Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Twenty Tens'

As we sign off for the year, we are also signing off the decade. Before we enter the next one, here's an attempt to summarise defining events in the decade that's gone by. A very obvious one to me is, when the decade turned last time, it wasn't such a biggie - is this thanks to social media? Now to a more serious list...

World politics shifts to Right
To quote Cas Mudde, Dutch political scientist, “how populism in general, and the populist radical right in particular, has become mainstream and normalized”. Be it Trump in 2016 or referendum in favor of Brexit earlier that year, Mr. Modi in 2014 (even more sweeping victory in 2019), Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Turkey’s Erdogan or Israel’s Netanyahu (turning more right by the term) – isn’t that a long and impressive list? Nationalism (read protectionism) is the mantra of these political leaders and it looks like it’s here to stay for a long time!

Though the phrase was coined in the earlier decade, the movement itself exploded in 2017. Hundreds of thousands of people (women mainly) came forward and shared their experiences with sexual harassment / assault and sexism in the workplace. This is sure to change the way women are looked at and most importantly, treated, if only out of fear of loss of face and more. Whatever be the catalyst, this change is most welcome!

Greta Thunberg
This 16 year old Climate Activist addressed the U.N.’s Climate Action Summit earlier this year, and here’s an excerpt – my favourite part of her speech “People are suffering, people are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!

Central Banks or Santa Claus?
Global financial system was at the verge of collapse towards the end of last decade.  To rescue, central banks made money easier and there’s been no looking back.  Rescue, they may have managed to, but growth remains a concern. In the absence of growth prospect, central banks continue to dole out “money for nothing and checks (!) for free

Trade wars
Mainly thanks to Mr. Trump, the term trade war became mainstream in this decade.  With trade wars in the foreground, political diplomacy is being pushed to the background – so it’s a free-for-all slugfest! And we have once again tested (and validated) Darwinian evolutionary theory “Survival of the Fittest”

Technological progress
My favorite onestreaming services; Netflix and its cousins!
Artificial intelligence (while at it, Spotify and Alexa know me better than my husband does!)
Smart phones (and TV and smart every other gadget) – which is quickly turning us dumb and blind to our surroundings and real people in it.

Whatever else is in store for the Twenty Twenties’, here’s wishing you lots of slow dance, kind neighbours, loads of travel unrestrained by boundaries & borders and a world that’s more inclusive!
L’ Chaim!!