Walter Russell Mead–The Invisible Hand Is Writing On Our Wall

China, Europe, America, Japan: each of in its own way is moving toward comprehensive bankruptcy: financial, spiritual, social. Recent tremors in world financial markets are a warning from the invisible hand that we are skirting dangerously close to that final frontier, but we will miss the point if we do nothing more than put our financial affairs in slightly better order.

The great crime of Belshazzar and his cronies was to become disconnected from real values and real events. They used the sacred vessels of the Temple for an unholy palace banquet; at a time of great danger to the realm they distracted themselves with good food and good wine. They ignored the great source of meaning that enlightens and guides the world to focus their attention on shiny objects: gold, silver, brass.

All this and more describes our global leadership today.

Read it all.


Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Asia, China, Economy, Europe, European Central Bank, The U.S. Government

4 comments on “Walter Russell Mead–The Invisible Hand Is Writing On Our Wall

  1. jkc1945 says:

    To Mr. Mead’s adroit analysis, and his quoting of Daniel”s interpretation of the writing on the wall, I might add Jesus’s lament to the church in Laodicea, as one of the seven churches of the Revelation:
    “Thou art neither cold nor hot; I would that thou were either cold or hot. But because thou are neither, I will spew you out of my mouth.”

  2. mhmac13 says:

    Thanks for introducing me to this rational, sane voice in the midst of the rabble and demagogic conversation today. At least he tries to – and seems to succeed – at making some sense of our current dilemma.

  3. Kendall Harmon says:

    He is a wonderful man who often appears on NPR among other places as a voice of thoughtful analysis. Of interest to readers of this blog, he is an Episcopalian and a longtime follow of events with the Episcopal Church in which his father, a priest, serves.

  4. TACit says:

    Good he calls attention to the failings of the elected government in the US, but it’s not that difficult to ‘blame everyone’, and that is essentially what WRM is doing in this article, without offering much more vision or future plan than, say, the current administration has done. In fairness perhaps the downgrade that has now happened was needed before any credible future planning could take place. I could have more regard for WRM if he didn’t choose to quote Carlyle at length.
    Carlyle was a notably dour Scot, whose 40-year marriage to Jane Walsh was called ‘providential’, that they thus spared the world two additional miserably unhappy people (the two they might otherwise have married) – their unhappiness was so contagious. I think that’s called depression. Carlyle was also said to have suffered most of his life with gastric misery, perhaps an ulcer; I wonder if perhaps he was actually coeliac, which wasn’t understood at the time.
    Material from about 900 letters between this pair was eventually published by Carlyle’s great friend James Anthony Froude, notable historian of Britain and its Empire who believed the Reformation was the start of all modern history and hated the Irish as passionately as he loved the Scots, who were after all much better at making and keeping money – which is what the British Empire was made of. Froude’s historical writing in praise of the Scotch-Irish, aka Ulster Scots, was cited in a genealogical document by a North Carolinian in about 1920, in my family’s possession since it was thought to concern some of our lineage. I wonder if WRM doesn’t simply recycle some thought that was current about 150 years ago, which he has updated and recast for modern circumstances.