September 08, 2011
AIX-EN-PROVENCE—I attended a young friend’s wedding to a celebrity DJ in a beautiful tent in an olive grove. Had a short chat with the beautiful Kate Moss and her hubby, followed by some heavy boozing under the disapproving eyes of my two children and their mother. Aix is a beautiful old town with many parts still unspoiled, but it gets crowded over the weekend. I stayed on my boat in Marseilles and really enjoyed myself because of the kids being around. Fun is fun, but September promises not to be so, what with the euro about to collapse along with Greece and the rest of the pigs. Papa Hemingway described going broke as “slowly at first, then all of a sudden.” Today the international system is in dangerous turmoil. The politicians, economists, and CEOs in whose hands our fate lies have all studied at the same Western universities. They remind me of those wise men who ran the communist system some thirty years ago. They were educated and intelligent people who should have been able to diagnose that their ship was headed for the rocks decades before it crashed. But they didn’t because they had all studied at the same universities and had been taught the same “truths,” as it were, about the economy. They were dogmatic, and as a result the system fell apart. Not that anyone really mourned it, but the great Greek economist Taki sees the same parallel with the West today.
It may seem naïve to proclaim the European and American systems’ imminent collapse, but I have never felt as gloomy about our prospects as I do this minute. Perhaps it’s the hangover from Aix, but what is one to think when looking back one sees only lies, chicanery, and greed? As a very wise man wrote in the FT, France and Germany were the first to breach the three-percent rule in 2003 and nothing happened. Then the pigs went wild, with the leading hog, Greece, telling the biggest lies and getting away with them in full knowledge of the rest of the EU. In America a somewhat similar charade took place. The wise man from the FT said the stimulus that was supposed to save the sinking economic ship wound up going to dead people and useless government buildings. Very little went to creating new jobs. In other words, more lies and more waste, with special interests the only winners.