ANGELA MERKEL AND BARACK OBAMA’S GOVERNANCE SHAPED BY CULTURAL SIMILARITIES by Barbara Ann Cerda

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It’s as if by magic that we expect the world economy to suddenly correct itself; even more to expect our populaces to elect leaders with miraculous qualities of leadership. We listen to the content in talking points to assuage our hungers for balance and plenty. We often forget that leaders are people and people bring to offices of governance a lifetime of personal experiences. Cultural histories dictate moments when change is marked by populace uprisings. That has not changed. Some call them collective moments of awakenings. It is most commonly economic hardships that initiate and promote sociopolitical change.

Two global leaders have emerged from populaces whose cultural ideologies are shifting like sand ergs.

Their faces don’t resemble those that came before them. Out of the morass and cacophony of social revolution, two geopolitical leaders have emerged. Both claim citizenship in countries that at one time held polar opposite ideologies and racial composition. Their names are President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

As I wrote in a previous article about German Chancellor Angela Merkel, she was born and educated in a radically divisive society. She first came to public office the same year of the German Reunification in 1990. She witnessed Germany’s horrendous post war scars that were brought on by an economic twilight. Every fiber of Angela Merkel’s being embraces the concepts of frugality and moral hazard. She did not have an unencumbered path to power. She created successful ways while collecting political wisdom with each step. Social and economic divisions forged the steel of her individualistic persona and the style in which she now faces economic and political crises. With the election of President Elect Donald Trump, she is the solitary leader of the last bastion of Liberal Democracy.

Although a conservative Angela Merkel and Barack Obama’s approach to governance is shaped by cultural similarities.

President Barack Obama’s political beginnings were fomented in the perfect political petri dish of the Chicago Democratic machine. Known for its rough sophistication and political dynasties that were known as king makers, he became the occidental conservative Democrat. The political machine mentored him, taught him, supported, and carved out a political niche. A child of a broken home that reconstituted itself around a loving mother and grandparents, his education in how to survive and achieve as an outsider is part of his DNA.

A drive to become a populace leader became central to his self-perception.

Anyone who has entered the apartments or sat in the playgrounds of the slums of Chicago Housing Authority (fondly called the CHA), understands the true meaning of how difficult the role of a community leader. In a racially divisive urban environment, the Community Organizer and future president Barack Obama sat listening to problems and challenges facing families living in high-rises with broken elevators. Unclean odors drifted from garbage-filled corridors. Cheaply dressed well-scrubbed children played in yards barren of grass, but decorated with spent bullet shells and broken glass bottles. He listened to the challenges of living in one apartment or townhome sometimes housing three generations of welfare poor. The Community Organizer Obama labored within political systems to make life easier for families trapped within the hard unforgiving political web of Chicago. Frustration drove him to attend Harvard Law. He graduated with honors and returned to Chicago’s Southside to resume his advocacy for the poor.

In a speech published in the Chicago Hyde Park Herald on October 30, 2002, six years before leading his country through a global financial calamity. The newly elected Illinois Senator Barrack Obama said the following,

“What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Roves to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income”. He went on to say, “Those are the battlefields we need to fight. Those are the battlefields we need to join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.”

President Obama understood then the changing socioeconomic paradigms of our world. He and Chancellor Merkel understood what their predecessors lacked in understanding, the expansion, and responsibilities of their geopolitical roles.

Both face sovereign debt crisis never before experienced. For Merkel it is the Greek tragedy and the survival of the Euro. Her counterpart President Obama has made it clear that as leader of one Europe’s strongest economies, the onus is on her to lead in the difficult path to the achievement of Eurozone solvency. There was no doubt in his voice when President Obama stated that she would overcome the objections of many. She must sift through the constant barrage of mistrust from other leaders and from within her own borders.

To glean the truths needed for a sound and productive discussion. The German Weekly Sie Zeit writes that Obama’s open comment to Merkel was “…Don’t hide behind your history”, said the president. “Act in accordance with your importance”.

An affinity is apparent to any casual observer between Angela Merkel and Barack Obama. It’s hard to understand the world today without the dynamic duo. Without President Obama, the changes that loom ahead threaten geopolitical growth for future generations.

After a meeting in Washington on June 6, 2011, Angela Merkel and her finance minister immediately began putting into place plans to create new initiatives to resolve brewing Eurozone financial crisis. But even then, she lacked populace support. After 10 years leadership, Merkel reluctantly understands that her continuing role is central to Europe’s recovery. With a political realignment of leadership occurring among many emerging markets, the stability of Europe and the United States is important.

The summation of European articles written about President Obama’s relationships with other global leaders surmises that his methods were far different from his predecessor George W. Bush. Never surrounding himself with hangers on or favorites, he preferred to conduct the business of his country with leaders that were of benefit. As a realist, he understands that on the world stage there is more to be considered than viewing other leaders as friends or enemies. President Obama was aware of the fiscal and economic woes at home; he looked for foreign leadership that could help in alleviating the heavy lift of governance.

New leaders of the world – like Angela Merkel must become the problem solvers of today.

The German center left news periodical Suddeutsche Zeitung writes “One shouldn’t count the firecrackers in front of the White House, but rather the number of political projects that could bring together the common interests of America, a superpower, and Germany, the engine of Europe’s economy.”

The resemblances between President Obama and Chancellor Merkel are the struggles of an underdog – both coming of age within a suppressed segment of their societies. Both have extreme love and loyalties to their countries. Both found assimilation as sovereign leaders through education and mainstream mentoring, bravery and extreme intelligence. They are building their alliances upon a base of need for global balance and an acknowledgement of change. Both have statesmen attitudes that serve them well in the international arenas.

When you sit across the table during a G20 summit, the participants wants to know that you’re not communicating in platitudes.

The Embraceable Unthinkable Economic Realignment of Wealth

 

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We are economies of unthinkable times.

Global wealth is distributing and realigning itself.  Generations ago, we would think this an unthinkable Europe, an unthinkable United States, an unthinkable global economy. Our financial markets have morphed into macro economies that have become “impossibles”.  Never before has this event been written or told about. It bears repeating that unless our nations learn to think forward and learn the new rules, some economies will fail completely.  The paradigms shaping how we invest, how we use our monies is far different from where they were just a few decades ago.  We market our businesses globally. From Wall Street to in-home labor how countries manage wealth influences us all.

Who could have thought that the elite congress of the Eurozone would be seeking to borrow from China, a country that once ranked 99th in the world for income per capita?

Who would predict that Germany, led by her first female leader Angela Merkel, would be drawing up plans for the realignment of a new Europe?  Just one generation ago, Germany was a divided country, reuniting itself while seeking economic and political parity in the world.

Facing a looming fragmentation, the Eurozone is dependent upon rapidly reconstructed fiscal decisions that may be their only hope for restoration.  In my opinion, the new realities are that Eurozone countries have evolved to finance dependent sovereigns, a unity of welfare states. Without the power to inflate or grow out of debt, they are suffering the throes of failing solvencies in the absence of liquidity.  The global financial markets are now looking beyond Europe to China for  monetization.

The structural and fiscal global calamities that are tearing apart the fundamental economic survival of countries are creating teachable moments.

The relocations of accumulating wealth and human capita are shifting the paradigms of global power. China in efforts to realign its economy from manufacturing to services and a more robust domestic consumption, is attempting to boost export liquidity. There should be little doubt that this is a currency war era. Unless we move to change how we think about our businesses therefore how we invest for our future, the road in solvency maintenance will be long and rough; for some perhaps unattainable.

Institutional economists remain so mired in the old constructs of economics, that they are unable to recognize the ever-evolving fundamentals of the new norms; of how the world’s populace is changing its wants versus its abilities to fulfill.  We’re not paying attention to the fact that there is a fundamental neuroscience that is changing the way our brains are responding to how we manage business and personal wealth.

This absence of forward thinking amongst monetary regulators, policy makers and drivers of fiscal policies is causing global social upheavals that are signaling the need to recognize new norms.  This economic tsunami will carry in its wake societal transformations. The United States’ success in maintaining its global leadership will depend on how well we navigate this wave and how we include ourselves in the changing global environment. The TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) is not essential for now but is an imperative for the future.

Like any evolving organism there are paradigms that must be present in order to intelligently judge whether an economy will survive.

Has it the capability of growth?  When faced with financial indebtedness a country must have the ability and agility to grow out of its debt.  The engine must have a sound monetary policy to move.  Instituting too severe austerity measures will only stall the recovery process.

Can it grow strength in it federal institutions? Policy makers must understand that the creation of a fiscally strong country requires new thought processes.  Fiscal and monetary policies must be agile enough to grow into the new norm and trans-borders.  Government maturity has become the most important factor in foreign investing.

Has it created strong and agile banking institutions?  The biggest part of the EU collective crises is its lack of solvency, for a few member states.  This is a watershed moment that the United States’ has yet to face; yet many economists fear the likelihood is not far away.

Does the country have the ability to distinguish the difference between having liquidity and lacking solvency? The mechanisms for cryptocurrency or blockchain technologies must be set in place to bridge moments of insolvency or bank failures especially in m1 economies.

Will a country understand the importance of building firewalls to insure that in the short term technocrats will not sabotage growth?

Social advents like Occupy Wall Street has impacted how the financial markets think then behave. The outcome of how we trade, buy and sell our markets is no longer predictable when using the same old data interpretations.  The word “unlikelihood” has become the standard in calculating economic outcomes. This way of forecasting is rapidly becoming commonplace; and is penetrating deeper into our systems.

Though we struggle under a morass of mounting debt, the United States is not a cash poor country.  We do not lack the resources to participate successfully in global wealth realignment. French President Sarkozy stated in a recent address that Europe must be “refounded”.  The same holds true for the United States.

In my opinion, we need a national reawakening moment as well.