Spring is Breaking Out Badly

It’s spring but the world is gloomy. There may be plenty of bulls on Wall Street, but their still a lot of bears around the bears – bears worried about the fate of kidnapped girls in Nigeria, student protestors in Venezuelan, religious tolerance in India, and bombed out towns in Syria. Many are also depressed by the state of the world’s economy.

The headline in the Financial Times told part of the story: “Survey shows gloomy mood of EU voters.” The article by Gordon Smith began: “Two-third of French voters believed the state of their country’s economy was worse than it was a year ago and felt less secure in their jobs, according to an opinion survey conducted for the Financial Times.”

The French are on the leading edge of gloom, according to Jean-Daniel Levy who led the survey team: “French people have no confidence in politics and are worried about unemployment and they think they will not have enough money for tomorrow.”

In Europe, Euroskepticism – as reflected by parties like the UK Independence Party – is one of the few growth industries. As Tony Barber wrote in the Financial Times: “The reality is...that citizens have learnt from the mismanagement of Europe’s monetary union not to trust politicians and technocrats who blithely promise that ‘more Europe will automatically deliver economic prosperity and stability.” Barer wrote: “The paradox of European unity remains today....The ultimate purpose of this idealistic cause is to enrich, in the widest sense, the lives of Europe’s people, in ever larger numbers, are resisting what is deemed best for them.”

Things are not much better in Asia where courts have recently removed Thailand’s prime minister. Before President Barack Obama embarked on a tour of Asia, the New York times’ Mark Landler wrote: “From South Korea, where public outrage is surging in the wake of a ferry accident that has claimed the lives of scores of teenagers, to Malaysia, where the authorities face harsh scrutiny over their handling of a missing jetliner, Mr. Obama will encounter leaders under pressure from angry, often grief-stricken constituents.”

In the Phillippines, the government has labored to recover from withering criticism of its response to Typhoon Haiyan last fall. Even here in Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was tripped up by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and faulted last summer for playing down the leaking of highly radioactive water from the plant.

So the recent emergence in Ohio of Jillian and Jenna Thistlethwaite, monoamniotic twin babies holding hands offered a rare ray of hope. May Jillian and Jenna be sheltered from central bank monetary policies as long as possible.