2009 Gloom & Doom Update: France Strikes and Demonstrations

My social unrest post of Jan 27 mentioned that  France, Germany and United Kingdom had avoided demonstrations but my commentary was a tad premature.

It turns out that Jan 29 was a day of mass demonstrations and strikes in France with a 2.5 million turnout in a country of a mere 65 million population (almost 4% of the population was simultaneously out on the streets!). An excerpt from one article states:

Thursday’s day of action throughout France in defence of jobs, the purchasing power of wages and social services, called by the eight major trade union federations, brought an estimated 2.5 million workers and youth onto the streets of some 200 cities and towns. Some small towns reported the largest demonstrations in many years. Workers went on strike in great numbers, as did high school and university students.

Not surprisingly, the French economic stimulus of 26 billion euros ($33.1 billion) was released 3 days later. On the pro side, the stimulus package has been introduced before the country has officially entered a recession; on the con side the size of the package is generally considered insufficient to reverse the general trends. 

Small-scale union supported strikes are also starting in Scotland against hiring of foreign workers.  And most unexpected of all, Obama openly stated that more banks are expected to fail. Such bluntness is not customary for US presidents as they tend to sugarcoat the truth. Or perhaps he is sugarcoating?

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2009 Gloom & Doom Update: Social Unrest in China


Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

– Macbeth, Shakespeare

Chinese factories are laying off people as their exports have slowed down. The numbers reported today are 20 million unemployed or about 15% of their workforce. With fewer orders being placed by other countries not as many workers are needed. Chinese cities are seeing reverse migration patterns as unemployed people are returning to villages. Unofficial reports suggest that there are daily demonstrations taking place in the country against the police and government officials as more and more people have fewer and fewer options available.

The government has been offering new graduates civil service jobs in remote areas to reduce unemployment however it is for college graduates and does not address the rural migrant workers.

How long can this continue before the situation will fester into something large and ugly? Without any intervention by the Chinese government the cauldron will bubble over before the second quarter of this year is out

2009 Gloom & Doom Update: Outlook Playing Out- Iceland Govt Collapse

Remember my previous post on what 2009 will look like?  One of the things I had mentioned was growing unrest in Europe.

Yesterday, Iceland’s government collapsed and there are demonstrations across Europe. Spain, Greece, Lithuania, Latvia and Iceland have all seen protests. France, Germany and United Kingdom have been spared the demonstrations- they are also countries that have invested the most in stimulus packages.

As a reminder of what I had said:

2009 will be a year of despair for many.

The upcoming year is going to be hard on many people. The global financial situation is going to get worse before it gets better. SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! Everything you save will be needed later. If you have a miserable job, don’t quit yet. If you do not have a job, grab what you can. It will be worse than many of us remember. None of the indicators are pointing towards anything good.

Expect an escalation in crimes like theft. Expect an increase in riots and protests in various Asian hotspots. Expect growing unrest in Europe. North American social welfare systems will get taxed to their breaking point.

Cracks will emerge that will over the next 5 years result in the changing of some national boundaries.

More of these will be playing out as the year progresses.

2009 Gloom & Doom update: a spot of advice for 2009

Disclaimer: This post in not meant to be a downer, just an assessment of the past few years based on indicators that I have been watching since 2003. It was obvious in 2003 that the global financial markets would collapse within 5-10 years. By 2006 it was clear that 2008 was going to be a major eye-opener for everyone (even those not watching indicators). The question now is how low will it go? Will *ALL* the systems come crashing down at once? Or will they follow each other? If all at once, the low will be VERY low. If they follow each other, then the low will not be as bad however the misery will last longer. 

To recap:

2007 was a year of disappointment for many. Financial expectations, business growth and life in general did not work out as planned. The global economy had started to slow but people were mostly not paying attention to the indicators. It was just a few that were starting to face resistance after years of ease. The savvy were pulling out to capitalize on their gains from the previous years. There were a few bankruptcies, several near bankruptcies and some merger attempts.

2008 was a year of transition for many. The market visibly tanked and the global markets were hurt. No one needed indicators any more as we all either faced hardship or knew someone starting to face hardship. Major international conglomerates laid off workers and instated hiring freezes. People who were unemployed were looking and not finding anything. Next years graduates saw a huge decline in interviews and offers. Suicides rates went up.

Moving forward:

2009 will be a year of despair for many.

The upcoming year is going to be hard on many people. The global financial situation is going to get worse before it gets better. SAVE! SAVE! SAVE! Everything you save will be needed later. If you have a miserable job, don’t quit yet. If you do not have a job, grab what you can. It will be worse than many of us remember. None of the indicators are pointing towards anything good.

Expect an escalation in crimes like theft. Expect an increase in riots and protests in various Asian hotspots. Expect growing unrest in Europe. North American social welfare systems will get taxed to their breaking point.

Cracks will emerge that will over the next 5 years result in the changing of some national boundaries.

And thus we continue our journey in life.

2009 Gloom & Doom update:batten down the hatches!

In the past months the global economy has become quite sickly. Oil prices are soaring, not because of supply shortages but because of the politics of energy markets and an ever-weakening US dollar. The USD itself is a reflection of the US economy, the ongoing mortgage crises and all its ripple effects.

The mortgage crisis coupled with a credit crisis (US savings rate was negative last year!) is quickly taking us towards a retail sector collapse. Continue reading