You are on page 1of 3

Two Doles and Some Forgiveness There are many pacts of mutual dependency, some good, some not

so. Let's have a look a couple that are not so good, and which are vaguely related. We'll start with the global, then look at the local. The Middle East supplies us with cheap oil. There is oil elsewhere in world, but it hasnt come onto the market yet because it is too expensive for us to extract. Over many happy decades our industry, and our societies, ha ve got used to this cheap oil. So used to it that it is now a question whether we could convert to the more expensive stuff, which is soon to be the only oil there is. Without oil, we are capable of no economic activity at all. The West is on a petroleum dole, which the Arabs (and Russians and Venezuelans ) are kind enough to supply. So far, we do not resent being on this dole, and they do not resent supplying it. But this is another dole which flows the other way. The Middle East does not feed itself. Both the rich oil -exporters, with their smaller popula tions, like Saudi and the Gulf States, and the poor oil-importers with their larger populations, like Egypt and Syria, import their food. The Middle East relies on the grain dole from grain exporting countries, which chiefly means from the United States. In Egypt and Syria, food makes up more than half household budgets, so rises in the price of bread and other necessi ties can quickly create panic. Rising grain prices, caused by some poor harvests and by Chinas growing demand and exacerbated by speculation, will continue to cause upheaval in the Middle East. Political instability would keep the oil price volatile. Then there is the fact that there is no more cheap oil to pump. We have reached the ceiling at least of the cheap oil. Not even Saudi Arabia, that Western stooge, can increase the amount it is pumping to save us the West from economic implosion. Its rulers know that if the West suffers a depression there will be less demand for the oil and so reduced revenues to pay for domestic peace in Saudi Arabia. So, if they don't grow their own food, dont have an adequate agriculture (and certa inly not an adequate industry) what do these Middle Eastern countries do? You know the answer to that. They have babies. This the advantage of Islam: it is unasham ed and easily-enforced patriarchy. Women are unable to say no to it, so child -bearing is their lot. The Western grain dole to the Middle East has subsidised a decades -long population explosion. Unfortunately these large poor populations are so undeveloped economically that they are unable to buy our services, so we cannot help them and they cannot help us to grow out of our dependencies. If these countries don't have oil, or can't pump more oil, and dont have other industrial sectors, what is to stop these populations from sinking into destitution? But it could be that the United States and the rest of us are now so dependent on oil that is cheap, that we also vulnerable to sudden price movements. Could we adapt in time to the steep climb in oil price that would make US shale oils become economical to extract ? The disappearance of the cheap oil could be so sudden that we cannot make the technological switch quickly enough to bring the more difficult, more expensive to extract, reserves on line. If price rises take oil beyond the reach of a large proportion of the population, they will be out of work, and soon living a much more hand -to-mouth existence. Even if oil became cheaper again, there would not be equivalent return of demand through re -investment and re-hiring. The damage would have been done. If the Middle East had a stronger political culture, the oil price might have been pushed up so steadily over a long enough period that we could all have reduced our dependence on it. Closer to home there is ano ther one-way dependency is at work. Here in the UK every corner shop is owned and run by Pakistanis, Indians, or in my part of London, by Turks. These Muslims (together with Hindus and Sikhs to be sure) keep those corner shops open. Every evening you will see the British going out to buy their alcohol from Muslims. Those who despise alcohol sell it. It is another of those se lf-hatred pacts that have turned into a mutual-contempt pact. They sell this alcohol to single white men who , having no family of

their own, live alone, and need the alcohol in order to experience a few hours escape from possessive individualism into the solidarity of the tribe. If you are still on your own, or on your own again, in your forties you need a certain amount of alcohol. You h ave control the feeling that everyone else is part of a family, that you have been discarded and are the only one who is on their own. A few beers keep at bay that dread sense that you are either repugnant or invisible to everyone else in the street. So we here in the UK are entirely dependent on the extended family , albeit the Asian family . Every street in the UK has a corner shop, where you buy the booze that helps you out of isolation and into the great tribe of the happy. Without these corner shops, t herefore, many British people would never experience any sense of being members of the group. Unlike the rest of us, Asians live and work in extended families. In the three -generation household, grandparents look after grandchildren freeing up parents so that they can keep these shops open all hours. In the extended family every adult works without taking a wage out of the business, and this is what allows these corner shops to remain open. The British nuclear family, made of husband and wife alone, cannot keep up the eighteen hour days, cannot afford to pay staff from these small takings, and probably cannot endure the boredom of taking a large number of very small value transactions from the drunk or disturbed. So, since they are dependent on staying happ y through the services of corner shop, which is manned by them, the British are entirely dependent on the extended family . They are not dependent on their own family, but someone elses. Now back to that other dependency. What happens if we consume our wa y through all the cheap oil? Remember it is the political weakness of the Middle East, not unrelated to Islams inability to allow developed political institutions, that has meant that oil has been kept so cheap for so long. This means that we will not ex perience a long slow rise i n the price of oil, but a sudden and rapid one, perhaps too rapid to give our economy time to adjust. Many will be thrown out of work. What happens to this out -of-work population? If they think that this is all the fault of other people, of capitalism and government, there will be political upheaval, and lawlessness and violence. Each of us will find a new family in the mob. But mostly, each of them will believe that their circumstances are the result of their own personal inadeq uacy. Then each will retreat to the chair before the TV and drink themselves to death , drink becoming more important in home or food, so that they disappear individually, and no one notices. Everyone is talking about default and forgiveness. Debt forgiven ess means debt cancellation. We could write down one anothers mortgages, or, if we delay because we realise what this will cost us, that debt will be defaulted on and repudiated entirely anyway. This would mean that all our savings and pensions disappear at a stroke, large numbers of us become destitute and the country goes into economic depression. So, for those who are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning, forgiveness is not without cost. We have put one another on two sets of doles. Th e older have put the young into more debt than they can carry, and making unlikely that the young will succeed economically , and more likely that they will default on their debts to the old. By placing such levels of debt onto the young the old have put themselves into danger. The Westerners have give up the extended family, but have made their own children dependent on the liquid comfort provided by our corner shops, thereby ensuring that those extended Asian families will inherit the high street though theirs may also be the only business still open there. And Westerners have made it more difficult to take their cheap oil dole from the Middle East . They have subsidised and supported population s which are so weak politically that they could not push up the price enough in order to hang onto their oil reserves, and so weak economically that they could not prevent even what agriculture they did have from being destroyed by cheap imported grain. So doles are not good. They make dependent populations even mo re dependent. This is as true for oil -dependent Western nations as it is for bread -dependent Arab ones.

You can see where I am going with this. Let us all learn from the Asians. A three -generation family keeps more of the product of its labour in house and so is less exposed to volatile prices, of oil in particular. Let us go back to our parents, and say Parents, I have sinned against you and am no more worthy to be called your son. Indicate that you have nowhere else to go, and that you will be reliev ed if they let you live in the garden shed. You have to explain the new economic conditions to them, and hint that your circumstances are not just a result of your own fecklessness. Over time it might even occur to them that they could ask for your forgiveness, since they have granted themselves pension entitlements that have shoved their own offspring into debt bondage, so that the world of opportunity, which we all so recently took for granted, has now disappeared. I have been a life -long beneficiary of forgiveness myself. But I do know that to get forgiveness you will have to apply for the garden shed. If we can crawl back together to become three-generation families we will not be quite so exposed as all these various doles come to an end. The three -generation family is the future. I hope you find your own.