first 6 months of the year with Europe.

    Its about time they start focuses on their problems and stop lecturing Europe and China on their currency. Any by the way, stop creating wars all over the world.

  • As Planned 5

    Dear Simon,

    Speaking of PIIGS, remember Floyds ’77 alblum Animals? “Hey you white house HA HA Charade you are”.


    Mr. Hamilton

    PS Absolutely no relation to the rothchild agent; alexander hamilton.

    PSS Shine on you Sovereign Diamond.

    • Alvin-San


      How do we KNOW that Hamilton was such an agent? Quite the accusation; means these moe foes were in place from the GIT. No surprise, really; but disturbing, nevertheless.

      How do we know?

      Thanks. :>

  • Elai

    I hope the non pay wall side will still have practical stuff and not become mostly political and abstract :( Don’t go steve pavlina on me simon.

  • Rocketman

    Those who say that those in power will not easily give it up are right. Expect that before things get better (if they do at all) things are going to get much worse. Simon is right that you need to get your money out of Amerika if you can. Look at different countries that you want to settle in and learn the local language if you have the time. And warn your friends and family to keep track of what the government is doing so that they can make the same preparations.

  • Ietalon

    Wow, I am sorry that I missed this one. As a child of the sixties which puts me in my late sixties chronologically and in Wien geographically, Rogers performance sounds like one of those milestone events.I have been to some of the others in days long past and I have always believed that my generations history was written in the music. A short note to fellow SManners, Das Vault has sold out of the two smaller box sizes and now only has the larger sizes available. I guess that you can saw that Simon does a great job of promotion, maybe to great,or maybe its just another brick in the wall. ietalon in Vienna

  • Justen Robertson

    The real question is: what direction will it take people in? Vietnam left the truly disillusioned to languish on the sidelines while the neo-liberal movement filled the political vacuum. Today’s younger generation is strongly sympathetic to (real) libertarian values; it could finally be time for them to take center stage. I’m extremely skeptical of the U.S. tea party crowd, but fortunately I’m not riding on the hope that they’ll be effective either – I don’t think the new revolution is going to be U.S. centric.

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