Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Printing passion poses problems

Passionate printing of money has consequences, even when a country commands global reserve currency like the US. When it comes to creating money out of thin air, it is not like ‘the sky is the limit’ kind of thing. Even in the ludicrous universe of money printing, caution must still be exercised to avoid hyperinflation. Zimbabwe and Venezuela come to mind. Printing of money out of thin air will always have delayed latent effects, even when done prudently. Phony money driven growth (in the world of the rich) or so-called development (in the case of the wretched) is what ails the current global economy. Obviously the rich states should have known better, given their core position in the world system. Unfortunately, these states refuse to reconcile their infantile economic (and other) desires about life with the reality of a finite planet!

The PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) of the European Union are in particular trouble; to say nothing about the impending crisis we are going to face here on our continent. Money printing when considered as the only way out of troubling situations can have serious consequences in the long run. Greece is a member of the OECD, a club of rich countries, and yet, it is going through very hard times, just like the rest of us. One of the major reasons is its massive debt! This debt is becoming even more unsustainable by the day, particularly after the TROIKA instituted the so-called adjustment/austerity program. Venezuela sits on top of the largest fossil fuel deposit in the world. Nonetheless, the country is undergoing serious turmoil; even food riots have become everyday occurrences. Brazil is a resource rich country with a not so small modern economy, by any stretch of imagination. In fact, when considered in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), Brazil is amongst the top ten economies in the world. It is also a member of the globally emerging economic block that goes by the name BRICS. Situations have now become quite explosive there.  Grand political corruption, amongst other things, remains the major culprit. Its current economic contraction is unseen since the great depression of the 1930s.The moral of the above stories; in our complex world, the management of economies (and others) should never be left only to the manipulative politicos!

Africa should realize that there is no easy way out or shortcut regarding its development problematic. Continuously trying to resort to palliative measure will only aggravate the situation down the road. Amassing debt as if there is no tomorrow is at best foolish. Unfortunately, Africa’s elites (like many others elsewhere) never seem to conceive their countries or the continent’s future trajectory outside of the laid out temporal trappings, which are not going to bring salvation to  the sheeple. ‘Africa Rising’ is one of this frivolous meme concocted by the power that be to impart a sense of progress, where there is hardly any. The flaunted phony growth is unashamedly based on useless (conspicuous) consumption leveraging massive foreign loans. Such gimmicks only help to fool the sheeple and inflate the elites’ ego. If Africa continues to refuse serious contemplation/study/analysis about its future predicament, its fate is going to be ‘back to the future’, which includes colonialism, direct or otherwise! Today there are a number of African countries that cannot pay salaries to government employees, without resorting to more loans from abroad. The highly talked about ‘growth rate’ figures of many countries are not based on sustainable structural transformation but rather on indexes that don’t mean much to the starving people!

In late modernity, income is/was not growing substantially to allow the consumption of ever-increasing supply of goods and services, all over the world. To balance this imbalance the global regime created credit/debt to increase superficial need. The superficially created demand, compliment of debt created out of thin air, has been sustaining the global economy for almost half a century. By now it is clear to perceptive readers that sustainability is not one of the overriding factors of the modern world system, both in the realm of social existence as well as in the world of the natural, hyped rhetoric aside. Time and again, the world has seen drastic consequences of unexamined, unsustainable naïve undertakings by the politicos resulting in adverse situations! One should acknowledge that in our increasingly complex world system, important matters like economic governance are bound to be unwieldy, to say nothing about the real challenges of limit to growth, ecosystem destruction, etc. Unless we urgently come up with mechanisms to change this archaic arrangement of yesteryears, humanity’s future cannot be assured! As the old poet astutely observed over two centuries ago: “The world owes more than the world can pay.” Ralph Waldo Emerson. Good day!