As the Euro crisis takes a tighter grip over Spain and Greece, an insidious element has started to emerge from the shadows. Extremist parties from both the left and the right are on the rise. Haven’t we seen this all before?
In 2008, historian Nial Ferguson came up with a theory, one that is chilling and a warning to us all. He predicted that the 21st century will be a repeat of the 20th, the century that brought the bloodiest era in mankind’s existence.
The 20th century began with a period of economic prosperity for much of the globe until the financial panic of 1907. The United States saw its Production fall by 11%, imports drop by 26%, while unemployment rose to 8% from under 3%. Immigration dropped to 750,000 people in 1909, from 1.2 million two years previously. The beginning of the 20th century was also marked by terrorist attacks, most notably the assassination of Arc duke Ferdinand, the aftermath of which was the First World War.
The early 21st century was also blighted by terrorism as witnessed on September 11th 2001. The consequences of which led to a long protracted conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq. The attacks had significant economic repercussions for the United States and world markets.
In 2007 as with the 1930’s, the world was plunged into a financial crisis. Economies were ruined and whole nations were close to collapse. The desperate peoples of the economically ravaged nations turned away from the established political parties with many blaming them for their plight. In their desperation people turned to extremist leaders who promised to restore pride and stability. Adolf Hitler, Mussolini and a whole host of fascist leaders rose to power, and we all know what happened next.
Greece has been the country most affected by the current financial crisis. Unemployment is rife, homelessness is on the rise and many people have lost faith in its technocratic government. Into this atmosphere of anger and mistrust, emerge parties such as the Golden dawn. They pledge to aid the people, to restore national pride and to pull Greece out of the Euro. Many people have pledged to support this group with stats suggesting that the party is on target to have members elected to parliament.
If the economic crisis continues and the situation worsens across the world, chances are, that parties like the Golden Dawn are set to gain in popularity. History shows us that when times get tough people turn to extreme measures.
With elections being held in a number of European nations feeling the economic squeeze, the chance for alternative parties to rise to prominence has come. In France, president Sarkozy is set to be ousted by the left wing Francois Hollande, with the deciding votes coming from the supporters of the far right National front party. Amazingly the party had attained up to 20% of the first round votes, a clear indication that the people are angry with the established political groups.
People want change, but do they really want a change that could bring about disaster, by learning the lessons of the past we can save our future, a mantra that the world’s politicians seem to have ignored.
It could prove to be a very costly mistake….
The Pound to Euro exchange rate is currently trading at 1.231
The Pound to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.616
The Euro to US Dollar exchange rate is currently trading at 1.313
The Euro to Pound exchange rate is currently trading at 0.812