The Top Banana

The Top Banana by Jeff Thomas for International Man

The United States emerged from World War II as the top banana. Having entered the war late, it not only was in the enviable position of expanding as a manufacturing nation to supply the allies with war materials, it also insisted on being paid in gold for whatever it shipped. (Pretty nice deal.)

At the end of the war, it only had to switch from building tanks and radio equipment to building cars and televisions for the peacetime population. The icing on the cake was that it had not been invaded, so, in 1945, it was poised to take off as the world’s foremost supplier of goods.

For several decades, the US reigned as the top banana, and indeed, that’s still true in many ways, except the peel of the banana is rapidly turning brown.

The US has, in recent times, devolved from being the world’s greatest creditor nation to becoming the world’s greatest debtor nation. And in fact, were it not for the residual image of its past laurels, it’s likely that the US would already have collapsed under its unprecedented debt-and-deficit burden.

But whilst we’re making a comparison of the US to the yellow fruit, there are a few other parallels that come to mind.

Banana Republic

The term “banana republic” was coined in 1904 to refer to those economically unstable countries that rely on just one product that they sell to the rest of the world, with no backup plan should that product fail. The banana republic remains functional only as a result of money and goods shipped to it in trade for the one product.

Sooner or later, something goes wrong with that product, and the republic crashes as a result.

At one time, the US supplied the world with its manufactured goods, but American manufacturing facilities have long since moved to countries where costs of operation are far lower than in the US.

Today, the foremost US export product, by far, is debt. US Treasuries are held by countries across the globe and the present debt is at a world record level. If even a portion of the Treasuries were to be redeemed, the US economy would quickly collapse. And yet, the debt is increasing by three billion dollars every day.

It’s important to remember that this is not a problem created by one political party or the other. Both parties are responsible for the rises in debt. This is therefore not a situation that can or will be corrected “if our candidate could just win the next election.”

And so, the US can therefore unquestionably be categorized, at this stage in its development, as a banana republic – one with no plan for a solution to its situation.

Going Bananas

Another aspect that seems to always emerge in banana republics is the tendency to steadily diminish basic freedoms and the rule of law.

In recent decades, constitutionally guaranteed freedoms have been steadily removed in the US, but more rapidly in the last decade.

In addition, the government on both sides, but particularly on the left, has been destroying the rule of law. All branches of the government are playing high and loose with their authority. The legislature do all they can, regardless of whether it is lawful, to unseat the president. Most disappointing of all, the judicial branch has become an extension of the legislative branch, basing their decisions on political prejudices rather than on law.

This now takes place even with regard to the Supreme Court. The Court is seen by both political parties as an agency for enforcement of political beliefs, with each party locked in a struggle to gain dominance by having the majority of justices be loyal to one party or the other, not to the law.

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