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An International Flair: A Hub for My International Readers [117]

Updated on January 26, 2016


THIS IS THE FIRST in a series of Hubs I hope to write regarding international topics and issues. This hub really isn't about anything other than 1) to thank all of the readers from the international community who have taken the time to at least pop in to see what I might be writing about and even stay a bit longer to work your way through my rather lengthy soliloquies about this or that and 2) to set out my credentials, as it were, to talk about things International.

To say the least, I was very surprised, and extremely humbled, when I reviewed my Google Analytics to find how many views I have received from people from other countries, especially from ones across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. To date, there have been visits from 102 different countries and something called "not set". Lately, I have noticed a few have joined in the comments, which is greatly appreciated because the point of view is fresh and unique. Consequently, I would like to return the favor and expand my thoughts beyond the borders of my own country and break out of my isolationist shell.

As I am sure you all have figured out by now, I have an opinion or two; they aren't limited to America either. The question is, of course, will these plethora of words from an iconoclast American be so much hot air, or will they be worth considering; what experience is behind their utterance? That is what I will offer next.


ONE OF THEM IS, I can't sit still; I wonder a lot and in my job, that took me places. Consequently, I got to travel on business a bit; I also like to travel for personal pleasure as well. It isn't that I was an intrepid traveller, but it was wide-ranging; it was interesting, but not nearly as much as a couple of my followers who have hubs about their on-going globe-trotting experiences getting up-close and personal with cultures all over the world; I am jealous.

What my travels did allow me to do, however, was visit eight countries on official, government business (Vietnam. Thailand, Indonesia, England, Germany, Italy, Slovakia [the most interesting, job-wise], and Poland) and nine more countries (Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Canada. Mexico, Bahama) which I visited for pleasure; I didn't count two more, Liechtenstein and Austria, which my and I motored through but I couldn't talk the bus driver into stopping. Needless to say, each country was different, and in the hubs to follow I will describe some of my experiences and observations there. Of particular interest should be those where I went on official business, including Vietnam, where I met with a variety of local government, mainly military, officials. I was also fortunate enough to meet with American's doing business oversees as well as an American diplomat or two, all of whom gave me interesting perspectives as did with conversations with the people of each of the countries.



IN FUTURE HUBS, I would like to write about world events as well as share some of my experiences and observations, such as Slovakia has some the best food I have ever tasted, when I was overseas. While my Conservative friends probably won't agree, I try to take a pragmatic and balance view and approach to my opinions and stances.

When talking about American issues, I think I approach it from 1) what is best for America and 2) what will actually work; I intend on taking the same approach with international affairs and except with replacing "America" with "the world" (which will immediately get me in trouble with a certain segment of my American readers.) But, that is the nature of being pragmatic rather than an idealist.

To that thought, I have found that as one moves to the political extremes on either end, more emphasis is placed on #1 from above and less on #2. The same was true in ancient times; Plato and Socrates were idealists, men who dealt with Principles. Their student, Aristotle, on the other hand, didn't see how a lot of what they proposed could actually work in the real world, so he looked for alternative solutions that would work; he was being Pragmatic.

And so the battle was on; it has come down to us through the millennium basically unchanged until today. In America, this can be seen in the fight over economic philosophies. The Conservatives tie their marker to the Austrian school of economic theory that holds unregulated free-markets and capitalism that works through "supply-side" markets is the thing that makes the most sense; a theory our founding fathers more or less bought into. Progressives and Liberals in America believe a modified form of demand-based Keynesian economic theory is better; England has, and maybe is, going through the same debate. The Austrian theory is the Principled theory because it harking back to the principles and ideals of what America was founded on; the problem is, after more than 100 years of trying it, it just doesn't work. What did work was the more Pragmatic Keynesian approach.

Parts of Europe, I believe, is facing the same dilemma with Socialism; not the formal definition but the common-usage definition of providing government paid for services to the population. The ideal is, the principle is that the citizens work hard and pay a lot in taxes and they have a right to be provided services and pensions by the government to live a comfortable life, something American's don't understand but absolutely makes sense to many Europeans. The problem, of course is, it only works if the economy keeps growing and the tax base keeps expanding; it collapses, as Greece and others are finding out when one or the other or both fail to keep happening.

Looking Eastward, China had to finally drop the facade of the Principal of Communism and finally embrace the Pragmatism of Capitalism by allowing a large degree of economic liberty to a privileged minority, while still maintaining dictatorial control on individual and political freedom of all. More examples abound, of course, but my intent isn't to get into a discussion about it here, in any case, only to point out where I come from in my discussions.

Anyway, I hope my hubs will be entertaining and useful for you as international readers; I know they will be for me, because I do a lot of research preparing for what I write and consequently will be learning much about the world.



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