Outlook for 2017 (1 of 2): Revolution in the air
- The 150th anniversary of Das Kapital by Karl Marx
- The 100th year anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia
- The 50th anniversary of the death of the most iconic revolutionary of all, Che Guevara
The latter of those anniversaries is perhaps the one that will resound the most, not least because it is well within living memory but also because only a month ago the leader of the Cuban Revolution, in which Che Guevara's took part, the late Fidel Castro, himself, died aged 90.
In the 1950's Cuba was under the control of a corrupt dictator, Fulgencia Batista and at that time, it was estimated that one third of all Cubans could not read nor write. Cuba was the offshore playground of America. The American Mafia handsomely paid off Batista. The future was bleak for the ordinary Cuban. Revolution to correct this or continue with the suffering was the two stark alternatives. Castro tried to mount a revolution in 1953, failed and was imprisoned. He then lived in exile, put together an invasion, failed again and took to the hills waiting for his chance to exert change.
History tells, that the transfer of power happened simply in the scheme of things. Guevara was given the job of running the national bank. Castro was himself pilloried and isolated by the USA. Guevara was a revolutionary and only lasted about 4 years in the job bestowed upon him until he went to fight and give his name to more revolutions. Castro struggled to carry through the economic change. They were both the catalyst of change. Over time Cuba has delivered a sensational public health system, dentistry to be proud of and an education program benefitting most Cubans. Castro died a hero to those older Cubans, the younger set want change. They themselves are the new revolutionaries on the block. Cuba never delivered a sound economic platform.
The Cuban youth understand social media, globalization and the capitalist society that offers ever better standards of living for each generation, or so they think. You have to be a revolutionary if you are under 25 years old.............change is your creed.
2016 gave 2 leading countries in the West with the election of President Trump and the U.K. it's imminent departure from the EU its own revolutionary backdrop for the 2017 political and economic outlook to evolve. There is a Revolution in the air.
At the outset of 2017 it is unclear how Trump, having waited in his own 'hills', known as Trump tower, will play the presidency, particularly on an economic backdrop. His team is revolutionary. Few have been in government before, like Castro, which can be argued to be a good thing. They are mainly from a business background, unlike Castro. Will Trump's economic policies by being isolationist and creating trade tariffs, to benefit American jobs internally, to make America great again, succeed? If so, will that mean that the rest of the world slumps around him. Will Trump be the catalyst for change and will the delivery of a lasting, peaceful and economic wellbeing during this seismic shift itself evade him, as it did Castro. Only history will tell.
The U.K. is, we are told, deliberating what this exit from the EU, known as Brexit means. When and how it is delivered, seem to be extremely difficult questions to answer. Will it ever occur? Delays can only mean that there are or will be hurdles, difficult questions that certainly fuel the opposition. The U.K. will therefore be subject to economic uncertainty while this carries on. The scene plays out and again only history will tell.
Those in glasshouses should not throw stones. Change is easy; effecting long lasting well-being from that change is nearly impossible.
Away from these two scenarios, there are elections in France and Germany in 2017. Will their own revolutions occur?
There will be economic growth in the UK. In Teresa May the UK is lucky to have at this time a very considered and experienced operator. She may seem to be remote and at times silent, but there is a brain, a considerate person and above all a skilled operator at the helm. Whatever your political persuasion she is not a revolutionary.
2017 will provide the economic backdrop for what has to be an extremely interesting 3 years until both Trump and May fight their next elections. If they last that long.....?
Only once the 'change of policy' is dictated can forecasts be made. In the meantime it is 'slowly as she goes'…