Bao's weblog


Meandering thoughts of a Bay Area college student… be prepared for some bipolar vocabulary

I like this video because of the pictures.

Okay, it’s not that I’m trying to make up for my recent lack of posts. It’s just that I suddenly find myself wanting to talk about more and more things… which is good for the health of my blog I suppose.

Unlike my former co-blogger Eddie, I’ve avoided discussing politics for the most part. I’ve shied away from this touchy issue because of two reasons. The first is because I’m afraid of embarrassing myself and the second is because politics is a touchy issue for Americans who, thanks to Audrey and the stats counter she recommended me, represent the majority of my readers. Believe it or not, Americans regularly discuss politics, at least as much as our sophisticated European counterparts, if not more so. (If you wish to express disbelief, please do so in the form of a polite comment below. I will then back up my claim with my political science textbook, which is located in the back of my car and I’m too lazy to take out right now).  This is a very ironic fact considering the number of people who vote in the United States, the world’s premier example of democracy, is extremely dismal.


I ran across this video today and found it interesting. But to be honest, I have no idea what to think of it.

The way he states the current problem seems to be an oversimplification. I also have to admit that I’m a little biased. As intelligent as this guy sounds, we as Americans have been taught that capitalism is awesome. Whenever it fails, we discuss ways to fix it. I’m sure I’ve never even thought about replacing the system.

Stop reading here. No? Okay, but I warned you.

Here’s what I’m seeing so far. Again, politics is a very sensitive issue, so be civilized if you decide to comment, whether you agree or disagree. Here’s a sheltered American taking a brave stab at comprehending the financial issue of a continent thousands of miles away.

Us Americans think we have it bad. Our debt is currently sixty percent of our GDP. National unemployment is around 9.1% while in California, it’s fucking 12%. Did you know that the Greek debt is one hundred forty percent of it’s GDP? Other countries in the EU aren’t doing so hot either; the only country that seems to have its act together is Germany. Hmm, I remember hearing on the radio that members of Europe came to the United States for advice on fiscal matters. I believe it was the Spanish Prime Minister stating that asking the United States for help, considering we’re in massive debt to China, as stupid. Ugh, anti-American sentiment everywhere… why do they hate us? He raises a good point, but his country currently isn’t doing as well either; the Spanish unemployment rate is 21%. We’re freaking out at 9.1%. I believe Spanish debt is also 60-something percent of its GDP, on par with the U.S.

One of my political science professors said that at this very moment, the Euro has a 50% chance of failing. Apparently if the Euro collapses, the currency that would be the best off is the Deutschmark. The Greek currency, the drachma, would lose over half of its buying power. Actually, Germany is in a position to bring Europe out of this crisis. The weird thing is that Germany asks for control of other countries’ fiscal decisions. Apparently, the EU has no central control over other countries’ fiscal matters, despite being able to set up individual interest rates for each country should they decide to borrow Euros. Germany, with her currently thriving economy, is being refused for many reasons, such as the fear of the rise of The Fourth Reich, national pride, etc. You’re essentially giving away some of your sovereignty if you agree to give control to Germany.

The United States, like it or not, is interdependent with the EU. Yes, even Greece. Sure, our main export to Greece is probably fighter jets for the Hellenic Air Force. But if Greece is holding back the EU, U.S. residents will feel the shock via paycheck cuts. Please don’t ask me how it works; I don’t quite understand it myself. Apparently U.S. banks are connected to European ones somehow.

I don’t know… for me this is a heavy subject to be tackling at 11 p.m. I’m going to backtrack. What do I think of capitalism? I think the problem with it is the financial ingenuity part. Financial ingenuity lets us bypass or sidestep barriers put in place to prevent a crisis in the first place. It’s like how everybody got into debt in the first place. For Americans, it was being able to take out a loan to buy a house with no way of paying back the bank. Greece essentially did the same. The trend is that when times are good, people will let you borrow. But you’re not supposed to! That’s a barrier we just broke!

All in all, I think capitalism works just fine if we just, for once, followed the rules. No cheating. No tax evasion (I think the tax evasion rate in Greece is like 35%…).

But of course, that will never happen will it? Hmm… maybe I should join the 99% movement after all.


Filed under: General

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