Tuesday, January 01, 2013

¡Feliz Año Nuevo 2013!

... or Happy New Year, Heureuse Nouvelle Année, Buon Anno.

Those who, like me, enjoyed life in 2012 could, today, well be wondering for how much longer they can expect to ride their luck. Given the current world climate – physical, political and economic – only a fool would predict with confidence the state of the world twelve months hence. So, briefly, here goes.

Climate change is beyond dispute. Its causes, however, are not. Unfortunately, the debate surrounding it has been politicized to high heaven, making it all but impossible to see the truth through such a thick fog of vested interests. In the UK, a mere three years ago, the public was being warned, mainly by third-rate politicians, about the inevitability of hot, dry summers soon becoming the norm. Naturally, 2012 was the wettest year since records began. Such scientific illiteracy is often staggering. I recall, a few months ago, reading that ocean levels would rise as a result of Arctic ice caps melting. They will not. The ice at the North Pole is waterborne. In accordance with Archimedes’ Principle, ocean levels will remain the same regardless. I predict only that more dumb remarks will spew forth in the coming year.

War is the easiest occurrence to predict, because it never ceases. China is at odds with Japan; North Korea is flexing what muscles it has for the ‘benefit’ of its neighbours in the South; Israel is absolutely on collision course with Iran; and Africa remains, well, Africa. Stand by for business as usual.

The West is drowning in a sea of debt. Europe, in particular, is slowly being asphyxiated by the monstrous creation that is the Euro. The proud nation formerly known as Greece is now, in effect, occupied by Germany; and the economic (mis)fortunes of Spain, Italy, Portugal, and even France remain at the mercy of a cabal of vainglorious politicians and bank chiefs. Breaking point is imminent.

The UK has become grotesquely overpopulated, the population of England having increased by 10% in just 10 years. A year from now, millions of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, too, will be eligible to immigrate. Unsustainable is too polite a word. Unless the UK breaks free from the EU in 2013, the consequences will be both unimaginable and unmanageable. Since Christmas, I have been engrossed in a delightful book entitled Britain’s Lost Cricket Grounds by Chris Arnot – a gift from my children. It chronicles cricket venues nationwide which have succumbed to either cash-starved neglect or concrete ‘development’. The worsening housing crisis will, because of mass immigration, ensure that the country becomes ever less green and pleasant in the near future.

As national banks, on both sides of the Atlantic, continue their QE (money-printing) extravaganza, inflation will rise at an increased rate. Paper money will lose value. Bond yields will be slashed and pensions will become worthless. In contrast, and as a direct consequence, precious metals will increase sharply in value. History and logic prove that this must be so. Wise, long-term investors will buy gold and silver bullion in 2013. Silver is probably the smartest bet, but its purchase is, unlike that of gold, subject to 20% VAT. A 100g silver bar can currently be bought for less than £100 (US$160), 1g of gold for about £40(US$64), so neither is beyond the reach of most.

In the light of the above minefield of world crises, I still look forward, most of all, to another twelve months on which my own children, and all others, will be able to look back and be thankful (to whomever) that, somehow, 2013 had treated them kindly and fairly (Figure 53.1). I can, as ever, but hope.

Figure 53.1: My raisons d’être

Copyright © 2013 Paul Spradbery

Here we go again – viva la vida – so watch this space for more musings on life, past and present, through the eyes of a well-travelled Englishman (Figure 53.2).

Figure 53.2: Happy New Year to everyone, from El Escritor Inglés

Copyright © 2013 Paul Spradbery

Copyright © 2013 Paul Spradbery

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