I guess Rick Newman’s article on the state of global economies was intended to give Americans something to feel good about as the U.S. economy continues to stumble along on crutches. But the idea that we should be elated to learn that the International Monetary Fund now predicts at least 11 major economies will fair worse than ours in 2010 is naïve at best.
Rejoice, Newman writes, for “when times are tough, one thing that tends to raise the spirit is knowing that somebody else has it worse.”
The reality is that economic distress brews a nasty stew of undesirable societal ills – extremism, militancy, xenophobia, jealousy, crime, authoritarian leadership and violence.
Is this really what we want right now? And is the knowledge that many countries already plagued by economic or ethnic violence are going to fair poorly next year really supposed to make us feel better?
Germany’s ethnic tensions are soaring as its politicians struggle with the political fallout of a gruesome murder of a pregnant Egyptian woman in a courtroom last week. Marwa al-Sherbini , a 32-year old pharmacist, was in court to face a German man who had previously physically and verbally assaulted her for wearing a headscarf. As she prepared to take the stand, the man ran across the room and stabbed her more than 15 times.
Just to make things worse, court guards shot and injured her husband as he tried to intervene thinking he was the attacker.
(Needless to say, Egyptians have reacted with outrage. And honestly, can you blame them?)
Mexico is embroiled in a vicious drug war that has permeated nearly every organ of government. Anyone not on the payroll is a target, and security forces regularly face deadly attacks – like a series of coordinated strikes this weekend on six federal police bases in six cities.
Both countries find themselves in desperate predicaments with economic undertones – and more bad news on the economic front is going to make meeting the challenges all that more difficult.
So no, the news that Mexico, Germany, Japan and Russia, among others, face more economic hardship next year definitely does not make me happy. Heck, I’m not even mildly amused ….