Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Euro Disney

If you've ever read the book 'Guns, Germs and Steel' by Jared Diamond you'd know how the west beat out the rest of the world about 500 years ago leading to half a millenium of total domination of everything.

Then came the Oil Crash in 1973/4, an event that in retrospect marked the end of the domination of the west and when compounded by the mega-financial disaster sparked by Lehman Brothers in 2008 confirmed the structural move of real control (you know 'financial control') from the west to the east.   The west no longer has any money to speak of.  Every western country is printing money just about as fast as they can.  OK, the US just finished doing it but the hangover from that will be with us for years. That's not real money.  It's based on past reputation and is largely unsecured.

Most global reserves are in the emerging markets or rather the 'developing world' as political correctness now terms it.  You can see it in every old place you go to.  Even in Europe and we went to two of the best: Canterbury and Venice.

Venice skyline

OK, January isn't the best of times to visit these places as the weather is cold, wet and pretty much nasty.  However it means nobody else goes there, so the lines at all the major attractions are short. That is a good thing.

But really, everywhere we went there were hordes of Asian faces clustered around guides holding umbrellas or signs of some other sort.  The traditional Asian tourist in fact.  You could see them checking everything out politely but really given that the Terracotta Warriors in Xian are 3,000 years old, are they really wondering about these old buildings ... or these new buildings?  

Looking past the superficiality of Europe, the old buildings, the mass of history, all those things that you and I think are just amazing testaments to our growth, there is the reality.  In Italy it is far more obvious.  There's so much old stuff and so many amazing artifacts that there's not enough money to house it all and preserve it all.  Given that average annual earnings are only around 14,000 euros, you can see that these once great nations are in reality paupers.

Lord knows how Greece will fund the necessary R&R on the Parthenon say given their current financial woes.  They're more likely to be leaving the Eurozone than staying.  What damage will that cause?

So, is that our fate?  Will we become the Euro Disney of the world?  The place where people who have money come to look at old buildings where old civilsations like the Romans, the Bourbons, the Hapsburgs and that old queen in England, Victoria, used to exist.  What a prospect!

The British Museum

But what buildings, what culture, what heritage and what history.  


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