My grandfather was a major male influence in my early life. My dad left when I was so young that I can barely remember him, whilst my mother and sisters were so busy with their feminine intrigues and business, that I was basically left to my own devices and had to fend for myself. Of course, this had the positive effect that the adults accidentally forgot to indoctrinate me with right thinking.
My grandfather was an odd bloke himself. He’d grown up on a farm in the drier north western part of this state and was himself raised by his grandmother during the Great Depression. At that time an epic drought gripped this country and the conditions must have been appalling. Still the old bloke was nobody’s fool, and perhaps due to the exigencies of the time, adults also forgot to indoctrinate him with right thinking.
The old bloke died when I was a young adult, and we never really spoke as equals. Life works out that way sometimes. But after surviving the Great Depression, he sallied forth as a bomber pilot operating out of the UK. He mentioned once to me that he’d been involved in the bombing of the city of Dresden, but mostly he was silent upon the deeds done in those times, unless he was drinking a weird concoction of whiskey and milk with his WWII mates. But if memory serves me correctly, I did not hear regret from the old blokes voice when he spoke of that time.
He was something of a contrast, because after the war he’d returned home and trained as an accountant (it clearly runs in the blood), and then rose through the business ranks to become quite successful (the comparisons to me stop here), eventually working as a director for very large business. I still have the newspaper article upon his life which was published after his death. But despite the wealth and status he commanded, he grew an extensive vegetable garden in his back yard. In fact he’d converted the tennis court at the rear of the house into neat rows of vegetable beds. It was all very orderly, and he had me working hard upon them every Sunday morning for many years.
One day, he remarked to me out of the blue that: ‘those who look ahead, get ahead’. I was probably too young to really understand what the old bloke was going on about, but the words were not lost upon me as I grew older. And the distant echo of those words can still be heard even today. Some incidents in life are like that and the weight of the moment presses down hard upon your existence and the moment becomes impressed upon your soul.
It is worthwhile considering the advice the old bloke gave, for it is as prescient and relevant today, as it was back then.
The land of stuff recently closed the world’s third busiest container port due to the health subject which dare not be named. It’s only just re-opened, but the backlog of stuff would be extraordinary. I’d imagine that the land of stuff was under serious international pressure to reopen the container port for business, but then they had that pesky health subject which dares not be named.
Globalisation has never held much appeal to me. As a policy it seems lazy and entitled. Like my grandfather, I too trained as an accountant, and in my younger days I was employed as a manufacturing accountant. Back in those days the treasurer of this nation described us as a ‘banana republic’ before then lowering the protection tariffs on local manufacturing. Slowly but surely, the manufacturing sector drifted over seas and I had to move to a different area of accounting. It should be noted that the treasurer had a penchant for Ferrari’s, antique clocks and pigs which is perhaps suitably eccentric, but possibly also suggests that he didn’t have to work on a production line in order to put food upon the table (possibly except pork) and a roof over ones head.
These days, in Australia we still manufacture some things, but certainly not as much or as broad a selection as we used to. Thus the shut down of the world’s third largest container port should be ringing alarm bells down here. Due to our dependence on this source, our supply lines of stuff are extraordinarily vulnerable. Unfortunately, the media down here seems vastly more interested in the health subject which dares not be named.
The world seems full of interesting events right now. Like, it’s not every week that your country and it’s allies lose a two decade long war, but that’s what appears to have just happened. Plenty of Australian’s died or were injured in that war and I have no doubts the services folk gave it their all. The problem is that folks in other countries observed that outcome, and the forces arrayed against us, and possibly came to their own conclusions, after all, they are not burdened with right thinking western beliefs.
Speaking of interesting circumstances, our major ally is expanding its money supply at an alarming rate. In less polite terms, expanding the money supply is achieved via printing money out of thin air. And the rate of the expansion of the money supply is alarming and nearing record rates of increase not achieved since my grandfather was a bomber pilot in WWII. Many more learned folks than I suggest that this minor detail doesn’t matter. Here I must politely disagree, it does matter if only because folks in other countries are taking notice of this economic policy, and can effectively counter it.
The other day whilst at the local general store waiting for my take away coffee, I noticed that in the financial newspaper there was a minor article suggesting that a major listed electronics retailer had downgraded its profit forecasts because of the concerns that the land of stuff would not supply the ordered goodies due to the health concern which dares not be named. In fact the article went so far as to suggest that there would be serious supply shortages within months (eg: just in time for Christmas).
It is worth mentioning that the land of stuff takes payment for their goodies with money denominated in a certain allies currency. If the land of stuff wanted to cause economic mayhem, all it need do is throttle the supply of goods – and that was put to the test only just recently with the closure of the container port. One of the main risks with expanding a money supply is that if the amount of stuff doesn’t also increase, then individual people slowly but swiftly begin bidding up prices for what remaining stuff there is to be had. In less polite terms this is known as inflation and historically, it can get out of control pretty quickly. And controlling that beast and expanding the money supply at the same time are really two contradictory economic policies.
The joke of it all, and it isn’t funny at all, but I’m guessing that the land of stuff will quietly off load certain of their foreign currency reserves in order to keep afloat during this time of confusion. Already the Russians have ditched trading in our allies currency, and that was no small matter. Others I guess will follow.
We’re sure set up for some crazy days ahead. For all I know what I’m guessing won’t take place, but it sure looks like one heck of a perilous knife edge to me. But then I was never comfortable with the concept of globalisation. And my grandfathers ghost has been quietly whispering to me of late: ‘those who look ahead, get ahead’.