Saturday, May 26, 2007

Throughout history the vast majority of people have always believed that the way things are is the way that they will always be. They never expected to witness huge paradigm shifts.

For Centuries homo escapeons lived as their forefathers did. Socio/Economic/Political developements were hardfought, painstakingly slow events, and improving the living conditions of the average person was usually nothing but a fanciful notion or dream.

Now we expect miracles everyday. We have no doubt that Cancer and all diseases will be curable in the future. Maybe tomorrow! Why not? The one constant in OUR universe is ch-ch-ch-change and there has never been more change than in the last 200 hundred years of human history.
One Century ago THE Superpower was Great Britain. During the 1800s the British Empire covered nearly 1/3rd of the people and land on Earth. By the 1780s London had a population of 800,000 and was the largest city in Europe! Today I live alongside of 800,000 other
Whateverpeggers in what is now considered a moderately sized city. Meh!
These days I feel as if I am witnessing the manifest destiny of our current Superpower, the USA, start to contract. Like Rome and every Empire before and after it, there seems to be a certain point at which these gigantic social experiments start to crumble and implode from within.

This week I was struck by two very different historical events. On Secrets of the Dead: The Voyage Of The Courtesans, several Australian Women retraced their ancestory back to a shipload of British female prisoners who were sent by Lord Thomas Sydney to the Penal Colony 1300 miles away in Australia.

Quick review
London had a massive crime wave as a result of the chronic poverty from the Industrial Revolution.
There were 200 legal statutes allowing fo capital punishment available for dealing with criminals but the prisons were bursting at the seams.

After America claimed independence Lord Thomas Sydney chose Australia as the new receptacle for unwanted inmates.
King George recovered from his madness and reprieved the sentences on the female prisoners who were to be ‘SHIPPED OFF’ to the Penal Colony in Australia as potential wives for the first batch of convict/settlers. It was believed that family life was the backbone of Civilization so this was the birth of a new country.

Apparently many women asked to be hanged rather than endure a ten month journey to Australia which was like being sent to the ‘moon’ in those days. The lovely assortment of available bachelors awaiting them were miserable and starving from failing crops and in true European fashion they had made enemies with the Aboriginal inhabitants who had been there for 40,000 years.

So off sails the Lady Juliana with the cargo of women. For the first time in their lives these women are to be well fed and even attended to by a doctor!! As you might expect to happen the 35 Sailors onboard availed themselves to makeshift wives from amongst the 225 women being delivered. Prostitution and SEX were just a part of daily life in those days and at several ports of call along the way this ship became a floating brothel! You really need to see the show or check out this link, it is a fantastic story.

On the other end of the spectrum I viewed a show on Winston Churchill which was a peek at the end of the British Empire.

Arising from the political dustbin The British Bulldog stirs the resolve of a Nation to survive the Nazi War Machine that devours the rest of Europe. In the process America becomes one of the undisputed Superpowers in the post Second World War universe. Churchill reluctantly witnesses the transfer of power from the British Empire to the Russian Bear and the American Eagle.

One short decade ago I watched the Berlin Wall crumble, live on Televison, and with it the collapse of the Soviet Empire. This left a single Superpower on the planet, the USA. Now it appears that we are witnessing the decline of that lonesome Superpower after a mere 50 years at the helm. I cannot help but wonder when the dawn of next Superpower, China, will take Centre Stage?

How we inadvertently arrived in our present day configurations and political situations is absolutely fascinating. It seems so obvious to me that our haphazard, pell mell, random stumbling throughout history couldn't really be a part of some predestined, cosmic, plan. Could it? It is simply too bizarre.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Many empires have risen and fallen.
    Even our little country was once a great empire.
    Like great powers, the climate. People tend to think of things as far as memory goes, not personnal but collective memory. That usually means the timescale is usually too small for most people to get a wider understanding of most issues.

  3. I love Australian history and not just because of my heritage. I did a paper once on Australian convict women and they were ballsy ladies. Here they were being shipped off on a long voyage to a wild, untamed land for trivial transgressions, eg stealing food to feed their children who they then had to leave behind in merry old England. There were so many unimaginable hardships to endure and a bleak future to look forward to but most got on with it and were victorious in the end.

    Btw, I got a Distinction for that paper, probably because of my love for the subject.

  4. Here I was thinking and feeling that I was alone in the assumption that China is a Superpower and is indeed a force that people ought to keep an eye out for..."Beware the sleeping dragon" is a phrase that comes to mind.

  5. and look at the dimwit we have at the helm of this sinking ship.
    you call this one absolutely correctly, homoE. but since i hail from somewhere in mongolia originally greeting our new overlords will be just like old home week for me!


  6. the crazy thing is this happened all over, even from India where coolies, crooks and others were sent to malaysia,etc. But id prefer to say, its bound to happen, we came for work rather than being prisoners. We build this country on rubber and tin (and rock and roll :P). But history can only paint a low stage in life, it can never be rpecise enough to show our individual achievements.

    On another though, long before CHina can become a superpower, I tink we will implode, diseases and other calamities are bound to happen and we will scramble to save our asses/

  7. It is quite funny, when you think of it, that some pommies like to make a joke about australia and the convicts -and yet where did they come form ???? ;).As a country we should be so proud of ourselves that we have come so far from such humble beginnings e.g. ahead of most of the world in such things as education and health care. Go Aussies!! ;).

  8. I'll second that Lee....
    Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi, oi.

  9. I never expected to take part in a huge paradigm shift but I did and look what happened to me!

  10. Please don't tear this world asunder
    Please take back
    this fear we're under
    I demand a better future
    Or I might just stop wanting you
    I might just stop wanting you
    Please make sure we get tomorrow
    All this pain and all the sorrow
    I demand a better future
    Or I might just stop needing you
    I might just stop needing you
    Give my children sunny smile
    Give them moon and cloudless sky
    I demand a better future
    Or I might just stop loving you,
    loving you, loving you
    When we talk, we talk to you
    When we walk, we walk to you
    From factory to field
    How many tears must fall
    Down there below
    Nothing is moving
    I might just stop wanting you
    I might just stop needing you
    I might just stop loving you
    I demand a better future
    I demand a better future
    I demand a better future
    For I might just stop loving you,
    loving you, loving you
    I demand a better future
    I demand a better future
    I demand a better future
    For I might just stop loving you, loving you, loving you
    I demand a better future


  11. Of course America will crumble. How can a country remain great with the influx of illegally migrating peasants, gardeners, chicken pluckers and tile layers? Soon the US will just be an extension of South and Central America. Time to move further north.

  12. Anonymous8:59 a.m.

    Top marks for your EXCELLENT use of 'meh', HE.

    The world is full of ruins. The crumbling of an empire seems so much more dramatic when it is happening in the present, don't you think? I find it interesting to hear people say that the USA is losing its power when from where I'm sitting it looks more like it tightens its grasp on total dictatorian power with every new war it starts and UN resolution it vetos. Just because the USA is lead by a dickend doesn't mean it doesn't still wield significant power.

  13. Fascinating how history flows, as long as you're not in a very bad part of it yourself :-) We can look back in time and that is so fascinating and astonishing, even though we- as non-historians- know only bits and bites of it. It is true that empires come and go, who will tell what the future will bring ?? will we go back in time for hundreds of years when/if the fundamentalistic islam takes over ? how will East-Europe, China, ... evolve ?
    It is true that everything always changes, but for many things I wished it wasn't so, esp. the disappearing of rain forest, pure water and air, earth that is not spoiled by human action, ... And I also don't like it to get older :-)

  14. and south africa never even had a turn! i don't think south africa is even 200 years old yet and we're already seeming to go backwards!

  15. AS one of the multitude whose ancestors came accross at her majesties wishes, mine for finding lost cattle serepititiously hidden in english paddocks, it is always good to see our mighty nations history summed up in 4 four paragraphs:)

    Empires always fall, but from within, the romans essentially fell aprat due to SEX, drugs and Rock and Roll. The Eastern empire held on a 1000 years more but was destroyed from without.
    America will eventually fall as an archaic super power.

    You are thinking about empires the wrong way, countries are no longer the superpowers. Consider companies such as GE, which earn more than a lot of coutries. Hold more in assets, and hold the world to financial ransom.

    The NExt super power will fight its battles from the board room.


  16. Aidan has a point.Look at that great American, Rupert Murdoch.

  17. Fascinating, as usual, HE, and bang-on with so many of your points.

    I would say China and India are next in line, or at least they're ladies-in-waiting.

    But I don't think the U.S. is finished yet, far from it. It will survive Bush, pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and move to other energy sources.

    It will figure out, after the Bush disaster, that it needs to take care of itself at home and forget about trying to convert the rest of the world by force.

    It will adopt nuclear, solar and hydro-electric energy. It will take up the mantle, despite its current refusal to be a green country, of environmental watchdog and savior.

    It will abandon oil for those other energy sources, because it has the technological means to do it.

    The U.S. and Canada will unite in some form of political/economic union and the U.S. will have access to Canada's vast lakes and resources, and it will continue to be the true superpower.

    China and India will have huge numbers of people and low wages and manufacturing clout and (in India's case) computer know-how, but it won't be enough.

    The world's biggest consumers are in North America. The U.S. will shut down free trade and build themselves up.

    Twenty or 30 years from now, the Iraq war will be nothing but a black mark on American history.

    I think Aidan has a point...

  18. America will take it's gunboat diplomacy one ship to far in the straits of Taiwan and from that day forward, China will be the superpower and we will be licking our wounds back here praying they allow us our autonomy. They will because we have taught the world well that occupations don't work. However, we will have as much say at the UN as the Netherlands does and about as much respect, if not less.

  19. I totally agree with Aidan! It's actually abt the Gates, Murdochs and the likes.


  20. Whatever brought us here, and whatever happens in the future, there is certainly a lot of change happening now - just in the last decade or two.

    As the USA loses its grip on the world, we have China ready to take over. But how long will that last? India is going to have a lot of power shortly too.

    There is a ton of change coming, and that is just political. Enviromental, social.

    My goodness, what kind of world will we live in a few decades from now?

  21. Fascinating post filled with historical info I didn't know. (Thx, I will click on that incredible link about the floating brothel.)

    I agree with you about predestiny. I also feel life is too "bizarre" for there to be a "plan." (I also find life to be incredibly interesting BECAUSE it is NOT predictable by usual standards.

    I do not feel how life evolves (in all senses) is written down or decided by any higher power.

    However, I am one of those people whom others often argue with in regard to "higher powers."
    Organized religion is not my thing. Neither is a "higher power" known as "God." I'm an atheist by traditional definitions.
    I believe in the power of people...

  22. dcver,
    Hey what a nice surprise, how have you been? Yes Portugal was a very powerful trading empire but like all colonial powers, met up with the rise of independence from their conquests.
    I agree that we can't see the big picture but everything seems accelerated now..since technology is leading us by the nose those in power attempt things as the technology avails itself..these are almost always negative impact events. Sad but true.

    angel without wings,
    YES! One of the little girls received the death penalty for stealing clothes! It reminds me of how our society might start dealing with criminals as the population ages and becomes more vulnerable. Severe.
    We may actually see perpetrator's rights actually have boundaries that are common sensical and not designed to just make lawyers rich.

    The writing is on the Great Wall. I doubt if it will happen in my lifetime but the US Government already borrows $3Billion dollars a day from China (and others) just to operate...less than ideal conditions for a reigning Superpower.

    first nations,
    That is the win/win way to look at it. Hopefully the Chinese will look kindly on the fact that the first North Americans were the first Asians. Ooh maybe they will want you to be a spy for them?
    I don't think that you would make a very good manchurian are a free thinker and not exactly the malleable minion that they are looking for.
    You're that guy standing in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square.

    I agree something drastic will have to severely limit the eco-politico-military powers of the USA and Europe before China could come into full bloom.
    I doubt that it will ever be the ONLY superpower..there will probably never be a single Superpower scenario again..ever!

    No kidding! What an amazing story. The dregs of society shipped off 1300 miles away (out of sight out of mind) and now it is one of the most desirable places to live in the world!
    If you see the documentary it describes how many of those women became successful entrepeneurs...something which would have never happened in England. Nobody could have predicted how well this experiment would have turned out.

  23. angel without wings,
    Ha! You Go Sheila!

    Are you referring to your directional disagreement with your equine transportation? OUCHEE!
    Now that's a bruise.

    I like the view,
    Did you know that I am a huge Bowie fan? We should all DEMAND a better future..but the powers that be have done an excellent job of keeping us sidetracked and busy trying to survive.
    If only we made the time to question our politicians and force them to be accountable! Hmm.

    Conform, come from, I gotcha!:}

    You know I watch a few media people who are trying to get some traction on this issue but the corporations and small businessmen who hire the illegals are not going to give them up. EVER!
    Now I have heard it argued by some GOP candidates that if your company is reliant on illegal workers then you don't deserve to own a company in the USA.
    From the outside we can see why this whole mess even exists. The USA is all about MONEY. The almighty dollar easily trumps laws or rules or rights or talks.

    Oh don't get me wrong as a Nation the USA could pretty much do whatever they want BUT the American population is divided right down the middle on what exactly they stand for.
    There are two USAs. Like Rome it will crumble from within. What started out as the ultimate social experiment will deteriorate because humans are not naturally nice, sharing, considerate little miracles...nope, nope, nope!!
    We Canadians of course have a ringside seat (until we are annexed for our resources) and we continue to watch with horror as the mask gets peeled away from Lady Liberty..the façade is over. The advent of 24/7 information makes it impossible to believe in the Father Knows Best/Leave It To Beaver Americana of yesteryear.

    I leave you with some 'heavy' Steppenwolf lyrics from MONSTER:
    "Once the religious, the hunted and weary
    Chasing the promise of freedom and hope
    Came to this country to build a new vision
    Far from the reaches of kingdom and pope
    Like good Christians, some would burn the witches
    Later some got slaves to gather riches"

    I am not too concerned about a modern Caliphate being formed because the inside battle between wealthy Arabic Islamists and Poor Political Terrorists is about as far as one can get on a human scale.
    It is a million light years from the indoor skihills and exclusive mansions built in the middle of the desert in Dubai to the war torn streets of Lebanon.

    The militant terrorists in Indonesia have nothing in common with those in Iran...other than their leaders want the absolute POWER to rule the world and could care less about religion or the people.
    We're all growing older, even Mother Earth and the SUN...apparently it only has about 5 billion years left.

  24. angel,
    South Africa is still completely stigmatized on the International stage. I imagine it seems perfectly reasonable to the descendants of settlers who conquered the land via Guns, Germs and Steel as Jared Diamond'e descriptively titled book and series suggests.

    It must seem hypocritical from your viewpoint for us 'Euro'North Americans or Australians to point fingers at the Afrikaners and yell apartheid colonialism and to sing I won't play Sun City! We succeeded by doing the exact same thing in different countries.
    I have met people from Joburg and I know how dangerous it is and we also know folks who have a residence in SA and love it!

    Africa as a whole is still reeling from the Colonial past and the horrors that besiege the continental birthplace of all us humans, from Darfur to the recent slaughter this weekend in the Congo, the inhumanity seems inexhaustible!
    I can't get my head around Africa.

    HA! I didn't mean to suggest that your country could be explained in 4 would take me about 3 volumes to just talk about the Aboriginal journey from Africa to Australia 40,000 years ago.

    MultiNationals are obviously a going concern. Globalism is giving every starving child in Kolkutta a Coke and Big Mac! Let us see if the entire world can live to excess like we do..what a great idea.

    Big Business is a cannibalistic entity that has always fought some of its wars through political war machines. Germany was devastated and humiliated after WW1 and the economic reconstruction is what gave Hitler his having the Jewish scapegoats of course.

    After WW2 Japan and Germany rebuilt from zero and now both of them build cars that are more valuable than American vehicles...there is revenge and then there is revenge.

    Can't you take Murdoch back?
    Is he like the most hated man in Australia? Splitter.

    without prejudice,
    You are right the USA is not going to just fade away. China, and especially India, might easily disintegrate into sevral smaller countries much like the Soviet Union did.

    Both are completely unnatural overextended politically and socially way over their heads.
    Look, if places like Canada have a hard time staying together how on earth could they..
    other than by mulitiary force?

    I think that a lot of our modern map will be getting divided over the next 25 years.
    Anyway the US will be around atleast until the rapture.

    THE michael,
    The UN is the organisation to watch. It either has to be dissolved and rebuilt from the ground up but chances are that the uber countries and the poltergeist of Colonialism will probably hold their grip.

    The owners of Nuclear Weapons will all get a seat at the new table...atleast until some of them are disarmed...some things will never change...the new world order will be decided by weapons capabilities and economic power.
    Some people with nukes still want 'stuff' and need to keep the money supply flowing..the Chinese government believes in Hong Kong more than Mao!

    Those titans of industry are susceptible to kidnapping and ransom from thugs. The thugs are always a danger. Money can't buy 'perfect' protection from them.
    The global corporate kidnapping business will be huge in the future.

    The future will be terrifyingly similar. There will be more countries and more of them will have Nukes.
    There will still be a huge chasm between the haves and have nots.
    The stakes keep getting higher and higher. Most of the wars will remain in the have not countries because that is the way it is done these days.

    There are those who say that this incredible bizarre journey is evidence of a Creator. My problem with that is the notion that nothing mattered before the invented year 1AD. The powers that be even screwed up the calendar.

    In the Occident we like this linear point A to point B the Orient a cyclical infinite approach is preferred.
    Either way, history is totally rewritten by the Victors so we need to be very careful how we study it.

    Nothing could surprise me anymore. History tells us that ideas, whether they are concrete or vapor, can cause humans to regress to the most horrible cruel beings on the planet in the blink of an eye. We are so scary.

  25. I will dwell on this and come back later. I need a CHANGE right now!

  26. gautami,
    Qu'est-ce que c'est que ca?

  27. dude- I can't wrap my head around africa- and i live here and love it!


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