The future of the immigration debate

Over the last decades the immigration debate has focused on the clash of civilizations. Christian Europe, versus the Islamic migrants from the Middle-East. Algerians in France, Pakistanis in the United Kingdom, and Turks in Germany. The major groups that disturbed that demographics of Western Europe have all had in common that they are Islamic. The anti-immigration political parties have embraced this, and have portrayed Islam, rather than immigration, as being the problem. Most immigration challenges focus around religion and the barrier it forms to successful integration. Right-wing parties have been able to use this as a defense against claims of racism. Islam, clearly, is not a race, it is an ideology. This becomes apparent when we look at one of the quotes from the Dutch Party for Freedom’s leader Geert Wilders, “Islam is the Trojan Horse in Europe. If we do not stop Islamification now, Eurabia and Netherabia will just be a matter of time. One century ago, there were approximately 50 Muslims in the Netherlands, today, there are about 1 million. Where will it end? We are heading for the end of European and Dutch civilisation as we know it.” Wilders does not talk about falling birth rates or the percentage of the population that is foreign half as much as he talks about the problem of Islam. 

We are nevertheless experiencing a shift. The Middle East and North Africa have a relatively small population, countries like Libya and Lebanon have under seven million inhabitants each. The most populous country in that group is Egypt, but that is not the country where immigrants are coming from. A country like Syria only has seventeen million inhabitants. We shouldn’t jump to the wrong conclusion that immigrants will continue to arrive in Europe from these areas. There is a bigger source. Yes, we’re talking about Africa. Sub-Saharan Africa. 
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Eternal tilting at windmills

On February 18, UN Secretary General António Guterres graced the world with another of his many uplifting speeches. Of the limited range of topics that are routinely broached – climate change, discrimination, the pandemic and racism – he chose to focus on the last of the mentioned. It went something like this: Ladies and gentlemen, in case you have not noticed, (which is even absurd to assume but never mind) racism plagues our world. Then António Guterres – in the Alfred Hitchcock style: first an earthquake, then the tension rises – hyporbelised this breathtaking gambit with the usual adjectives to the tune of “abhorrent”, “ugly”, and the noun “repudiation”. Racism – despite decades of reeducating the humanity and despite the Charter of the United Nations – is !everywhere! and so it will take a long time to combat it. The top representative of humanity went on to appealing to his worldwide audience that it must – without reservation, without hesitation, without qualification – reject and condemn racism which still permeates institutions, social structures and everyday life. Furthermore, António Guterres said that although racism, a repudiation of our common humanity, is deeply entrenched in centuries of colonialism and slavery and is a complex cultural phenomenon, especially because our world is letting go of the primacy of reason, tolerance and mutual respect, leaving place for – yes, of course – growing anti-Semitism, anti-Muslim hatred (some undefined minority Christian groups have also been thrown in), intolerance and – yes, again an easy guess – xenophobia, which, again is everywhere, around the world. António Guterres coupled the above mentioned phenomena with the COVID-19 pandemic, which exposed the inequalities, systematic prejudice and discrimination against marginalized, racial and ethnic groups, against – surprise, surprise – gender, age, class, caste, religion, disability, sexual orientation as if we all did not know this string of adjectives by heart by now.

The solution? There you have it. António Guterres says that we must build a better world (since the dawn of history we are nothing but engaged in building a better world), forge a new social contract (is António Guterres another embodiment of Jean-Jacques Rousseau?) based on – now the usual fashionable buzz words – inclusivity and sustainability; we must invest in social cohesion (obviously by) making societies more and more diverse, more and more multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural. People must be made to see the benefits of diversity rather than perceiving it as a threat.
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Gefira 51: Financial and Ideological Foundations of the World

Precious metals have given rise to money as we know it. It all began with pieces of silver, copper and gold, later normalised in the form of coins of various sizes, with effigies of mighty men and various legend on the obverse and the reverse. Right from the start, the economic pressure made rulers – monarchs or democratic leaders alike – tamper with the gold or silver content of the coins in circulation, which gradually prompted financiers to divorce money from precious metals. Eventually, money could be multiplied in infinite amounts. Present-day technology makes it even easier: you can create new money by clicking the computer mouse! Precious metals have apparently lost in meaning, or have they?

Financial matters are but one of the pillars supporting our civilisation; ideology is the other. Its impact cannot be overestimated. It shapes the collective mind with which it controls human behaviour. Recently three spheres of life have become targets of this unrivalled ideological attack: the planet earth, sex or gender and race. We may not be fully aware of the changes that the world has undergone and is undergoing, but we have simple means with which to investigate this enormous societal, moral and political transformation. Everyone can afford it on an individual basis and draw a comparison. The current issue of Gefira reveals how and gathers the vocabulary which shows the profound and startling though not yet complete transformation of the collective psyche that has taken place.

 

Gefira Financial Bulletin #51 is available now

  • Financial and Ideological Foundations of the World
  • Money glut in America, precious metals and uranium on the rise
  • The Profound Change in Collective Mentality
  • What makes the gold and silver markets tick?

The euro failed during the pandemic

Responsible entrepreneurship by Central and Eastern European companies protected the countries of this part of Europe during the pandemic. Eurozone countries did much worse and are recovering more slowly. What or who is responsible for this?

Polish economy recovered from the misery of the previous year in such a way that 97.2% of the state of the economy before the pandemic was reached again. President of the Polish Stock Exchange Marek Dietl said it was thanks to the unique adaptability of Polish entrepreneurs. According to Dietl, the entrepreneurs knew how to make clever use of state aid, among other things. Industrial production in Poland in December 2020 actually rose by 11.2% compared to the previous year.The fact is: Poland’s export surplus is increasing. Fact is: the Czech Republic has the lowest unemployment in the EU at the moment. Fact is: the country’s own currency limits potential trade deficits. During the same period, the Eurozone economy, which is 10 times larger than Poland’s, only recovered to 93.2% of its pre-Covid state (after all, judging by the figures, you would never guess how much larger the Eurozone is than Poland).
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Can David win against Goliath? – The Storm on Wall Street

After the storming of the Capitol, there is now a big commotion on Wall Street. This time it is not the supporters of the Occupy Wall Street movement who are trying to storm the fortress of the financial world. It is small investors who are hurling a stone at the big funds.

Hedge funds – that’s what we’re talking about – are actively managed funds whose goal is to achieve the highest possible return regardless of market developments. This is achieved by hedging (hence their name) their shares, bonds, their investments in commodities, foreign exchange and other assets. Most of the time, funds hedge by buying what are called shorts on their investments. It works like this: they buy, for example, shares of a company within a longer period for a total of 1 billion dollars, usually when they are undervalued, which raises the price of those shares, which in turn attracts small investors. At this point the funds get rid of their shares and take a short position by borrowing the shares from an institutional investor like a pension fund and selling them on the market pushing the price down. To return the shares to the pension fund, they repurchase them at a lower price.

Because the price falls, the small investors lose their money and the funds in turn collect money because it sold the shares at a high price and recollect them at a lower price. Sometimes, however, they act the other way around, when they have “missed” an interesting “asset” that is largely owned by small investors. In such cases they start to sell borrowed stocks so that these small fish panic and get rid of their shares and the big sharks can take them over at lower prices. Not only pension funds but also other assets kept at broker accounts are borrowed to hedge funds without the knowledge of the owner, the pensioner or the retail investor. The whole mechanism is against the interest of the stock owner or pensioner, but generates some extra profit, in the form of a lending fee, for the custodian of the stocks.

The hedge funds have huge sums of money and so they can actually manipulate the price at will. What makes hedge funds risky is that they have little equity, and function largely through leverage (mostly from large investors or banks) on credit. In addition, hedge funds are often operated as offshore funds and are located in the Cayman Islands or Bermuda i.e. places where the financial sector is less regulated by law than elsewhere.
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Consider the log in your own eye

In 2020, Chinese parliament passed a new civil code that went into force on January 1, 2021. The new regulations contain a social credit system which is designed as a set of incentives and disincentives in the field of social behaviour. At the start each citizen is granted 1.000 points. Then a prescribed number of points is either subtracted from or added to this sum for a negative or positive act on the part of an individual. People with social ratings exceeding the initial 1.000 are awarded with all sorts of preferential treatment in banks and offices, whereas those whose initial sum of points dwindles encounter all manner of punitive measures like having difficulties taking out a loan or having worse employment opportunities. What kind of behaviour is rewarded?

Duty towards the state, which is mainly the timely payment of liabilities (taxes, credits, bills); duty towards society, which is the compliance with the law, participation in social events, care of one’s parents, having the allowable number of children, criminal record; and the individual’s activity in the net (behaviour towards other users, reliability of the information posted, purchases made and the like. The three categories are subjected to an algorithm which determines the social rating of a citizen. This in turn facilitates or impedes an individual’s efforts in terms of the availability of social services, price of credit, access to good education, travel abroad, employment or career in state-run institutions. The social rating system is made possible by heavy monitoring, by the hundreds of thousands of cameras, by the internet, and by overall data gathering.

The Western media have raised alarm and struck fear into the hearts of Europeans and Americans. It surpasses George Orwell’s predictions! It is Aldous Huxley’s brave new world in the making! China’s inhabitants are held on a tight leash while the uppity communist rulers wielding unbridled power step in with might and main to crush the vestiges of individual freedom by naming and shaming, by placing citizens under a round-the-clock surveillance and making their well-being conditional on complying with the state (party) requirements. A big kindergarten for adults to say the least, an ominous digital concentration camp to say it openly.
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Gefira #50 Lords of the World

Gefira 50 directs the reader’s attention to the movers of the world. Presidents, prime ministers and chancellors (even those referred to as Empress of Europe) are not the real leaders of their countries. Rather, they are chief executive officers of particular enterprises that go by the name of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic or any other. Monarchs that used to rule over their countries my be gone, yet they have not been replaced by democratically elected officials. To be precise, they have, but only superfluously. Real power remains in the hands of the few very rich individuals who hold their term – like the monarchs of yesteryear – till their dying days.

Attentive individuals have long seen through the political systems and when they began voicing their opinion about them, they were mercilessly dismissed as followers or creators of conspiracy theories. These days, billions around the globe have seen it plainly: it is Mark Zuckerberg rather than Donald Trump, who has the final say. It is the former who could silence the latter in the twinkling of an eye, not the other way round. It is George Soros, a naturalized American citizen, who can publicly call the American president a danger to the world and get off Scot-free. He has not and will not face impeachment or anything of the same caliber; rather, it is the American president who is about to face his second impeachment.

Which is the reason why Gefira 50 delves into societies, institutions and organisations which operate behind the scenes. The few most important that were caught in our cross hairs certainly are merely the tip of the iceberg. The secrecy that envelops them and the fact that their activities are barely known to the public only implies that there must also be deep structures of whose operations we have no idea but whose existence we should – we must – reasonably infer or else we will never understand why politicians change their mind from one day to another, why certain individuals are suddenly in the spotlight of the media and become presidents or prime ministers while others disappear from public attention overnight.

The recent events in the United States along with the racial tensions that have been mounting there for decades bode ill for the country located between the oceans. The fault lines – political, social and economic – run deeper and deeper while the rapidly changing ethnic composition of the people collectively known as Americans only accelerates the process of inevitable disintegration. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are vivid even if dramatic recent illustrations of a dissolution of a state, while South Africa shows what future has in store for white Americans.

 

Gefira Financial Bulletin #50 is available now

  • Where is the Future Forged
    for Us
  • American Civil War
  • What awaits us in 2021?