How to write a blog like this and make some predictions about the future?
As I predicted last year after prime minister Berlusconi's fall that he may come back, indeed he is again a force to take into account when a government has to be formed after Italy's last election. I am really surprised so many people are surprised he is back. I understand investors may not understand his comeback because they only live in their own world, but that journalists (who should speak not only with the powerful but also with ordinary people) didn't see it coming is beyond my understanding. Therefore, to write a blog like this and predict how people may behave, you simply have to ask yourself two similar and simple questions, the first question starting with "What would I do if ...?" or something similar such as "How would I behave if ...?". Then ask the second second: "What if most people would behave as I would behave, or do the opposite?". Asking yourself these questions will bring you quite far. Let us try ...
|Questions - a way to understanding|
Economical crisisWhat would I do if I am very rich? Would I share with poor or try to earn even more so I become the richest person in the world? Would I pay all my taxes or would I pay someone (a large amount of money) to be able to pay as little taxes as possible (legally or otherwise)? (I think laws can be wrong if they mainly advance the wealthy while they hardly benefit poor or ordinary people.) Would I invest my wealth back into the economy and thus create wealth for others (as a result I may become even richer that I can re-invest)? An example, would I help museums to lower income and give them some pieces to show to the public? Or would I spend the money on buying secondhand things such as castles or yachts and go on holidays, thus spending it on myself? Would I compete with museums to buy art for myself to place in my basement until I can sell them for even more money? (Equally, maybe museums should sell some of their own stocks they value of lesser quality and are now placed in basements and use that money to buy important art and thus the best works can be exposed in museums while lesser although still great art can be bought by the general public.) Would I continue demanding at least similar if not higher bonuses than the year before even when many other people are loosing their job and suffering?
Some people may answer they will pay taxes in a fair way but probably they will never become extremely rich. And it is only normal to use existing laws to reduce taxes as often taxes are too high. Although they may be too high because of the existence of many tax reductions, all being used by the rich while only few by ordinary people and probably none by the poor as their income is too low for tax reductions. But during a severe financial and economical crisis, is it still normal to demand large bonuses and pay less tax than those having much less?
Indeed, many (most) may want to earn even more and try everything to reduce paying taxes. Then the next question is "How would I react if people (the rich) continue claiming governments are spending too much money on the unemployed, ill (claiming many are probably faking it), immigrants, civil servants? Do I agree they are too expensive and demand that benefits are limited in time so people are forced to find a job just at a moment when large numbers of people are losing their job and thus the numbers of people claiming benefits from governments (expensive) are growing? Or would I say those people were unlucky and should be helped finding a job but in the meanwhile they should also receive benefits for their survival? Would I agree to sacrifice some of my wages so more people can continue working (maybe preventing those working get a burnout as now they also have to do the work of those who are fired)? Would I demand a reduced "bureaucracy" and then complain the government is even slower, or that e.g. food is not well controlled? Would I as a civil servant accept my wages are reduced or that I loose my job so my government can reduce its deficits as public may demand? And would I accept a reduced pension because some may claim that too are benefits?
What would I do if I agreed benefits are reduced and limited in time and then I loose my job? (This is not simply theory as in a number of European countries there are already limits introduced in the period one can receive benefits.) As a consequence, because benefits are limited in time and jobs are increasingly scares (I applied ones for one job, together with 800 other MSc's and PhDs. What then to expect for jobs where no qualifications are needed?), what would I do if I no longer receive benefits, thus loose my house as I can't pay the rent or mortgage, and have to live on the streets together with my children if I have them? How would I behave while living on the streets during the winter and my children are freezing? Or they are hungry? Would I accept my destiny and die together with my children and thus my genes disappear (remember, I assume that helping poor people cost governments too much and people agreed to reduce help to the poor as they should find a job)? Or will I become angry because people who work despise me for not having a job, for annoying them because I am begging for money to buy food, for stealing food so I and my children can survive, for always hearing people claim the money will only be used to buy alcohol and thus they don't give (that may be correct to forget my misery and end it as quickly as possible)? Will I start to become very angry indeed?
What would I do if I am fired but none of my colleagues from foreign origin? Will I start questioning why I was fired and not foreigners? Or maybe when foreigners are fired, they may question why they are fired, claiming they are at least as good as those born in the country? Would I continue to like foreigners when I have to live on the streets together with my children while foreigners can live in a house? Will I remember who caused the crisis and blame them or will I blame others?
Indeed, speaking for myself, I am not sure how I will behave when I have to live on the streets in freezing temperatures. I can only hope I will not blame other victims of the crisis, even when they steal my precious food that I took out of bins because they too are hungry. In summary, may I become a racist out of necessity trying to save my life (and that of my children or grandchildren if I have them)?
How would I behave if I have a job but the number of homeless people continue to grow and become more aggressive when I refuse them money? What would I do when people start threatening me? Will I understand they are desperate or will I become frightened and thus fight them? Will I demand governments look better after their poor citizens or will I demand tough actions to control them, even arrest them and put them in prison as a warning for the others to behave?
How would I behave if I am a politician and the number of protests against my decisions grow? Would I accept people are angry and demand new leaders, even when I do my best to save the economy? Would I accept the people voted for me during an election and thus can remove my power when they demand new elections? Or will I tell them they chose me and thus I stay until the next elections? What would I do when I am a Head of State and people want to remove me? Will I retire or will I say it is my right to be in power and call people who protest against my rule "thugs" and fight them, just as President Assad from Syria does? Would I understand the anger of the people and try to convince the rich to share some wealth, even make laws to force them to do so? Or would I as a politician join the wealthy and demand order?
If I am a rich person and people demand that I no longer receive bonuses and demand I pay more taxes, will I or will I not? If not, what will I do if people would try to take my properties? Would I accept some of my wealth will be taken? Or will I demand actions from politicians to protect my property, even when that means people are arrested or even shot?
What would I do if I am a policeman? Would I break protests on the streets when people demand more jobs? Would I understand the army may break my protest when I protest against cuts just as I did during protests from others against their cuts? Will I understand they are only doing their job or will I be furious they don't allow me to protest?
How would I behave if I am young and can't find a job because 50% of youth are unemployed? Would I demand the elderly retire while governments are forcing them to work longer? Would I start blaming my parents that I can't find a job because they continue working and even continue enjoying life going on holidays as they have saved well in the past?
How would I behave if my children continued living at home because they can't find a job? Would I accept the children become frustrated and thus are not always the most pleasant persons? Or would I blame them for not trying hard enough to find a job, whatever job? (While already people with a PhD accept jobs as trainees in coffee shops, thereby reducing chances for people without education.) Would I ask my children too leave? Or would I do my best to help them?
If I was rich, then if not out of compassion towards others, then at least for selfish reasons I may share some of my wealth to prevent anger leads to revolution as sharing may save my own life and that of my dearest (at least, if I care enough for them).
Some other situations in lifeWhat would I do if I am bad in languages and therefore find it difficult to find a job? I can except my destiny and do something I don't like such as cleaning streets. Indeed, people who can speak many languages can find better jobs and thus these dirty jobs are available. Or will I become angry that I can't find even a job in my own country due to language problems because today almost everyone needs to speak at least two or even three languages?
How would I behave if I am not blessed enough to understand something I like? Will I be angry because I can't study the subject? Or will I study something that I can and try to become the best in what I am doing? For instance, modern technology allows people to do some science even without a science degree as the public is asked to help with some research such as looking for bird species in gardens so professional scientists can use the data for their study. Would I accept to work as a volunteer in such a study or would I continue being angry I can't live my dream as a professional scientist? When I find it difficult to study, will I continue disturbing lessons so no-one can understand the teacher? Or will I do an extra effort to study what I hope I may one day understand? Or will I study something differently while thanking teachers for advising me to study something I am good in? I am not saying people should not try to study something difficult they really like but that means studying very hard while it can mean one serves in later life those who are better who then should show respect for those who help. Another example: will I be angry because I can't become a famous footballer or film star or accept this and do it as an amateur?
How would I behave if I am clever and want to study at university the course that was the dream to dream, but it will remain a dream because I can't pay the course? Will I accept this and do a job I hate while hoping that one day I saved enough to be able to study? Or will I become angry, maybe also against those who can study?
What would I do if there is proof of the existence of gods or when people force me to believe in them? Would I continue living as I did because I believe I lived a good live? Would I try to proof the gods I am better than others, that I didn't bully or use drugs? Would I beat up or kill people who don't believe to proof gods I do whatever I think gods demand from me so I can go to heaven? Or would I be prepared to risk going to hell because I don't want to kill people? Indeed, in many countries people kill in the hope it will bring them salvation as some (religious) people promise. Or they oppose adoption or sometimes even help for their own children so they can go to heaven.
What would I do if I can vote during an election while I am angry that life became too expensive and I can't live anymore as I did before? Will I vote for those who promise even more austerity or for those who promise further tax reductions to stimulate the economy such as abolishment on house taxes while I know the politician only promises it to get elected as there is no money to do what he promised (as Mr Berlusconi did)? (I find taxes are often too high, but I believe tax reductions are the reason why taxes for ordinary people are too high, while often they are used to enrich the wealthy.) Will I vote for those who promise tougher actions against immigrants, even at a time thousands are shot in some countries and try to flee to safer countries? How will I vote when some of these immigrants beat me because they claim I live an immoral life, e.g. as a gay man?
How do I behave towards the environment? Do I sacrifice myself and thus eat no longer fish or other endangered or more general animals that live miserable lives in cages or will I accept animals are not meant to suffer? Will I agree punishment for those who kill endangered animals to become rich while understand people without food may kill those animals to stay alive?
How would I behave if (as e.g. in Egypt) the previous president is replaced by a new one? If the old president is sentence to years in prison at an old age, would I accept his punishment or would I continue to demand a more severe punishment? If I as a politician lost the elections, would I give the newly elected president the chance to proof himself or would I immediately blame him for wanting to destroy democracy even before he can proof himself? I think one should first accept the chosen person in a democracy and judges his actions before condemning him if necessary or the person may become angry. Would I as a foreign politician immediately blame the new president when he uses police force against protesters who want his removal or would I accept he needs to get a chance and tell the opposition they should give time so the president can proof himself? Would I as elected president accept I am not accepted by a minority who continue to protest and try to stop every reform as they are angry they didn't get the power and thus would I resign or would I use violence against them if needed because the majority gave me a mandate? What would I do as a voter if I see that a minority forces the president of my choice out of office because they are angry they didn't win the elections? What would I do if I notice the president of my choice uses violence to remain in power? Indeed, difficult questions to answer.