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I Called it Right! I Called it Wrong

By       Message Kevin Anthony Stoda     Permalink
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In December 2000, I had cavalierly told my old Texas A&M political science professor, Dr. John Robertson, that after a four more years of the Reagan-Bush Economics era (under the incoming Cheney-Bush Administration), Americans would finally have had enough of the guiltless route to wealth for the elite.  I predicted that the U.S.A. needed to really comprehend how bankrupt the myths of the 1980s were in order to return to an age of “capitalism with a more human face”.

In short, in December 2000 I had naively and optimistically predicted that within a few years of suffering under George W. Bush regime, the American economy would be so far off-course by 2004 that the combination of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism would be shamed out of office.

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I was extremely certain in my naivety that the American political pendulum could and would swing back to the eras which had brought America recovery and social-political-economic expansion, like those decades between the mid-1930s and 1960s.

WHY WAS I OPTIMISTIC FOR THE OPPORTUNITY OF RENEWAL?

By that particular December of 2000, I had already worked or traveled in nearly 70 countries and I knew that the political economic dogma of the prior 35 years had produced only a consistent series of boons and bust, whereby the U.S. economy was basically overseeing the largest (defense) spending in world history (using tax dollars) on things-that-go-boom.

These weapons and war bonds would lead to wounded veterans and worse, without really gaining much in the way of better transportation, educational, nor energy infrastructures.  In short, American standards of living have only barely been treading water--despite the greatest growth in the stock markets which America has known in over half a century.

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Only the booms (1) in the aircraft industry and (2) in areas of communication technology have really improved the homegrown U.S. economy much over the past 3 decades. For example, in my home state of Kansas, Cessna and the aircraft sector did particularly well for the last two decades of the 20th Century.   Meanwhile, the related IT sectors and cable satellite sectors also expanded quickly, paving the way for a world of internet for nearly all. 

Aside from those two sectors (and possibly the still growingly-expensive higher education sector), America was far from a global model for development for most of the developing world.

Why?  Because homegrown debt is not a positive export product for most developing countries to try and mimic.

From 1983 to 2000, I had traveled and worked in regions around Japan, the UAE, Western Europe, and Nicaragua.  Everywhere I went as a lifelong educator, I have bemoaned the hype about America Inc. as “the business model” for either the developed or developing world.

I, therefore, advocated that travelers from various lands not constantly look to the USA to find models for development.  I had told several Brazilians and Argentineans whom I met in Hungry in 1987 specifically not to copy the USA in terms of getting their housing sector improved and developed.  I explained that the USA model was based on debt or expensive rent—with only a little government help in the getting-the-loan stage.

These South Americans looked at me in dismay and said, “Where should we look for a model?  Our country only looks at El Norte for its business and socio-economic development models these days, especially as communism and socialism seems to be collapsing around us.”

ONE NON-USA EXAMPLE:  THE POST OFFICE-BANK

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One area I have suggested developing countries look into, i.e. an area not pursued by the USA, is the idea of creating post-office banks, as used by many in Germany and Japan where I lived in the 1980s and 1990s. In those countries, I had observed that post offices actually functioned as banks, filling a great gap in countries where savings rates were being encouraged by government and by commerce.  In fact, by 1995 the bank with the most customers on the planet was the Japanese Post Office Bank.

These nationwide-post-office-banks should have gained great appeal for most of the developing world in the era before micro-lending began to be practiced—banking by cell phone became possible.  Especially, small businesses and farms should have liked the idea of keeping banking local when possible.

Threats of run-ons of banks would have become lessened for many people throughout the 20th century had there been a greater variety of types of global banks.  Moreover, better access to locally based loans could have been possible by creating banks wherever a post office existed across the globe.
 
In summary, I am fairly certain that the idea of doing banking and encouraging savings at a local post office bank would have brought savings & loan service to millions in even the most rural areas of Latin America, Africa, and Asia.  Such nationwide systems would have allowed loans locally to exist where they were otherwise being ignored by city- and international banks.

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http://eslkevin.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/3-big-paradigms-hol

KEVIN STODA-has been blessed to have either traveled in or worked in nearly 100 countries on five continents over the past two and a half decades.--He sees himself as a peace educator and have been-- a promoter of good economic and social development--making-him an enemy of my homelands humongous DEFENSE SPENDING and its focus on using weapons to try and solve global (more...)
 

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