Few years back I was talking to a junior staff about the need to know current affairs, and he asked me this question: “Why should I know current affairs? I just work at my job, save up and live my life in peace. The world out there does not bother me at all.” Unfortunately, many people also have this mindset, and do not see how the global situation could affect them. It does not matter who is the US president, nor what does the Fed say. It does not matter that China is pushing through the One Belt One Road initiative, nor does it matter that there is turmoil in the Middle East. I just want to work on my simple life.
I will give the conclusion right off at the start: We study current affairs to know what is going on, so that the simple man can protect his assets and the ambitious man can make use of it to climb up another level.
We understand current affairs not because we have the ability to influence the direction of international politics, nor do we keep up with current affairs because we can determine the course of the world economic policies. By understanding current affairs, we know the political and economical play behind the scenes and from there deduce with probability what is going to happen. Unless you are some top ranking person in the government with all the critical information, that is the closest to what we can get to predicting what will happen in the future, the closest you can get to ‘if I had known’. If we know what is going to happen, we can make use of it accordingly. How far we go depends on how much information we have, how accurate we can read the situation and how well we move our assets.
China announced the One Belt One Road initiative in 2013, spanning across many different countries. While many were skeptical of its success, the project had slowly but surely made progress over time. It was because of this progress, that after doing homework on the local situation, I decided to buy a residential property in Bangkok, Thailand in 2017. The success of the One Belt One Road will make Thailand, which is located at about the centre of Southeast Asia, a noteworthy place to invest in. Whether it will be a success in the end remains to be seen. But it is something that I did based on my analysis of the current situation.
Now we talk about something more immediate. Everyone knows that the Fed is increasing interest rates and will continue to do so. Basic economics tells us that the if interest rate goes up, there will be less borrowing for spending and investment. That is why when the Fed increases interest rates, the stock market falls. Of course there are still times when the market actually goes up for a bit after the Fed interest rates hike announcement, reason being the Fed’s actions is in line with market’s expectations, which to me is quite nonsensical. But either way, since I know there are more rate hikes coming, I will not put in any more money into the stock market except China stocks at least till the interest rates increase is all done.
That being said, current affairs requires constant updating. Not only are you trying to read the situation, all the countries with their spies and intelligence network, their foreign and domestic affairs ministries, their war and business machineries are constantly running and fine-tuning, making u-turns if necessary in a high-stake game of chess to plunder and dominate each other under the guise of peace and cooperation. If we cannot keep up, we will be the sacrifice.
Perhaps if one just wants a simple life and has no great ambitions, not knowing current affairs will not cause you great harm directly and in the immediate setting. But you will find yourself losing many things. From having your savings cut due to inflation to being sunk in debt by the big things in life, from chasing an unachievable dream sold to you to not knowing when you will sink into a black market system like Russia or Sri Lanka, you will die not knowing how and why you sink into such a mess. There may be no immediate cost in not knowing current affairs, but over in the long run you will see yourself having decades of your hard work and effort voided simply because you are being played out by the system you are living in.
Although I have written on current affairs and politics in some of my previous posts, today’s piece serve as an introduction to the upcoming series of articles, where I will focus on current affairs and politics for quite a bit of time. From China’s electric vehicles to South Korea’s fertility rate to US’ tools of domination, we will try to see what is happening behind the facade we see everyday in the news.