Global Analysis from the European Perspective. Preparing for the world of tomorrow




UKRAINE: Are we in for a white revolution, assassination or coup d’etat?

“I request you to release of duty the head of security, the attorney general and the minister of the defence,” said Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in his inaugural speech which he delivered on 20th of May. Were the head of security, the attorney general and the minister of the defence listening? Obviously they were and this might spring them into action. Is it only their posts that the new president is after? Or their heads as well?

While addressing both houses of parliament, Volodymyr Zelensky appealed to the deputies to have new laws passed abolishing the immunity of the members of the legislative and imposing severe punishments for those who have enriched themselves illegally. Ultimately, much to the disbelief of the present, the new head of state said he was dissolving parliament with immediate effect, which means that also the deputies have just lost their well-paying jobs.

Will a coalition form between them and the three ministers who already know they are not tolerated by Volodymyr Zelensky? Is what the new president said a show of political zeal for his so numerous voters (73% of the ballot)? Is he backed by such strong powers that he does not need to reckon with the consequences?

Pundits have been and are still pointing to the political inexperience of the new president. Inexperienced he might well be, but even so would he be acting so foolishly right at the start of his tenure, turning his potential allies and important figures into his bitter enemies? Or were they his bitter enemies anyway and Volodymyr Zelensky merely forestalled their insidious action that is brewing anyway?
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The coming end of the Finnish welfare system

Author : Max Stucki

At the time of writing this, the negotiations to form the next Finnish government are in full swing. Currently, a red-green coalition, aided by either the liberal conservative National Coalition Party or the centrist-agrarian Center Party, seems a likely option. However, nothing is certain since the elections produced no clear winner. The three largest parties all gathered around 17% of the votes indicating a fractured electoral base. The negotiations might actually continue for some time to come.

The elections campaigns and debates were characterized by two things. First, there was much speculation regarding the popularity of the national conservative Finns Party, which changed its leadership in 2017 causing a split within the party. Second, the climate change was a major issue, which was extensively discussed and gained much visibility during the campaigning.

Both themes become understandable when considering the largely leftist-green discourse within the Finnish media. The rise of the Finns Party was feared, as its success could undermine the visions of the idealists inhabiting the larger cities, especially Helsinki and its surroundings. The climate change, on the other hand, was shamelessly utilized as a political tool to win votes of those struck by the climate anxiety.

It is telling, that the politicians were discussing with straight faces how Finland could work to stop the climate change. The notion that Finland with its puny population of 5,5 million could affect the climate in any meaningful way is demonstrably absurd, even insane. So, either the Finnish politicians have utterly lost their touch with the reality, or become mad, or are cynically lying. Given the track record of politicians in general, the last option is the likeliest one, which just proves the fact that in order to be a successful politician, one needs an utter and condescending contempt towards the voters. Otherwise the talk about the climate change remains incomprehensible. Continue reading

A criminal phenomenon

AN INTERVIEW WITH FRANCESCA TOTOLO

“Never before has a criminal phenomenon enjoyed widespread international support by governments, political parties, religious and civilian organizations, popular opinion, and never before has a sovereign state renounced to exercise control over its borders.”

These opening words by Gianandrea Gaiani are a fitting introduction to Francesca Totolo’s latest book Inferno Spa. Gaiani is no stranger to the business of illegal immigration, being an author of several books on the subject. He was interviewed by Gefira in 2017 when the Italian government was then still a center-left pro-migrants coalition. Totolo has agreed to an exclusive interview for Gefira and we recently met her in Florence, where she was presenting her new book.

Francesca Totolo is a freelance investigative journalist and collaborates with a variety of Italian and international press agencies and websites. Her investigations have been published both in Italy and abroad. We could easily call Totolo a diligent – and outspoken – journalist as her new book, which she wrote with Dante’s Inferno in mind, involves just that: solid, painstaking, diligent research and fact-checking. The result is the equivalent of an encyclopedia of who’s who in the business (Spa is the Italian acronym for joint-stock company, equivalent of the German AG) of the immigrants’ industry, an industry which moves an unending flow of human beings and money.
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Ukrainians force themselves to speak Ukrainian (to inform the whole world that they are a separate nation)

Two recent events. One: Ukrainian parliament passed a law imposing the use of the Ukrainian language. Two: almost concurrently Moscow introduced a law within the meaning of which residents of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics may apply for Russian citizenship.

The law on language makes it mandatory that Ukrainian be spoken in all public places, that 90% of TV output and at least 50% of printed publications be in this language. An observant reader – without further research – will have noticed that at present not even 50% of books are available in Ukrainian. To make things even funnier, the president-elect – Volodymyr Zelenskiy – is a native speaker of Russian and it was Russian which was used almost exclusively in the first season of the TV series in which he played the main role, the role which catapulted him to the presidency. Ukrainian national identity must be in deep trouble if it has to be propped up by such laws.

Imagine a similar law being passed in any of the European Union member states, a law imposing one language and ousting another. What a howl of indignation would be raised with the ready gamut of wild accusations of nationalism, Nazism and chauvinism. Yet, in the case of Ukraine, no one has raised a brow.

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The Japanese disease spreads around the globe

You may have heard about the Japanese disease, a disease that is harrowing the developed world, a disease that sprang up in Japan and so was named accordingly. No? No wonder. It is no biological ailment like HIV or a new form of metastasis. Though, when you come to think of it it is biological after all. It is somehow biological in that people in all the richest and economically advanced countries – be it in Asia, in Europe, in North America or Australia – have long stopped multiplying. Crescite et multiplicamini is no more an option for a citizen of an affluent society. Hedonism is. Whether it is mental or economic, controlled by the powers that be or spontaneous is not the point here. The effects are palpable and that’s what matters. Economies built on debt creation have an urgent need to grow in order to pay off the debt; growth is generated by rising consumption; consumption means demand and it is humans, especially young, who stimulate demand. The young are on the decline. With every year, every decade. True, the life expectation in the developed countries is far longer than elsewhere in the world but it is not the old people who boost demand. Old people have bought what they needed and that’s basically it. Oh yes, they create one kind of demand: for medical care, but this is paid for by the whole of society.

Gefira Financial Bulletin #33 is available now

  • The Japanese disease spreads around the globe
  • China: The October Revolution: déjà vu?
  • Expropriation – a policy of long standing

Few young people translate into small demand, which means no economic boost, hence no growth, all of which resulting in an ever growing debt. What is to be done? There are a few ways out of this trouble. Idea number one: import young people from the rest of the world. Idea number two: make the members of the middle class pay through their noses to alleviate the burden that the whole society must carry. And forge an apt and convincing ideology to make all this work in the minds of citizens. Are foreigners flooding Western Europe and the United States. Enrichment and a human obligation to help humans in distress. Negative interest rates and higher taxes? Social solidarity. Surely nobody is against such highbrow ideals?

In this Gefira issue we draw our readers’ attention to the Japanese disease mentioned above and what it entails. Effects have their causes. Once white Europeans have decided to stop having children, that’s ok, but then they must say farewell to affluent society or… or try to make up for the lost numbers the unborn scions: they must adopt the “refuse of the earth” as it is inscribed on the plinth of the Statue of Liberty. And give up on some of your accumulated riches. The West has saved a lot by not having children, and now it needs to give a lot away to provide for the ageing society and keep it alive. If crescite et multiplicamini had been given the pride of place on the list of the modern man’s priorities, he would not be in the present plight. Alas! Read more in Gefira 33

Problems with the labor market and the shrinking middle class in the USA

Most economists are delighted with the situation on the labour market of the world’s largest economy and hardly want to hear about the vision of a recession. They believe that the unemployment rate below 4% (which has been around for over a year) and a sustained increase in new jobs are evidence of the strength of the economy.

They also rejoice because such low unemployment was achieved with moderate household indebtedness. Economists believe that the process if maintained should continue to encourage the optimism of most consumers and encourage them to consume. Until consumers fall into the euphoria of spending (which has always been a harbinger of a crisis or recession), there are still a few quarters of consumption growth ahead of us. The increase will not result from rising salaries, as at such levels salary increases are only possible at a moderate pace, but from the rising household debt, which would be willing to take out loans in such an economic environment.
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Decades of laissez-faire in Europe or the destruction of the middle class

The EU elites pay homage to the laissez-faire of liberalism. They have been deregulating and “liberating” the market for 30 years. The Western governments also follow the philosophy and hardly intervene in the market. There is only one authority that can intervene effectively in the EU: the ECB. Globalisation since the 1980s, as well as the liberation of trade and human traffic, has enabled a violent increase in world GDP and the enrichment of corporations. For emerging economies such as India or China, this was an opportunity to get out of poverty. The liberals, however, who had a global village and human happiness on their banner, were basically interested in opening up the large Asian markets for their products. The tools of these elites, the World Trade Organization and the IMF, ensured that the middle class grew in emerging countries and thus the sales markets for European corporations. Their bosses would probably say: it is a pity that India and China are not allowed to join the EU.

Awesome! In any case, the West monetized Asia’s cheap labour in this way. At the same time, the middle class in China, India, South Korea and other tigers grew, but at the expense of the European workforce and middle class, which were virtually cut off from liberal profits. While corporate profits, and hence GDPs, skyrocketed, real wages did not rise and wealth was concentrated among elites and their lobbyists. This process was accelerated by the reforms of the 2000s: in Germany at that time the reforms of the left-liberal coalitions were supposed to create more jobs for people through unusual forms of employment (mini-jobs, temporary work, fixed-term contracts, etc.), which led to the fact that even today there are more and more people with low incomes in abnormal working conditions. “The middle class has shrunk from 48 per cent in the period 1995-99 to 41 per cent in 2014-15.

The latest SPD proposals (4 billion for housing, 5 billion for the long-term unemployed, etc.) will not stop this process as they propose redistribution in favour of the underclass. Macron, on the other hand, wants to tax the middle class even more and ignores its intelligent, healthy core – the teachers. Awesome! Meanwhile, the two states mentioned, Germany and France, are swimming in money according to mainstream media. In the USA, the incomes of the richest top class (1%) of society reached the level of 1929, the time before the great crisis. Continue reading

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Gefira-Bulletin #34

The Middle East – a large cake stretching from Turkey to Afghanistan, and from Egypt to Oman – was torn away from the once great and Ottoman Empire in the wake of the First World War and then carved up arbitrarily by the victorious French and the British, who were subsequently busy creating “nations” by drawing – at times – straight-line borders and setting up a Jewish state, absent from the region for roughly two millenniums. After the Second World War the Middle East was a playground for proxy wars fought initially by the United States and the Soviet Union, and then, after 1991, between the United States and Russia with China making first modest inroads. Over that period the population of the particular states shot up three- four- and even tenfold, the hostilities displaced hundreds of thousands, at first mainly Palestinians, recently Syrians, part of whom have made their way to Europe.

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The tensions between the United States and the majority of the Arab world overlap with those between Saudi Arabia (an American ally) and (anti-American) Iran, both striving for gaining a dominant position in the region. Russian inactivity for almost two decades has been replaced with Moscow's successful intervention in Syria, bringing about a more favourable attitude of the Islamic countries towards Russia, with even Turkey – a NATO member – considering the purchase of Russian military equipment. Israel, an entrenched country, has been waging mainly a successful protracted war against its closer and farther neighbours, while multiplying its settlements in the West Bank and enjoying the unwavering friendship and of Washington with whom it is likely to provoke a military conflict between Riyadh and Tehran.

Gefira-Bulletin #33

The Gefira team has envisioned 2020 as the beginning of the new crisis, a crisis that will be deeper and more painful than the previous one. The European economies have already begun to falter. In a joint statement last month, five German institutes (DIW, ifo, IfW, IWH and RWI) said they were reducing their autumn forecast of 1.9% growth for Europe’s largest economy downward to 0.8% after concluding “political risks have further clouded the global economic environment.” Many argue that the downturn is due to Brexit, populism or Yellow-Vest protesters.

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The next economic contraction has been in the cards for twenty years. Economists, policy makers, and journalists do not dare to talk about the rot eating away at Western societies. What lies behind the all-encompassing political correctness is anybody's guess. The numbers and the data are out there for everybody to see. However, presenting reality as it is is equivalent to picking your way through a minefield, so that even the alternative economists do not dare to broach the subject.
 
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