on political critics who do not know they are gambling

English: This is an alternate crop of an image...

English: This is an alternate crop of an image already uploaded. See http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Gov._Sarah_Palin_in_Dover,_NH.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Someone I spoke with yesterday mentioned political issues as we were discussing economic trends. Obviously politics can be a factor influencing economic behavior trends, but I consider political trends to also be rather predictable.
Consider that whenever governments face budget issues, they have a rather limited set of alternatives, such as when the city government of Detroit recently filed bankruptcy. Since myself and many others predicted major changes in tax revenues for the US, EU, and Japan, as well as for smaller political units like states, counties, and cities, then for us predicting the reaction to those budget challenges by politicians and lobbyists is rather easy.
Party affiliations in the Council of the EU Oc...

Party affiliations in the Council of the EU Oct 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Further, if we are looking at what changed in global politics in 1999 which marked the start of the rise in inflation-adjusted global prices of oil and gasoline (and the peak in many European stock market prices), it is not sufficient to say “the introduction of the Euro currency was that same year.” That “political event” happened at the same time, yes, but I point to other factors as much more logical and relevant.
Also, if the factors that I identify as most relevant (the “causal /catalytic” variables) not only predict the changes of 1999, but also the 1989 peak in Japan and the 2007 peak in US markets, then we not only can assert an explanation of a single event, but of a series of events. Instead of debating “who to blame” (for a particular “unfavorable” development), we can focus on “how to predict” and “how to benefit most.”
Dat Politics en clase

Dat Politics en clase (Photo credit: pedrobea)

Yes, we can note that while oil-rich Alaska’s state budget is still incredibly robust, with large socialist cash payments to every resident of that state, the same is not true of any other US state. Michigan’s state government is doing much less well than Alaska’s. The percentage change in state government tax revenues for Arizona and Nevada, which are the two desert states with sprawling metro suburbs, remain far below average for the US. Could a determining factor in recent changes for state government budgets be that some states are energy scarce and some are energy rich?
The map shows percentage belief in a god in th...

The map shows percentage belief in a god in the EU by nation. Data from a 2005 Eurobarometer poll (available here). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We could name Arizona’s Governor Brewer as “to blame” and celebrate Alaska’s Governor Palin as “to credit,” but we may notice that certain trends go far beyond one governor’s term. We can look at Alberta in Canada and see that the oil-rich province has had a very different political reality for the last 40 or 50 years compared to the rest of Canada.
Why so much internal stability and increasing influence in the province which produces so much more oil than the rest of Canada combined? Could the natural resources of geographic and geologic variation be a major factor?
Or look at the US and USSR. These two nations with rather different political trends both rose from relative obscurity in the 19th century to being the dominant global military superpowers by the mid 20th century. Is politics the cause? If politics is the cause, then why did places with similar political systems like Cuba or India fail to become global superpowers as well?

Canada (Photo credit: palindrome6996)

I assert that the rise of the US and USSR to being the #1 and #2 international empires of the 20th century is “strongly related” to the fact that those two counties were the #1 and #2 top-producing nations for crude oil for the 20th century. My prediction that the EU will not last nearly as long as the USSR or US- which may be false- is that the EU lacks the economic resources to dominate the world in the way that the US and USSR have done. The EU lacks the military power and the cultural unity. They do not even have a common language, but dozens of languages. There is no politician who can change the basic facts about the EU (or the rest of the world).

Political composition of the 7th parliament

Political composition of the 7th parliament (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the US and EU, we have tiny percentages of global population which have been using huge percentages of the natural resources of the planet (mostly sent from other parts of the planet). That can change. 
Also, the technological advancement of different parts of the planet can change. The US in the 18th century benefited from being the first nation to discover crude oil and use it to surge ahead economically and pass other industrialized nations who did not have crude oil industry supporting their steel and railroad industries. Where will the next big advances arise, like the development of electricity, telephones, radio, computing, nuclear weapons, and so on?
Some people think that politicians lead innovation. Other people assert that inventors (nerds, geeks, etc) deserve more credit. 
English: Map showing the number of Presidents ...

English: Map showing the number of Presidents of the European Commission from each EU member state. Two One None (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the mass media, politicians certainly get a lot of attention, but how influential are they really? Can the political leaders of the EU change the fact that they need to import fuel from places like Alberta, Alaska, and Arabia?
Maybe the EU can have a few percent of global population and consume 50% or 80% of the world’s resources, but such a pattern may be temporary. Would it last an entire decade? A century? A millenia?
An orthographic projection of the world, highl...

An orthographic projection of the world, highlighting the European Union and its Member States (green). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forecasters dare to pose such questions and then speculate as to probable answers. Some forecasters even act on their speculations and invest based on them. However, most investors are rather presumptuous in their gambling… not considering how to measure the odds or even whether their speculations are gambles….



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