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'The Dialogue'
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Do we actually need to worry?
 

New signs of hope?

2009-01-28

In this first update of the year, with which we close off the coverage of 2008 and enter a new period in history, a period that may see great changes, we want to draw your attention to a small signal of hope that has hardly been recognized until now.

Whilst we do want to congratulate the United States of America with its bold step and the new president, the signal of hope that is spoken of here is coming from another place, at the other side of the ocean.

It was the president of France who made a remark that could have great repercussions for the world if his suggestion would be taken up.
He suggested giving oil a fixed price, agreed between producers and consumers.

This suggestion is of course not new, but the mere suggestion of it would have been enough to be branded as “socialist” only a short while ago, as apparent opposite of “capitalist”, and therefore it was even dangerous to speak it out.

But can we still think in these terms? Both terms have been distracted from their original meaning and have become sloganist in their usage, in which “socialist” has been made equivalent with subsidies, waste and incompetence and “capitalist” with excessiveness, speculation and greed. Neither of the two needs to be true.

And now there is this suggestion of the president of France, a man more leaning towards the “capitalist” order, but coming with a suggestion that would easily be branded as “socialist”.

This bodes the question whether the dualistic, and often simplistic, way of thinking still fits in these more complex times, and whether there is maybe a “third way”, that gives fairness and stability, without taking away the opportunity to make profit?

When we look at the fact that the current financial crisis has mainly been caused by excessive speculation and “inventive financing”, and that the neither very high oil-prices were good for the world, nor are the current very low, we can see that there may be some good merit in the proposal for “agreed prices”.

It would certainly bring stability in the market, security of investment, openness, transparency and the possibility to allow for a more long-term view. This is increasingly important as we now see a host of projects being halted or scrapped that would have been important in stemming the irreversible decline of supply due to depletion, even if this seems not so important in a time of declining demand.

The proposal of Mr. Sarkozy not only entailed oil, but his suggestion was to extend this idea to all commodities, which would certainly revolutionalize world-trade and bring many benefits for almost all parties.

We have seen most of the old “socialist” regimes of the last century disappear, as the original idea became warped and was drowned in dogmas. We now have seen the “capitalist” regime overextended and drowning the world in the results of greed, manipulation and speculation.

Maybe it is time for a new “socio-economic realism” based upon agreement and fairness between the different parties, as a means to bring some stability in an interconnected and interdependent world?

Times of crises are also times of new ideas and opportunities.

Stay open,

Alexander

Alexander's Commentary

Change of face - change of phase

In the period of July 20 till August 3, 2015, Alexander will be out of the office and the site will not or only irreg

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