Politics is not Easy

It should be clear by now that the current financial and economic crisis is no mere ripple, but a full-scale storm. Comparisons to the 1920’s are no longer muted, and a sense of morbid sensationalism enshrines the news cycle of worsening conditions.

It is not without some fascination that I have witnessed the Australian dollar lose almost 20% of its value against the Euro in a matter of weeks. I try to use my Danish credit card instead of Australian cash to make the most of it. This I can understand. But the intricate dealings of what shaped the current crisis, and even more so what do about it, are still somewhat out of my league. I’m not completely ignorant, of course, and I do my best to stay up-to-date and read views and opinions of the state of the world (a good Danish-language primer is this one, by economy professor Torben M. Andersen).

But apart from making a good conversation topic, the crisis has severely damaged any political ambitions I may still have harboured myself. Once I dreamed of being a minister, perhaps even the prime one. And I may have thought to myself: why are so many politicians economists? Well, to quote the Bill Clinton 1992 campaign, “it’s the economy, stupid”. In situations like these, politicians are those that must act and do what they can to contain the crisis and stave off total meltdown. And I would have no idea how to fix this. Yes, I could probably learn. But I am convinced of the importance of economic wisdom within any government.

No matter your political conviction, it seems clear that any politician in a high office should have a thorough understanding of how the world works; including, but not limited to, the economy.

Which is exactly why Sarah Palin is not ready to go to Washington.


Author: Kenneth Mollerup Birch

Living north of Copenhagen, Denmark. MA in Information Science. Interests include communication, internet, sociology, language, politics, religion, theology, travel, music, and food.

12 thoughts on “Politics is not Easy”

  1. I believe you can find plenty of other goods reasons wrt. Palin, but of course I would tend to agree with you overall 😉 (though I think the extent of the current financial crisis may not be quite comparable to the 20’s)

  2. @Jonas: Yes, that shouldn’t be too hard 🙂 I would be interested to hear your take on the financial crisis. If you weren’t on the other side of the world, we might have a coffee and discuss the state of the world. Maybe it’s time for something new on your blog, though… 😉

  3. Politics isn’t really my ball game, so in my opinion my opinion doesn’t really count that much, but here’s a thought on the part of the crisis that’s about the subprime loans, the danish equivalent and handling ones own private economy.

    I hear that most of the politicians who lead Denmark are liberal DJØF people (economists). They are well able to control their own private economy and thus think that it’s normal to be able to control ones own private economy. Because they are liberal they allow the banks and the stores that are leasing stuff to do what ever they want. The banks and leasing stores then make complex loans that seem very sound to the average man (because he isn’t a DJØF guy and thus not able to see through the complexities). He then takes up the loan/loans without the appropriate knowledge about how to handle it. And then sometimes he ends up with no money to pay his mortgage.

    I think that maybe the DJØF-leadership of Denmark overestimates the average Danish guys ability to handle money. Maybe more so in the States.

    (I’m not saying that it would help to throw in Palin, though she seems not very DJØF).

  4. @Tvesok: Interesting perspective. It may very well be that some politicians overestimate the common man’s capacity for handling his own economy. One answer to that would be communism (society takes control of all private assets). Another would be investing in more education (enhance the individual citizen’s ability to manage).
    If this is a problem in such an equal society as the Danish one, it would most certainly also be an issue in the U.S.

  5. @Kenneth: Yeah, it has been sleeping for a while. I have had the first 5 posts in my mind over the weekend, but not much seems to happen in terms of actual production :p

    @Tvesok: I take your point and resigned my membership in DJØF last week. However, it seems that you are forced to stay a member for an extra half year. (ok, I didn’t resign it because of your comment…) On a more serious note, I doubt that many of the politicians are truly liberals when all comes to all. (have you been listening a bit to your parents’ generation on this? ;))

  6. @Kenneth: And yes, if you were anywhere around, we’d definitely have to visit Starbucks 🙂 Don’t think there’s too many surprises though – think I just generally agree with my old professor on the matter; if nothing else because he’s a smart guy, and the whole thing seems a bit hyped…

  7. @Jonas: Yes I overheard a conversation between colleagues on the issue at work in Horsens (Horsens Gymnasium). They would be at my parents age and of course mainly SF people I guess.

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