Yesterday it felt like I’d stumbled onto a political battlefield and I’m still trying to make sense of it all. Not an actual or even virtual battle. Yet, in what I saw was still a struggle in how difficult it often is, to simply make sure good information gets to the people who can make a change.
It started this week as I kept seeing references by European users of twitter to this zerohedge article.
I recognized the author was Paul Craig Roberts. After years of reading him, I have gotten (perhaps, over-) used to his borderline sensational and even hyperbolic, reactionary style. So all week – looking for a second opinion – I kept asking people specifically about this claim of Russia decoupling from US dollar in the hydrocarbon trade. And nobody answered back. Still, that is a threat that Russia has been sounding in recent years and has real credence today with US/EU economic sanctions against Russia, over their outward invasion -non-invasion of Ukraine and Crimea, etc. Of course, this decoupling could lead to other BRIC countries (and still others) going that route, & US$ losing that all important world currency status. Also I know this would be major headlines if it were happening unless, there were, say, a news blackout to prevent fear & instability in markets. And all this on a big scale. There is good reason for our allies to wonder about US policy, after these last fifteen years, at least.
Then on twitter around 8AM EST Friday, I noticed a couple Brits talking about that article and when I expressed some muted caution about that author in particular, they quickly shut me down, told me I was uninformed. This is twitter, I understand these things happen. And so I asked how, & what did I say that they came to such quick judgement. It’s probably good that I didn’t get a real response from them & soon realized it was just a momentary misunderstanding.
But that’s not the story. It was because I was there, in that headspace as they say, and in that company that I noticed what came next. As it does sometimes, twitter then got interesting.
They wanted to make sure I knew about the post 1971 Bretton Woods agreement decoupling the US$ from the gold standard. Yes, I knew about that. But then, another mutual twitterer Sky Wanderer @glopol_analysis, showed up and listened to me and calmed me down and pointed out that the right information was what needed to be spread. This twitter user has been spreading these dynamic economic-cycle flow-charts.
Assembled from presentations of Economics professor, Richard D Wolff, they show nearly mirror images of crisis/recovery cycles and detail how to turn a negative crisis cycle into a positive virtuous recovery cycle. He responded to another friendly, inquisitive Brit with this same diagram:
— Sky Wanderer (@glopol_analysis) April 11, 2014
[If you click on the picture a couple times it should enlarge big enough to read it.]
It’s a clear, elegant diagram that shows what to do to move out of austerity policies. What Iceland did successfully. What Hungary is trying to do and which now may apparently be in the mix of what UK’s Independent Party is pushing, heading up to UK’s parliamentary elections in May.
So as I tried to keep track of the tweets flying around, treeing off into different conversations, there was this tweet thanking SkyWanderer from someone with the UKIP. The trick with twitter first of all, is to get followers and also to say the right thing at the right time to get the info you want into the right hands. It is not as easy as it seems. But this @SkyWanderer did it and with persistence and luck may have got it into some of those right hands.
I looked in vain the rest of the day to find more about what was happening in UK politics as this seemed to me quite an interesting proferrment of info that I happened to witness. But it was a Friday when everyone starts looking toward the weekend and this is all I came up with: in Friday’s telegraph.
In short, these elections in UK could very well overturn Cameron’s PM’ship & potentially bring UKIP to forefront in UK pols. Whither UK, whither EU, whither our old (longest-term) US alliances. What got me to notice was the kindness and yes, gentleness that this twitterer showed to people they barely knew, all in order to get the info of the virtuous cycle of economics into people’s view-finders.
Twitter may have a bad rap, but there are still good people out there, beating the odds, getting the info out to people. I’m grateful to them.