Fareed Zakaria, one of the brightest foreign policy minds of our day, recently wrote a grand book entitled The Post-American World. In this book Zakaria highly recommends reading Glimpses of World History by fellow Indian – Jawaharlal Nehru. I’d heard of Nehru but didn’t know much about the man. Since I see eye-to-eye with Zakaria on so many of the issues facing the world today, I took his advice and am now reading “Glimpses”. It is, by far, one of the best books I have ever read.
The first thing you discover about “Glimpses” is that it is a collection of letters written to his daughter while doing time in various British prisons. His crime was advocating for India’s complete independence from the British Empire. Under the mentorship of Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru rose to President of the Indian National Congress and eventually was elected India’s first Prime Minister. These letters helped Nehru deal with the guilt he felt from being separated from his daughter during her young and formative years. The young woman on the receiving end of these letters turned out to be Indira Gandhi who also served as Prime Minister of India.
The book is aptly titled as the author takes a look a man’s evolutionary path. What makes the book different for me (an American) is the very objective and world wide treatment. What I mean is, the history covered includes India, China, and the rest of Asia. Growing up in America, my history education was centered around European and American history and this left some gaping holes – primarily India and China and to a lesser extent Japan. Nehru weaves together the history of all areas of the world in more-or-less chronological time. I find his presentation, logic, observations and viewpoints quite fascinating. Gandhi would no doubt be very proud of his protégé’s work.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
Nehru and I are currently in the 18th century, which is famous for three revolutions. The revolutions were of three distinct types: political, industrial, and social:
· Political. This revolution took place in America and was a revolt of the thirteen colonies and the declaration of an independent republic called the United States of America.
· Industrial. The industrial revolution began in England and spread to other western countries and then elsewhere. It was the advent of the steam engine and big machines. It would impact the world like no revolution before or since.
· Social. The social revolution took place in France and was of course the great French Revolution. It put an end to monarchy rule and innumerable privileges.
The political and social revolutions were quite violent. The industrial revolution was peaceful. All three had wide ranging influence. Many times while reading this book I have thought to myself “If only American policymakers would read this!” I had that same thought today while reading about the 18th centuries three great revolutions. The overpowering urge in myself saying, YES!” compelled me to write this article. What I mean is we need these same three revolutions today in America. We need them all to be peaceful, and we need them all to be of a slightly different nature – but we still need them. Let me detail the revolutions needed.
Politically, the United States is simply broken and must be fixed. The 50 States should ban together and exercise their right to call for a Constitutional Convention. In theory, this revolution should be easy as the heavy lifting has already been done. We already have the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. All we need is to get back to these wonderful documents! For instance:
o Constitutionally, wars must be declared by Congress (not the President)! One could make an argument that all members of Congress (and the President) voting for action in Iraq without first declaring war should be impeached for not upholding their oath of office.
o Money must be backed by gold and silver, not printed out of thin air by an un-Constitution entity (the Federal Reserve). Abolish the un-Constitutional Federal Reserve.
o Implement a “flat” tax and rid the system of tax loopholes favoring the wealthy.
o Institute term limits.
o Impeach any member who does not uphold the U.S. Constitution and/or the oaths of office.
o Pass a balanced budget amendment to stop all the funny money, wars, and pet projects.
o Campaign finance reform – we must get the industrial lobbyists out of policymaking so that policy and legislation will be made and written for the good of the American middle class instead of a handful of wealthy industrialists.
Industrially, the United States must re-industrialize the country around the single goal of energy independence. America’s 21st century reindustrialization should be centered on its #1 economic advantage over all other countries: it’s abundant natural gas reserves combined with its natural gas pipeline distribution network connecting every major city in the U.S. and homes where 130,000,000 cars and trucks could be refueled every night in their garages with natural gas. This reindustrialization would create good paying jobs in the auto, energy, and industrial sectors and would build an energy infrastructure that would power this economy for decades to come, reduce foreign oil imports, and pay dividends to all American workers and families. All of this can be done by taking advantage of well-known technology that is decades old. The industrial revolution should have, as a blueprint, a strategic long-term comprehensive energy policy:
Socially, the needed revolution is the biggest challenge of all. The United States must awaken its people to demand better of its government - better health care, education, and policymaking. We should demand integrity, morality (in policymaking), and backbone to stand up against special interests from our politicians. Nehru says a country’s strength is not defined by their military might. It is defined by the citizen’s resistance to servitude. Today, I am not convinced the majority of Americans even realize they are being led down the path of indentured servitude by the fiscal debt and deficits our politicians (both Republican and Democrat) have heaped upon our shoulders. If they do realize it, they certainly aren’t doing much about it. We are not even demanding pragmatic energy policy even after the experience of paying for $147/barrel for foreign oil and $4.50/gallon gasoline. We are not demanding our tax-payer money back after seeing billions go to already wealthy executives as “bonus money” for giving us the greatest economic contraction since the great depression. We are not demanding our media report news and facts instead of tabloid sensationalism. We are in fact a crisis waiting to happen.
I suppose I need to tie this all up with some investment advice. It is simple: gold and silver. Throughout history there have been many revolutions resulting in economic dislocations and turmoil. If a body is able to survive the transition, the best storage of wealth has always been gold and silver. If the U.S. doesn’t have the three peaceful revolutions referred to above, I am afraid many Americans will find out the true worth of gold and silver in the coming years ahead. There is much to be learned from history, but it must first be studied, comprehended, and taken to heart. U.S. policymakers would be well advised to do so.
Disclosure: Long gold