August 25, 2014
I was sitting on the plane waiting for take off when the captain came on and uttered words you never want to hear in aviation:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have some bad news.”
It turned out that a German construction crew had dug up some WWII-era unexploded ordnance, and since it was so close to the Frankfurt airport, they were going to have to shut down all air operations until a EOD crew could take care of it.
With such a tight layover, there was no chance I would make my connecting flight to Ethiopia. And that was a major bummer, because I had a lot of meetings to catch in the morning as soon as I landed.
But it got me thinking– World War II ended nearly 70 years ago. Yet the ramifications of this event… and the consequences of a single person’s decisions from decades past… still affect people’s lives to this day.
Sure, the macro picture is clear. Because of World War II, the US became the world’s largest superpower. The dollar became the world’s reserve currency. US banks came to dominate the global financial system.
But even little, simple things were affected.
There we were– a plane full of people trying to get from point A to point B. And we couldn’t. All because, decades ago, Hitler decided to invade his neighbors and dare the world to stop him.
Of course, this wouldn’t have happened if Germany hadn’t been bankrupted after World War I… an obscene, terrible war waged by fatcat politicians who thought it would be a quick, glorious war.
Sitting there for the 90 minute delay, I had all the time in the world to think about this.
These people in charge– the central bankers and politicians– make decisions that have long-lasting implications, both big picture and small.
Even where you’d least expect it… something as simple and innocuous as a routine passenger flight decades later… gets disrupted because of idiotic decisions made today.
And that’s just the small stuff.
The big picture is far worse. Like World War II, the decisions made today have the power to change our way of life forever. It’s already happening.
Because of so many poor decisions made today by US politicians and central bankers, the rest of the world is rapidly starting to drop the dollar as the preferred reserve currency and adopt alternatives.
This is no longer theory or conjecture. It’s happening. And the implications will last through the next century.
Moreover, the decisions that political leaders are making today are turning ‘rich’ western nations into highly extractive economies… exactly the sort of system I see on the ground in Africa.
These are places where a tiny elite takes most of the wealth and privilege for themselves at the expense of everyone else.
In Africa it’s often done at the point of a gun. In the West, the corruption is far more sophisticated. But the theft is there, plain as day for anyone paying attention.
I invite you to explore this with me more in today’s podcast; in addition, I’ll give you my boots on the ground take from Ethiopia and explain how that country is a stark proxy for what’s happening in the West.