By JC Collins
As I watch my home town of Fort McMurray continue to burn, and reflect on all the years I spent there, the world goes on.
May 3, 2016 will forever be seared on my heart and mind. So much happened that day – it was my youngest sons 17th birthday, Trump won Indiana and secured the GOP nomination, I purchased a new car earlier in the day, the wildfire blew back into Fort McMurray in the afternoon – and by evening I was on the phone with my brother as he was trying to get out of town with a wall of fire behind him.
It is a fragment of time with a reflection that will remain forever.
My brother and his wife are now safe in Edmonton and it looks like his home may be saved, at least for now. There will be the lucky ones.
The company I work for has a large population of its workforce in Fort McMurray. All of them are now south and everyone is adjusting to the new realities and business continuity plans are being dusted off and reviewed.
The oil sands mines are implementing their own plans and temporarily shutting down production as pipelines are closed off to prevent further catastrophe. This will not last and production will resume within days of the fire being downgraded to a controlled status.
It goes without saying that the rebuilding of Fort McMurray will also resume immediately. This will require the support of both government and industry. Say what you want about the oil sands industry, but the mine owners here care about the community and people, and I’m sure they will be contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to the reconstruction fund. These are some of the most well run and efficient companies in the world, run and operated by extremely intelligent people who call both Fort McMurray and Alberta home.
Outsiders can never understand this relationship. Many trust and rely on the mining companies more than the government. Individual oil workers, many of whom have been laid off and are suffering financial hardship themselves, have been the first ones to load up with fuel tanks, jerry cans, food and water, and travel north on the highway to rescue stranded drivers on the side of the road.
With around 90,000 people evacuated, the amazing stories are only now beginning to trickle out. They include babies being born in rescue camps and people breaking down doors in other homes to rescue pets while attempting to evacuate themselves. Some of the pictures and videos I’ve already provided only hint at the devastation and apocalyptic atmosphere which thousands have suffered.
My home of over 30 years is burning and the events of the world go on. I write about both because I don’t know what else to do.
On the evening of May 3rd while waiting to hear from my brother and other friends and family I kept switching back and forth between local news stations and CNN. The tone of the weirdo commentators shifted as it became obvious that Donald Trump was going to be the Republican Presidential nominee.
The world now needs to adjust to this new reality.
I wrote a post the other week titled What Was Before Can Never Be Again. It is eerily foreboding. Everything changed this week, both on a micro local lever for me and on a macro international level for the world.
Other nations are now adjusting to the very real possibility of a Trump presidency. You can already see the re-positioning of geopolitical strategies. Trump’s victory speech was an announcement of what is to come.
Ironically, what is to come is beginning to sound a lot like what has been described here on POM. The multilateral monetary transition will rebalance the wealth of the world and the United States will no longer need to play the “policeman of the world”. Trump himself is using this terminology.
The reason for this is that the USD will no longer be the primary and sole reserve currency used in international trade. As such, the large accumulation of dollars in the foreign exchange reserve accounts of central banks around the world will no longer take place at the pace which it has for the last seven decades or so.
This means two things, both of which are directly connected. One, the US will no longer have the burden, or need, to police a world drenched in its domestic currency. Two, the US will no longer be able to afford to spend money policing the world like it has. Money which has been available to spend because of the dollars status as the world’s primary reserve currency.
Trump is packaging and selling this as what is best for America and the world. The most effective way to get a mass population to accept something is to convince them that they need it. People demand the change which at one time would have been unthinkable.
Everyone wondered how American’s would accept a reduced power on the world stage. Now you can see that they will demand it. The same methodology applies to other socioeconomic and cultural changes as well.
China and Russia, along with other nations, such as Iran, are rushing to fill the vacuum. A perfect example of this shift in geopolitics is the recent announcement by Iran that they may prevent America from using the Straits of Hormuz.
Watch for more such shifts.
America will become more defensive and less offensive. The changes to the international monetary framework are dictating this evolution.
So much has changed for me recently. Most readers will not know that I was also laid off at the end of January. This downturn has been brutal on the mining industry all over the world. I refused to write about this unfortunate situation of mine because the focus of the blog has always been about macroeconomics and esoteric philosophy. It was never meant to be a personal blog about my life, though at times I have allowed aspects of my life to creep into the material.
But with so much change lately, including a new and even better career (I’m one of the lucky ones), as well as the topics of this post, I feel it is prudent to share more with all you amazing readers and contributors. Writing about the Whole and fragmentation, as well as monetary matters, while my own life is in the middle of a major transformation, has tested my own personal philosophies.
But I have found it somewhat easy to apply the lessons learned here to my own micro existence. Discussing fragmentation and living that awareness is being absorbed into the very fabric of my daily life.
In many aspects POM itself, while being a fragment of something larger, is a sort of simulated Whole, with each of us as participating fragments. We reflect each other and build a clearer picture of the world which we all share. This world goes on. – JC
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