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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 25th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

 

We just had a peaceful day today, Monday April 25, 2011 – a floating brunch on the Admiral Tegethoff of the Donauschiffe.at  – upstream from Vienna on the Danube – and in the evening we saw the great new release of a 3D – real life size documentary – about the work of the great Wupperthal, Germany, modern dance choreographer Pina Bausch who picked up from where Martha Graham left us by moving from the classics to ourselves. With Pima it was what we feel rather then what Oedipus felt – and what we saw was a cyber-monument to that lady.

The documentary started with Pina showing how she boils down life to the cycle of the Four Seasons. With her Spring is rather the fourth Season – the one when life bursts into explosion and starts anew. The other three seasons are just the preparation for the Spring when we get into a full renewal made after evolutionary developments in our feelings – important as they are in themselves – but springs frees the energies that were pent in until this season arrives.

Having explained herself and brought her dancers into a line-up demonstrating they got the message, she moved to renew the Sacres de Printemps of Igor Stravinsky and created by Vaslav Nijinski for the Parisian Serge Dijagilev Les Ballets Rousses, and even without having at hand a  Nijinsky dancer she manages to express raw emotions that make her version even stronger then the original.(Others that tried their hand on the “Rites of Spring” were: Maurice Brjart, Angelin Prelocjaj, Martha Graham, Uwe Scholz and Emanuel Gat.)

Think of Pina’s Wuperthal Arts Center, a real United Nations of talent, and the German Government and people backing she got, and you start thinking that High Standards of Living require culture and expenditures.

My mention in the title of Easter and Passover relates to the fact that this is still the Passover week. The Seder we participate in was at the Vienna Reform Congregation led Rabbi Walter Rothchild from Liverpool, Berlin and Vienna. It was a memorable, humorous and delicious event – as far as public Sedarim this was the best we ever participated in. It was relaxed, all inclusive, and delicious.

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Yesterday, Easter Sunday, I went to “Heaven” – that is the Austrian place called Am Himmel. There, next to the “Oktogon” which is at the corner of the Hights Street (Hoehengasse) and the Heaven Street (Himmelgasse) I found the Lebensbaumkreis – that is the big eco-circle where 40 trees arranged in a circle, and from all over the world, tell us about themselves having been wired to microphones. There are also four trees in an inner circle. These are the trees of life that help us understand how our lives can be made more pleasant if we just accept nature and the way our natural world functions.  Actually, the whole thing is not plain environmentalism, but also a mixture with spiritualism and some inputs of ethics that can be acceptable to any religion. I found this noteworthy considering the David Brooks piece we will see later in this posting.

After the visit at the Circle of Life, and watching the families picnicking around the circle or sitting in the Octogon Restaurant,  I continued to walk in the Vienna forest for several hours with the help of my trekking sticks and ended up at the Little Haus in Heaven where I ate a Pongauer Wedding soup and drank the semi-obligatory quarter liter of Austrian wine – this time the one made from local Blue Portuguese grapes grown on the slopes of the Vienna woods.

To make sure I did make it clear – all the above was described to prove we know – Vienna and Austria are now at the front of quality of life – the global leader.

In between yesterday’s activities and today’s there was my obligatory Sunday night activity of watching CNN – to be exact 10:00 pm local Vienna time – the Fareed Zakaria GPS program. As always it was an eye opener with extreme relevance to global concerns – where does the global economy go from here and what will this mean to the possibility to continue good life in Austria or changes for the better to life in the USA.

We all know that the US has overspent itself and like Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, is in effect bankrupt. We also know that Finland Has just voted for a new government that wants to stop the payments to bail out weaker EU partner governments. This ethic of work and do not come to ask for our hand-outs is spreading in the EU. Even Austria is not immune to this sort of demagoguery – or if you wish sound thinking. The third largest party in Austria – the “Blues” – may yet overcome next elections the “Blacks” and even the “Reds” by bringing up  conservative arguments and finding voters’ agreement. The result will obviously be the weakening of the future of the Euro-currency. Today the Euro is doing very well compared to the US dollar because of the US debt, but if the Euro itself becomes questionable, it will not be in position to replace the US dollar as world currency. So what is the world economic truth?

Here comes Master Fareed and makes it very clear – THE DANGER IN WORLD ECONOMICS IS NOT THAT THE US DOLLAR WILL COLLAPSE – BUT THE REALITY THAT ALL OTHER CURRENCIES ARE ACTUALLY MUCH WORSE OFF AND THEREFORE EVERYONE WHO HAS MONEY FROM TRADE SURPLUS IS READY TO INVEST IN US SHORT TERM DEBT MAKING THE US LESS EAGER, SEEMINGY EVEN LESS IN NEED, OFF  DOING SOMETHING ABOUT ITS OWN PROBLEMS.
The bottom-line becomes thus that in short term the US has now nothing to fear from, does believe that it can muddle through, and increases its problems, and the world’s problems, in the long term.

The Euro or the Yen cannot become a competitor to the US as for now, the Chinese, Brazilians, Indians, will continue for the time being to buy US short term debt, and the US might let its own debt rise to heaven and be exposed to a situation when things do indeed change and the US is allowed to plummet if this short term loans via the buying of short term securities ends. Further, this fake US economy does not create US jobs and without jobs US consumers will also decrease their spending. The real economy declines and standard of living declines rather then improves – it is only a sliver of the US citizenry that benefits from the fake economy. High quality immigration to the US declines, and from where will come the innovators that the economy needs? Now we hear the wheels of the real danger squeak. Not the short term danger the politicians talk about, but the long term danger they refuse to do something about – the funding for education and the positive reforms in health and social security programs – and we add to the list the change to innovative and more sustainable technologies.  

Fareed Zakharia had Messrs. Robert Rubin and Paul  O’Neill – both former Secretaries of the Treasury – the one under President Clinton and the other during the first year of the  G.W. Bush presidency (a question that never came about in the program could have been – why really was his tenure with the Bush Government so short?). Both agreed to the need to come up with ideas to start now programs to decrease the debt in the future, but were in agreement to raise the debt ceilling for the present – as nothing can be changed right now with the 2012 election on the horizon. 

The Secretaries were not the real stars of this CNN/GPS Program – that honor in our opinion went to the Journalist David Brooks who just came out with a book analyzing the US problems and reached the conclusion that it is the education system that did in the US. He is known for his conservatism when  it comes to economics planning but he also backs values that are different from what America calls success. Brooks says that pushing youth to go to best colleges and move up the ladder according to lines prescribed by conventions creates success but limits innovation. It is rather the C+ students with networking skills that work outside the accepted common norms that come up with creative ideas, and he has the real people-cases to prove his point. Now that is another block to America progress under the present landscape of Washington. He speaks of a new form of spirituality – the recognition of the value of your fellow man. The fact that every person has experiences from which you can learn something. It is the networker who does this sort of learning who eventually wins – not just that he becomes successful in the conventional capitalist sense, but he innovates in his own terms in league with his fellow men and thus becomes the real leader of progress. He has examples of real success stories – seemingly including also a chapter on Fareed Zakaria and a chapter on innovators we met on our US State Department sponsored trip to Idaho. We have not read the book yet and are not willing to go further then what we learned from this recent Global Public Square (GPS) program. We also intend to pick up the TIME Magazine of this week that has more about these topics.

The new book by David Brooks is titled – “THE SOCIAL ANIMAL: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement.” Please see – www.npr.org/2011/03/07/134329412/…
 globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/…
 

Brooks explains how the dry push for achievements by the Washington political elite has destroyed education – this because one learns from someone he loves and respects – but love is not something that legislators are ready to budget for.

So let me now summarize – that today Europe is ahead of the US in many areas even though young Austrians say the words “it is cool” as often as they find an occasion to use them, listen to American music and adore everything American, while enjoying the highest quality of life right here in Vienna.

So far as the US is concerned, the lack of a European Healthcare system and of a good education system is stressing American families and lowering their standard of living to the point that something will have to give.

On the other hand, in the short term, the collapse of the economy of some EU States will cause a weakening in the trust in the Euro which will help the US get foreign short term loans as a safe heaven for accrued surplus of trade funds that will create a fake belief that all is well with the US. The internal imballance in the US will increase, and may lead to very serious upheavals in the future that will benefit nobody.

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