Adonis Diaries

Archive for October 22nd, 2010

Ireland and Lebanon: Same Immigration cycles?

The Irish are back to their traditional immigration frenzies.

In the last two decades, Irish never considered that immigration will be another option:  Investment of multinational financial institutions were flooding this island and the illusion of an economic boom distracted governments into diversifying Ireland’s economy.

Now the Irish have no excuses laying it on “The British” for buying immigration tickets, or for totally neglecting Ireland during the horrible potato’s famine in the 19th century.

Parents who raised families are now packing to start a new life in greener pastures, mostly in the US, anywhere else is fine too.

Ireland governments invested in infrastructures that supported financial transactions and modern airports, but not in industries or agriculture.  The game of quick wealth illusion is over:  The Irish are facing the fact that there are no opportunities in their homeland to sustain their addictive former life-style.

The US will be glad to re-welcome the Irish who have skills in financial transactions and programming.

The Irish started immigrating to the US by the 19th century, during the “potatoes famine” as England had adopted policies of subjugating the Irish through their stomachs.

The Lebanese have been immigrating since the turn of the 20th century.  The Lebanese had excellent reasons and excuses to immigrate to greener pastures.  International wars, civil wars, famine (locust), lack of opportunities, the void of any national identity, living in archaic political and economic systems were always there to give reasonable nudges to turn the Lebanese outside their ever-changing borders.

The Lebanese first moved to Egypt and initiated a cultural and literary renaissance that put Egypt on the map for decades to come.  The Lebanese ventured to the Americas:  Their destination was the US but captains of ships dropped them in central America, south America and on Africa’s shores, telling them: You arrived.  The captains of ships were interested in turnover. The Lebanese immigrants survived and flourished wherever they were dropped.

A few people would like to compare Ireland with Lebanon in its cyclical immigration episodes. 

There is a huge difference:  Lebanon had no England as immediate neighbor to learn and appreciate progress, development, and democratic reforms.  Lebanon had no England to experience uninterrupted 5 centuries of stability and progress.

Lebanon was smack in the archaic Ottoman Empire of a Calif/monarchy political and religious system for over 5 centuries.

Currently Lebanon is bordered by its racist arch-enemy Israel, constantly seeking to destabilize Lebanon, and the developing State of Syria intent on securing its moot flank in Lebanon.

Ireland and Lebanon relied on import and mercantile economy while waiting for financial support from the immigrants.

Both countries didn’t dare diversify their economies in industry and agriculture on the ground that they are tiny States and not capable of competing with far vaster and powerful States.

Both tiny countries, though Ireland is far vaster than Lebanon,  staunchly adopted the economic/political ideology that they are practically irrelevant countries to investing in heavy industries and self-satisfying their population with agricultural products.

The Irish immigrants had excellent connections in the most powerful States of the US and England and visited their homeland frequently to communicate changes and social transformations.  The Lebanese immigrants barely re-visited their homeland:  Political and social conditions never were appetizing for investments or returning for any length of time.

While the Irish believe that Catholicism is the foundation of their nationality, unconsciously forgetting that it is because they are living on an island, away from the mixing of other cultures, and that Catholicism united them as an ideological entity.

Lebanon has always been smack at the crossroad of all cultures and civilizations.  Every invading power, since the earliest ancient periods, wanted to conquer Lebanon to build a navy and abuse of its skilled and educated people.

If Lebanon’s sectarian political system revolves around 19 officially recognized religious sects (Moslems and Christians of all denominations) enjoying vast administrative civil privileges from birth, to marriages, to divorce, and to death it is a remnant of the Ottoman caste system.

The Ottoman Empire inherited the caste system from India when communications and trades with Europe were under strict embargo following the Ottoman land expansion in Europe in the 15 and 16th centuries.

This caste system was maintained by the mandated power of France.   Lebanon has no national identity but the process of surviving regional antagonism. Lately, the resistance movement of Hezbollah gave Lebanon a hold to be considered as a viable independent State after it resisted Israel’s invasion in 2006 for 33 days.

Ireland was unable to build a viable economy because the Irish are still impressed with superpower privileges and open borders for easy immigration. Ireland has no relevant and valid reasons to blame foreign powers to its cyclical immigration phenomenon:  Not yesterday; and not today. The Lebanese do have a dozen of excellent reasons to immigrate.

Note 1:  The caste system in Lebanon was structured along artisan businesses or gilds:  Every skilled group enjoyed privileges and occupied quarters in urban centers.  This restricted medieval trade structure extended to religious sects in modern times.

Lebanon has no national identity but the process of surviving regional antagonism.

Note 2: Shane Farrell shared:

Northern Irish artist Paul Brady’s 1985 song ‘The Island’ links the conflict in Northern Ireland to Lebanon.
How tragic it is that nearly 30 years later, his lyrics on Northern Ireland ring eerily true in Lebanon:
“They say the skies of lebanon are burning those mighty cedars
bleeding in the heat they’re showing pictures on the television…
women and children dying in the streets and we’re still at it in our own place
still trying to reach the future through the past still trying to carve tomorrow from a tombstone”
“now i know us plain folk don’t see the bigger picture
and all this peace and love’s just copping out
and the young boys dying in the ditches is just what being free is all about
and how this twisted wreckage down on main street will bring us all together in the end
as we go marching down the road to freedom, freedom”

Women are back to being the most vocal and active members in society as in the 1840’s, though the “Mamas Grizzly” are on the wrong side for the proper political reforms.  Fact is, women are not equitably represented in the political system. In economical downturns, unemployed men feel worthless and barely take on their responsibilities in the family.  Unemployed men and husbands start imagining that women and wives have the magic wand to making ends meet.  Unemployed men and husbands hand long faces and loaf around in the house; wives want men out of the house, away from their skirts.  Wives want the government to open up free extracurricular activity centers so that men are out-of-the-way and enjoying their free time.  Wives don’t need adult husbands behaving like kids, complaining and whining and expecting wives to tranquillize their unsatisfied ego.

Save a limited health care reform that is yet to be effectively executed next year, nothing is working in the US after the financial crash.  The number of unemployed is increasing, the economy has not restarted, foreign policies for stabilizing world disturbances have not changed much, the environment degradation did not improve, and the troops are being relocated and reshuffled to other “hot regions”; there is diminished credibility that the dollar is worth the expense of printing it and no viable medium-term resolutions are seriously contemplated.  Politics in the US is heavily biased toward short-term election timeline.

Nothing is giving the US citizens and the world communities much hope that change in on the way; any kind of change.  The banks and financial institutions were salvaged but productive lending transactions have not materialized.  All financial facilitation laws are encouraging the elite richest class of the 10% to resuming their disgusting flatulent life-style, as if the system was meant to satisfying their greed and large ego.  The budget for the military and the thousands of “security agencies’ (old and newly established) are taking up 25% with no substantial returns for the common people.  The modernization and maintenance of the infrastructure are on slow burner waiting for better times.

Women are the most vocal and active members in this economic downturn that has no light at the end of the tunnel; women are demanding transparency in the political and economic decisions, procedures, and processes; women are demanding accelerated reforms options with fair representation of their gender and all the economic classes, especially the lower middle class representing 50% of the population.

The Federal Regulatory Commission known as the FED has maintained the lowest interest rate ever for years and is now zero per cent.  What for?  So that the richest enterprises can borrow more money and not spending it on creating new enterprises.  Actually, billions are invested in other more promising States economies such as Brazil that witnessed its currency the Real appreciates 30% in less than 20 months. 

To make things worse, the FED wants to be imaginative:  Its chairman Bernanke is planing on purchasing the long-term loans.  With what?  Printing more worthless money that has lost all credibility in the exchanges of world finance and economy.  What are the consequences?

First, the ever successively devalued dollar, unable yet to compete with emerging countries, will reach a critical point that will wipe out the liquid savings of the elderly and retired people who won’t be able to survive for another couple of years.

Second, China and Japan would reduce purchasing the treasury T-Bills to the bare minimum commensurate to political concessions.

Third, The competitiveness of the US is far from being appetizing to exporting goods.  China has appreciated its currency 20%  up but the US could not compete:  the direct consequence was for Vietnam and Malaysia taking on the slacks for Wal-Mart and other wholesalers.

The worst part is that the government has decreed a moratorium on immigration from Mexico.  How can the economy restart without fresh, and young immigrants aiding small enterprises to restart or be created?  Giovanni Peri, assistant professor at the University of Davis, wrote in Foreign Policy in Focus that “Mexican immigrants increase production capacity, stimulate investment, and is a catalyst for specialization.  Young Mexican immigrants never had any negative consequences in the US economy in the last 40 years.  In the last 40 years, the active potential doubled and salaries increased 40%.”

Peri goes on: “Immigrants are basically competing among immigrants but do not rob jobs to Americans.  When immigrants are hired, productivity increases and Americans are elevated to higher ranks such as supervisors and foremen, simply because they know the language; thus, this process increases the base of the lower middle class.  Immigrants complement the economy and do not substitute for existing jobs except when highly educated and specialized.  An engineer cannot do anything alone; give the engineer workers and enterprises are created.” 

With the dynamic market system in the USA, hundred of thousands of jobs are lost and an equal number re-appears.  The more there are able and young workers on the market and the higher are the odds for creating new enterprises.   Immigrant salaries are low but still high compared to what they earn in their homeland, even when the higher cost of living is factored in.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) met in Washington DC with its 187 representative members to discuss this raging war related to currency appraisal.  The institution demonstrated incredible impotency to resolving this problem, giving the illusion that currency value is the main and critical factor for restarting economies and stabilizing world commerce. Chairman Strauss-Khan pointed out that more focus should be on strict supervision of the vulnerable factors in the most advanced States.  Thus, the IMF is going to study the viability of zero interest rate in the US  that is diverting investments to other promising economies such as Brazil.

The US brand of “capitalist liberal democracy” has to be revisited and fairer representation of women and the lower middle class be reformed in election laws and procedures.  This liberal democracy guided by the elite richest 10% of the population and hoarding 50% of the wealth of the nation must reformed so that the lower classes can have a say on the kind of laws that preserve their interest during economic downturns.

The gimmicks of slightly increasing taxes on the rich classes with large loopholes cannot continue indefinitely.  Political power should be reinstituted to the common people and election laws and procedures simplified to encourage the lower middle class to run for election and get organized.




October 2010

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