The social and economic fabric of the 21st Century world is a highly complex, interconnected web. And all complex systems are fragile. Best to keep in mind that we’re ALL no more than a few days or weeks of disruption from the world of Max Rockatansky.
Those charged with holding the lid on the cauldron can testify to the hell that bubbles boils and bubbles within. We don’t think we’re in imminent danger of becoming Venezuela; then again, we aren’t so sure — given some ugly twists and bad turns — that we’re all that far from it, either. In any case, the wise man ought to know what trouble looks like. Click on the links below and take in some real‐time cautionary tales…
2017 marked Acapulco’s fifth straight year of being Mexico’s most murderous city. Once an internationally renowned tropical paradise, violence has shot up over the last decade. But while police and military forces protect tourists, residents say little is done to stop gangs from preying on them through extortion.
While truck heists have long been common in Latin America’s major economies from Mexico to Brazil, looting of cargoes on roads has soared in Venezuela in recent times and appears to be not just a result of common crime but directly linked to growing hunger and desperation among the population of 30 million.
Across Venezuela, there were some 162 lootings in January, including 42 robberies of trucks, according to the consultancy Oswaldo Ramirez Consultores (ORC), which tracks road safety for companies. That compared to eight lootings, including one truck robbery, in the same month of last year.
The South African Parliament passed a motion by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to endorse the expropriation of land without compensation. It is a significant step in a process — a very troubling one. It would require a constitutional amendment to make it happen. If the ANC and the EFF unite on the issue, they have enough votes to make that happen. This is utter madness, of course; the tragic example of Zimbabwe just to the north should be enough to deter any such plans — to say nothing of the reaction of the banks and the markets to the news.
Unfortunately, as a South African friend told me, the impetus for payback is too great among a portion of the population — this was the promise of revenge for a couple of centuries of oppression. The idea that white farmers should not continue to profit from colonialism is understandable at one level — but committing economic suicide doesn’t seem like a very good approach to righting historical wrongs. But then, any study of history can come up with multiple examples of nations, cultures and people committing suicide in “self‐defense.”
And land is actually the least of South Africa’s problems…
By late spring, four million people in the city of Cape Town—one of Africa’s most affluent metropolises—may have to stand in line surrounded by armed guards to collect rations of the region’s most precious commodity: drinking water.
Population growth and a record drought, perhaps exacerbated by climate change, is sparking one of the world’s most dramatic urban water crises, as South African leaders warn that residents are increasingly likely to face “Day Zero.”
Speaking of water, NPR reports that:
A new mega‐dam being built by Ethiopia on the Nile River is threatening to spark a war over water and shift political influence in northeastern Africa.
Ethiopia sees the dam as the key to its economic future, but its neighbor to the north, Egypt, fears the dam could spell doom for its water supply, says BBC Africa correspondent Alastair Leithead. The Nile supplies nearly 85 percent of all water in Egypt, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
What would Corb Lund say about all this?