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People and Politics Forum 02. 01. 2009

"Are you afraid of 2009?"

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More information:

Looking Ahead. What Can We Expect from 2009?

What will move us, what will surprise us? 2009 is a super election year in Germany, and it's perhaps fitting that it's also the Year of Astronomy. There are elections to the European Parliament, local elections, the election by a special assembly of the German president, and of course nationwide federal elections, with the Social Democrat candidate and German foreign minister Frank Walter Steinmeier pitted against Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democrats. The year 2009 is also expected to be a year of continuing crisis in the banking and car industry sectors, but it's also a year marked by German history: the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 60th anniversary of Germany's Basic Law - the German constitution -. and the founding of two German states in East and West.

Our Question is:

"Are you afraid of 2009?"

Fritz Teschner,in Thailand, is scathing:

"As the German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück put it, when describing the finance disaster,"the fires have to be extinguished even though they were started by arsonists" - but those greedy,anti-social US mafiosi gamblers will continue to undermine the system and government salvage efforts...The banks have lost mutual trust, and this will trigger millions of unemployed. Press reports here in Thailand speak of more than a million people made redundant in Thailand alone in 2009. Recession is unavoidable..."

Amin Zoqurti, in Jordanien, is also pessimistic:

"2009 will be tough in view of the wars in Iraq and Gaza, and the food and finance crises. I hope the New Year will be better, but I don't think it will happen."

Philipp Falke, in the United Arab Emirates, isn't worried:

"Frightened of 2009? No, not at all. Europe will probably master pessimistic economic forecasts better than other parts of the world, after getting used to low growth rates or none at all. I think one has to say goodbye to the idea of unfettered economic growth, considering how the population is changing. But I am pessimistic when it comes to the never-ending string of anti-foreigner incidents which seem ludicrous in times of a global economy and a united Europe. What I would like to see is forceful political reform by personalities with a clear purpose who recognise real problems...."

Vishnu Vardhan, in India, has similar thoughts:

"I am not afraid of 2009 at all. In fact, I am very positive and optimistic about 2009 because there is a great learning curve that we are going to witness..and put corrective mechanisms to the world economy. More importantly, 2009 is going to be a real test for a new-generation American President. Happy New Year!"

Martin Burmeister, in Venezuela, has some doubts though:

"I am not really scared but I do admit that 2009 will not be easy. We can't do much about it, so we should not rush into any steps and continue diligently pursuing our normal activities."

Change is in sight, says Lee Davis, in the USA:

"The next year or so, will be difficult for most of us. But this is a wake up call. Here in the US, we have a chance for long-term change. I believe that kind of change will happen in the next 4 years under President Obama..."

Andrei Bolshoi, in the USA, says: on the contrary:

"I am looking foreward to it. I see a lot of opportunity for change that's been overdue."

René Junghans, in Brazil, says he'll be pragmatic:

"2009 won't be easy, no matter where you live. If there are problems I will try to solve them one by one, and I'm sure that will work. Instead of sticking my head in the sand I have always kept my eyes wide open in the search for solutions. If you think positive you can derive strength from this crisis.By the way, I have never invested money in shares or bonds, and put my faith in good, traditional saving, earning little but consistently, and not hoping for short-term speculative gains and then subsequently losing twice or three times as much. Greed always came one step before the fall ."

But there is an optimistic view, from Peter Pommeranz in Venezuela:

"No, I'm not frightened of 2009, because I think the Democrats will intervene to stop greedy finance managers causing more harm..with the new US President ensuring an upward economic swing. One thing should not be forgotten though : taking those to task who orchestrated - and I say - those crimes."

In Costa Rica, Erwin Scholz again puts some poignant poetry to paper:

"Peace again is under threat,

the sound of battle is newly set.

People should be allowed to hold their heads high,

and promote understanding across the divide."

The editorial staff of ‘People and Politics’ reserves the right to shorten letters received.