Around the world: Problems and remedies

By Johan Galtung

Let us have a look, and see what can be done.

[1] Economies. NYSE is falling; China is consuming, with problems; the West blames China, not itself, for all. The truth is over-reliance on one commodity, oil-gas, hitting vulnerable economies doubly. Steep fall in price: $120-130 to $30-20, close to 1973 from $1 to $10. Steep fall in demand for that globally toxic product; a sign of rationality (but, the other globally toxic product, derivatives for speculation?) The currencies of oil-producers tumble. stocks fall; in Norway to the tune of half the state budget in three weeks (Finansavisen 21Jan 2016).

And over-reliance on trade with vulnerable economies.

Remedies: To become less vulnerable, through [1] more self-reliance nationally and locally, indeed for basic needs like food, [2] fully-fledged economies with primary-secondary-tertiary-quaternary (care for people and nature) sectors. Simple, sustainable rules.

Beyond that: import-export, but with a wide range of countries.

[2] Inequality: The Master, Atkinson’s, analysis of the catastrophic consequences, both high up and low down, is the best. Spiritual aspect is hopelessness, apathy with no project low down; high up ego-centrism devoid of solidarity as project. Sick societies. In 2010 388 persons owned as much as half of humanity, in 2014 80, end 2015 62 (Oxfam).

Remedies: Lift the bottom up, FDR New Deal, welfare states, the Chinese way. Publish the ratio CEO:workers earnings; make above 10:1 illegal, punish, boycott. More cooperatives with CEO-workers rotation.

[3] The third industrial revolution: robotization. Frankenstein’s monster is coming. Another consequence will be massive unemployment.

Remedies: Humans, sapiens-faber-ludens, are creative, productive and playful. We are all three. But we may need life-long guaranteed income for all, covering all basic needs. Humans will reconquer the production, wrestle it from unnecessary-unwanted robots, and enjoy life.

[4] Davos. There they are, those who brought us these problems. With advanced blindness for enormous unmentionable elephants right there: Markets with Capital as the measure of all things; USA that after WWII has killed 20 million in 37 countries to preserve it and expand it.

Aftenposten (25 Jan 2016), a conservative Norwegian daily, deplores the lack of proposals for the robot take-over, quoting Niall Ferguson as saying “not to make us more productive, but to get rid of us”. Dramatic, but irresponsible when unaccompanied by good proposals. Like NATO’s Jens Stoltenberg saying that the world has become more dangerous with no other idea than military posturing, making it even more dangerous. A Davos with no ideas about European Union, nor about the flow of migrants. However, how can anyone expect that those who created the problems will also solve them by undoing themselves?

[5] European Union and the flow of “migrants”. No, Völkerwanderung, massive walking (50 million?) over many years (50?) from devastated regions–by slavery, colonialism, robbery capitalism and wars mainly by the West–to the presumably livable. The culprits are in Western Europe, not Eastern and Northern Europe who understandably refuse. The shadows of history are strong, recent, well known. Your problem!

Remedies: Acknowledge the responsibility, ye colonial powers! An international reconciliation commission could decide on compensations spread out over time, long-lasting like colonialism. And then: Hands off Africa, the Fertile Crescent (mainly Shia), make Israel recognize Palestine with 4 June 1967 borders. And USA: Hands off Latin America.

For the EU: Save Schengen and the euro accepting responsibility, not pushing it onto others (like Norway, Turkey, no members; Greece). Maybe a looser EU with a common, not single currency. And independent foreign policy, more easily done if that US Trojan horse, UK, exits.

[6] Terrorism: in 2000 1,812 attacks; in 2014 13,370; state terrorism did not work. And those who said “kill one, get ten more” were right.

Remedies: Identify the conflicts underlying the violence, and they are many, like the traumas making people walk between continents. And solve them; often clear, obvious, like denouncing and undoing the 1916 Sykes-Picot crime, and the 1893 Durand line crime in Afghanistan.

[7] Islamic State, EU’s counterpart: defensive defense; negotiate.

[8] North Korean hydrogen (or not) bomb: in the hands of Washington: peace treaty, normalization, a Korean peninsula nuclear-free zone. The head of the Swedish-Korean association, Christer Lundgren, is very good on these points (

[9] USA/UK-Ukraine-Russia: read the recently (partly) released Blair- Clinton Dossier on Yeltsin-Putin ( 21 Jan 2016) for almost unbelievable micro-management and conspiracies. Davos level blindness is needed not to sense conspiracies in this world.

Remedies: Stop it, dialogue with Putin on his 8 points, for a smart, cooperative two-part federation in U-kraina – meaning at the border.

[10] East Asia: Yes, the clouds are dark with Article 9 “interpreted” away and obliging Japan to fight with USA in its wars (at least, at last, they stopped calling that “positive peace”). Islands contested by Japan-Russia, Japan-two Koreas, Japan-two Chinas can be shared property, so can income and expenses. The whole region, with Mongolia, could move toward a 7-member Northeast Asian Community.

[11] China: should be praised loudly for linking so much of Eurasia-Africa with its Silk belts, and should be criticized for its South China Sea policy of claiming rights far beyond the UN Law of the Sea.

Remedies: A South China Sea Community, SCSC, along the lines above, limiting navigation access for major foreign naval vessels.

[12] Climate: Ratify COP21. But, more complex than a CO2 problem.

Remedies: Openness for more complexity; for more innovations.

[13] USA: Withdraw ally support. North American region. Bernie Sanders even with foreign policy unknown; Hillary-Trump being known disasters.

Originally published by Transcend Media Service here.

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