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Offbeat 09 January 2015

I would wish you a happy New Year, though whether it will be is very doubtful. New Year ought to be, in a very theoretical way, a fresh take on things, a chance to do things better. In reality it will be a continuation of everything that happened in 2014.  The Charlie Hebdo murders, which came after I started writing this, shows the truth of that.

The year 2014 brought continuous attacks on happiness and laughter, mainly in the shape of a subspecies that refuses to coexist with the beliefs, cultures and lifestyles of others. For completion, I associate myself with the hashtag #jesuischarlie. I need laughter and happiness, same as I need rain. Unfortunately the smiles are a bit thin this morning. The Hebdo murders should have been been predictable. Their offices were burned down once already, and they continued publishing. People and belief systems that aren’t worth anything will go to any length to find validation or recognition, even if only from the subhumans who associate with them.  It would have been great if the attack had been predicted, and the pigs who carried out the attack had arrived to find empty offices.  Perhaps I should wish predictability instead. Predictability is really convenient. For instance, if you get on a bicycle and start pedalling, not only do you want to know that it will move forward, but also that it won’t tip over on one side, causing extreme pain. It’s the same with ladders. You want to know that the steps will hold under your weight, not leave you the star of an ‘epic ladder fail’ video on Youtube, with a couple of million views.
The difficulty with predictability is that it needs foresight. For instance, you need to remember to pedal the bicycle away from holes in the road, which might be a bit difficult if you are distracted. The ladder needs testing before use, so perhaps lend it to a neighbour and film him on the off-chance that there is an opportunity for a funny Youtube video. The predictability of 2015 is that it will be a continuation of 2014, so here is what to expect…
The oil price will continue to tumble, and possibly stabilise at around USD 40 per barrel. That might be good for manufacturers, but it comes with an ugly side. Some oil producing nations have enough reserves to run their budgets at that level for a while. Others don’t. That will lead to major problems as governments stop spending. Perhaps the most immediate impact in Namibia will be a reduction in the capital inflows from Angola. Fundamentalist Islam, or what claims to be Islam, will continue to perpetrate atrocities. Don’t mistake it for religion though. It is about resources. If everyone were wealthy enough in the Middle East, nobody there would be motivated enough to strap on suicide vests. Most likely the savagery there will grow, on the part of individuals, groups and the battles that result. The march of Islam across northern and eastern Africa will continue. Maybe 2016 or 2017 will be better in those parts.
All of this will lead stockbrokers to expect the skies to fall on their heads, panic and start reassessing the value of their investments. They will then realise that the sky has already fallen on their heads. This will lead to ‘corrections’ and, at best, manufacturers benefiting from the oil price, will probably enter into a period of slump as the availability of ready capital  and the size of their markets shrink. Then there’s the whole thing of climate change. The world will continue to get hotter and the weather will get wilder. Although this will be widely acknowledged, especially in Namibia where every cloud is counted and assessed for its potential, there won’t be any change. Nations will be hard-pressed to maintain their levels of economic growth, and that means lots of pollution.  Let me be realistic and wish you a year that you can survive instead, preferably with a good degree of comfort. And while I am here, let me also wish you decent rain, or at least some rain. That seems reasonable enough.

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