The Milkmaid, by Vermeer
The Netherlands, a Demographic Wave
A small country in north-western Europe, the Netherlands officially gained its independence in 1648. It is a country that gained its identity by its constant battle against the sea, and it is a battle they have won. Now, the Netherlands face a brand new challenge. Waves of migrants are flooding the country, but a debate on the consequences is rare. As in the rest of the West, migration started after the last world war. Temporary labour migrants came to fill the jobs ”the Dutch did not want to do”. These Turkish and Moroccan migrants turned out to be permanent rather than temporary. Quite the opposite to leaving happened – they brought over their families. Adding onto this first wave of migrants were those from the old colonies.
The Dutch have their own colonial guilt, having had colonies in Suriname, Indonesia and several island in the Caribbean. They did have other colonies, but those were taken over by the English, such as New York and South Africa. To go back to our point – migrants from these old colonies of course came to live in the Netherlands. The same has happened in the United Kingdom and France.
Now, they are experiencing their third wave of migrants. The odd combination of refugees as well as Africans that will supposedly fund the pensions and fill the gap left by low fertility rates. What will the future hold for this country?
The United States of America, an isolated state
The United States – Rise to a Global Power
Since the end of World War II, the world has known two powers. The United States and the Soviet Union. Since the 1990’s only the United States was left. People started to argue and philosophize how long this monopoly on power would hold. The US has been policing the world for decades, they have truly been a global power.
Geographically, the US is positioned perfectly for isolationism. Unsurprisingly, this is exactly what the USA did initially. With reluctance it joined the first World War, only to attempt to withdraw after the war finished – they never joined the League of Nations. Their global role only took hold when they opposed the Soviet Union for dominance after the second World War.
A desire for oil, that most important industrial commodity, has kept them interested in the rest of the world. But that might change.
Orpheus and Eurydice – Can the EU lead Eastern Europe out of darkness?
The End of Communism – a New Era
Several decades ago, Eastern Europe was covered by communism. Until suddenly, communism ended. Factories, mines and land, formerly owned by the state, were sold to those with the closest ties to power. Of course there was corruption, it was not a smooth transition. It probably never is a smooth transition from communism to a free market.
The point here is that their economies were in shambles. For decades, entrepreneurship did not exist. The institutions supporting a free market did not exist. Nonetheless, in due time the economy will grow and it will change. However…
The Great Britain that accomplished so much is vanishing
The Empire Where the Sun Never Sets
The United Kingdom, once it held the seat of a global empire. The union of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern-Ireland was a multicultural union in its own right. Regardless, most of of the Irish remained in Ireland. Most of the Welsh remained in Wales, and most of the Scottish remained in Scotland. England was by far a majority of English people.
All elements of the union thus kept their distinct cultures, and even today Scotland has a different feel to it than England. This is changing though. Parts of England no longer feel very English at all. It is a trend that started after World War II and has only become more apparent in recent years.
Ukraine, empty fields
The Rise of the Soviet Union
In 1917, in the middle of the First World War, the Soviets seized control of Russia. They killed Czar Nicolas, as well as the rest of his family, and started the communist revolution. We may know that communism does not work, that the economic system is a failure, and that the cars in communist Russia were horrible. Yet, there is a part of history far worse than that. The Holodomor.
In the 1930’s the Soviets committed genocide. They tried to eradicate the Ukrainian people, so that they could replace them by ethnic Russians. The event would become known as the Holodomor. It is another instance where a government tries to change the ethnic make up of a country in order to increase its control. The strategy is similar to what the Chinese are doing in Tibet, but what the Soviets did was far more cruel.
L’etat c’est moi
Definition of the Gross Domestic Product
GDP – Gross Domestic Product. It is the total economic output of a country in a given year. All products bought and sold, and services delivered and used. To put it in the words of Investopedia:
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period. Though GDP is usually calculated on an annual basis, it can be calculated on a quarterly basis as well (in the United States, for example, the government releases an annualized GDP estimate for each quarter and also for an entire year).
GDP includes all private and public consumption, government outlays, investments, private inventories, paid-in construction costs and the foreign balance of trade (exports are added, imports are subtracted). Put simply, GDP is a broad measurement of a nation’s overall economic activity – the godfather of the indicator world.
Doublethink; War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength
Many people believe Tibet should be independent. China annexed the country in 1950 to expand their communistic empire. They say that the people of Tibet are not free. The Chinese took away the Tibetans right for self-determination. China absorbed the tiny country into its greater whole. All of this happened almost seventy years ago. Nevertheless, there is still an organisation called ”Free Tibet” active and requesting donations to support their cause. After 70 years people are still drawing attention to the issue. The Dalai Lama still talks about Tibetan freedom.
People were raging for decades. How dare China conquer this land?
And rightly so.
There are many other independence movements in the world. Think of Scotland, that had a referendum on the topic and only had a slight majority vote against it. Or take Catalonia, where protests and violence broke out; a struggle against the domination from Madrid. Look at Kosovo, a further break-down of former Yugoslavia. All these cases are supported worldwide. People believe the peoples should have a right to rule themselves, instead of being ruled by others.
A forest can only feed so many people…
You deserved it, these lower wages!
There are many arguments to reduce and limit migration. One of these arguments is that migrants will lead to lower wages. Due to some disbelief, people don’t recognize this is happening. A common theme is ”If you lose your job to an unskilled immigrant that doesn’t speak the language, that is your issue, not theirs”. That is saying that if your job can easily be replaced by a migrant, you deserve to lose your job. But that seems a bit harsh and is mostly just used to insult people in internet arguments.
Most of the time, people confess a belief that migrants are a great benefit to the economy. That there is no downside, as migrants create as many jobs as they take up. Maybe even more! Therefore, so they say, we should really welcome this boost to our economy. Especially since the West is aging and in lack of a new generation.
We should ask ourselves the very fair question – are there really no consequences for the working classes?