The Roaring 20s of the 19th century were known for Jazz, booze, and hedonism. It was a decade of post-war economic growth, boosted by the deferred spending with consumer goods sales such as automobiles and electricity exploded, and boom in construction, art deco, the style the author likes the most, peaked this decade.
To start the tale we need to know where we stand at the moment. The world is as unequal as never seen in history. Whereas a decade ago, the top 1 percent used to control a little over 30 percent of the wealth, they now control 40 percent of it. If we put that in a historical perspective, the top 1 percent of Roman society, in an empire that still had slaves and mandatory military service till the age of 40, at its peak controlled 16 percent of the wealth of the world then. (check the writings of Schiedel and Friesen for more). Translated into the Gini coefficient, the Rome empire with 0,42–0,44 (depending on the source) was slightly more equal than the U.S and China are today, who both have Gini coefficients of 0,45 and 0.469 respectively. In a sense, this world today looks more like the dying Roman empire than the peaking Roman empire.
Furthermore, land ownership has become a problem as it’s more centralized than ever. If in the past we had landlords, kings, and queens controlling most of the land and then renting it out, nowadays we have the Monsanto’s — the big corporates — controlling the lands through complex credit dependencies. At the founding of capitalism, everybody was a farmer, owning its land and scaling the products on an open market. Well, that market is now gone or is highly regulated.
On the other hand, the gender gap is tightening, but still, men own 50% more of the world’s wealth than women, and control over 86% of the corporations. Eat that, furry feminists ;)
The climate has become an issue as more and more we the world is changing thanks to our footprint. There is more plastic than fish in our oceans, and the ones left, are driven mad by the busy and loud marine transport. Even though we blame it all on the oil industry, oil spills account for approximately 12% of all the pollution, everything else is on us.
Furthermore, most of the rainforest in the world is in danger of deforestation. The deforestation is done by starting wildfires and when the fires are over big corporates plant soya so the vegetarians like me can have something to eat. FYI rainforests only cover around 2 percent of the total surface area of the Earth, but about 50 percent of the plants and animals on the earth live in them, and only one rainforest — the Amazon rainforest is singlehandedly responsible for 25% of all carbon dioxide intake. So yeah way to go vegetarians!!!
But don’t worry we have a 16-year-old who singlehandedly is the voice behind climate change… On the serious side, my opinion is that climate change, pollution of oceans and rainforest deforestations instead of being threatened as a serious problem have turned into a publicity stunt for politicians, Instagram, and social media stars as well as donation organizations, who now have one more income source.
In a sentence, the situation is not great, not terrible.
Most people entered the new decade typing on their phone or Instagramming the fireworks than just enjoying the moment. As the Chinese were hooked on opium centuries ago so are we on social media and our phones. The mobiles are already the cigarettes of the XXI century. And not just that, the mobile device has developed into something more than just a communication device. A middle-priced mobile phone nowadays has more computing power than the computer used in the Apollo moon landing missions and most of the mobile phones are waterproof so people can use them while showering. Not to mention that there are more mobile phones than toilets and more people die taking selfies than by shark attacks. There is even a sickness called Nomsphobia which is the fear of losing your mobile phone or losing your signal.
For sure we can call the previous decade the decade of the smartphone and the main players on the market were the American — iPhone, Korean — Samsung, and the now-bankrupt Nokia. However, on the software side, we had only 2 options either Google’s free Android or IPhone’s IoS. This will change in the next decade. China has been reaching record sales with Huawei starting strong whereas Huawei’s Harmony OS is said to be faster and more reliable than Google’s Android and iPhone’s IoS. The importance of Harmony will be that it is predominantly geared towards IoT, or connecting the “brainless hardware devices”, that can be easily adapted to smartphones. The US or Trump-China relations exposed China’s dependencies on American business partners for sustaining its galloping growth however it has also exposed China’s innovative sector which is not far behind the US. Only last year China filed over million patent applications, compared to US 600 000 and EU’s 60 000, and although there is no direct link between applied patents and approved patents (patent here being an index for innovation) it is a strong case that there is some innovative activity happening.
The US who have been the world leader for over 100 years, after its industrial output overcome UK’s in 1892, is becoming shiver under China’s pressure. The decade will be highlighted by the battle between technological leadership's economic models: the US’s private-sector-led economy vs China’s state capitalism and in this battle the US will either win or bust.
Last century electoral politics was mostly evolving around Harold Hotelling’s findings that political parties have the propensity to drift closer to each other, eventually creating a scenario where there is little difference between the left and the right. Unfortunately, the roaring 20s of the 20 century will make this gap wider, and as predominantly US and UK election has shown people are more divided to the strong left or strong right, as we haven’t seen at any point in history. And this divide is not only present in the polls but also in the media and the way how we consume news has become more important than the news itself. We must prepare for dirty leftist media and strong and crazy rightest movements, but most importantly we must accept that things in politics are far worse than we think.
The so-called “underdeveloped” is doing just fine. India is launching moon probes and Ethiopia, which only 30 years ago was fighting famine, is launching satellites into space.
Over in Africa we still find a divided continent. If we arrange the continent into Ex-French/Belgium colonies (17 countries ), Ex — British colonies and independent (Ethiopia and Liberia ), we find different circumstances and inequality of people and nations with similar natural resources… While some are launching satellites (Ethiopia) or starting space programs (Uganda) others are fighting for the most crucial of all — democracy.
Moreover, although in the 60s 17 countries got their independence from France there is the feeling that France is still controlling them via despotic regimes, which are often long and harsh. For example, Equatorial Guinea’s president Mbasogo is in power since 1979 (he is 77), whereas Cameroon’s Paul Biya from 1982 (he is 86). Both of them are regular guests to the Versaille palace. A glimpse of light comes from President Macron’s promise to overhaul relationships with these regimes.
It should come as no surprise that there is often guerrilla and separation fighting on two lines: language, as it’s the case with English-speaking population wanting to separate its self from Cameroon French-speaking and religion, as Sudan’s separation of the North (predominantly Muslim ) with the South Sudan — predominantly Christian. The separation that in 2011 gave birth to the newest country in the world — South Sudan.
Nevertheless, in this decade we should finally expect that the last 8 African countries will get rid of the western CFA franc, that economically unhealthy almost colonial burden to their national banks that forced them to save their reserves within the Bank of France and have French in their currency supervisory boards. This change was announced in the last days of the previous decade on the 21 of December in Abidjan, we should all wait and hope France fore fills its part of the deal.
The English — speaking Africa will continue to cherish its long love with tourism and as the world becomes more open, I expect the next decade to be the one where these countries will be overrun with backpackers and tourists. The fresh money and currencies will do wonders for their economies. The last decade started with the first World cup in Football being held in South Africa, an event that united not only the continent but also the world, I expect the roaring 20s to bring peace and prosperity to the mother of all continents.
In the meantime, my beloved Europe is lacking behind. In all aspects of global geopolitics, the EU has had preciously little saying other than watch. Europe has been relegated to the role of a consumer and the mere decisions EU politicians will be making will be which cloud solution to use or which network to install — the US’s or China’s. But this degrading spot for EU brings loss of autonomy, security (5G network installed around EU will most probably be a solution made in China), and most importantly global autonomy.
In conclusion, in the next decade, Europe needs to become a little bit more American. Donald Trump is not a president that thinks about political decisions or other interests, he is a CEO working for the biggest corporation there is. The Donald focuses on the short term wins rather than the long term goals, revenue maximization, and shareholders’ values, all associated with capitalism that was invented in the UK on 23 September 1599.
Moreover, in the buildings on Moorgate fields, not far from where Shakespeare was completing his Hamlet, a new type of company was formed. The East India Company, a company whose ownership was sliced into tiny pieces that could be bought and sold freely from individuals. This new “partnership” between the company and its people made corporations more powerful than states, something that the US multinational corporation is using to the fullest and will continue using in the next decade.
In the next decade, we should all make Europe great again. Only the cooperation between the inventor of capitalism and the perfector of Capitalism can bring a prosperous future for all its shareholders aka citizens.
And the EU should do this with Macedonia as a member. At the end of the day, we changed our name so we can dream big.