Decoding Modern Perils with Financial Managers, Bad References, and Political Risks
Sep 26, 2011
Financial fund managers' references to Hitler raise concerns about the current world situation and the rise of modern fascism.
An observation from a columnist of a business website last week caught my attention. She pointed out that on two separate occasions, with no connection, two financial fund managers made a frightening reference to the current world situation. The reference was Adolf Hitler.
The mere mention of Hitler already sends chills due to his association with the largest systematic genocide in history. Despite the cliché, the observations from the two raise concerns, not so much for what they might do in power (despite being rich - about US$12 billion together, neither of them is a policy maker), but for the perception that something very wrong is happening somewhere.
A few weeks ago, the world stopped in astonishment to watch the Tea Party blackmail the Obama administration, endangering the economy of the United States; last week, Israel and the American right mobilized to prevent the international community from recognizing the Palestinian state (something that even the unsuspected Economist defends as absolutely unquestionable, producing an excellent cartoon on the subject); equally combated was Obama's proposal for a law to tax millionaires, who were outraged at the proposal, shortsighted to the reality of the world.
The memory of Hitler, which has been more frequent than it should be, is a great indicator that the perception that things are going badly still exists, but it is wrong to imagine that the risk to the world comes from a short, asexual demagogue leader with proposals based on pseudoscience and insanity. The political spectrum that so vehemently fights the Palestinian state and that bet against the American economy just to gain political gains, even putting the country (and the world) at risk, are much more reminiscent of the threat that represents a possible 21st century version of modern fascism. The eight years of the Bush administration, which shattered the American economy, are the goal of the Tea Party, an entity that mixes pseudoscience and insanity in the same way that military leaders and demagogues did at other times. History always repeats itself, but never in the same clothes.
The situation reminded me a lot of the song Under the God, by David Bowie's Tin Machine. It talks about things that become commonplace in our society, but that hide things that scare us. This is the West, Get used to it, They put a swastika over the door.