from Gold Silver Worlds:
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, the (non-mainstream) media is starting to talk about the parallels between then and now. Could it be true that there are similarities? In this article, I would like to discuss some of the intriguing, and frankly disturbing, parallels I see between the period just prior to WWI and today. I think that understanding these parallels is of utmost importance, not only because the events leading up to WWI are, in my view, also the indirect cause of the Second World War, but they are important to understand the similar problems we could be facing today.
Geopolitical power shift underway: Until 1914, the British Empire dominated the world by controlling the seas and ruling over many territories and colonies. However, starting 1871 with the unification of the German “Kaiserreich”, Britain’s superpower role became increasingly challenged by the Germans. Germany was becoming an economic giant. By 1913, the Germans produced more steel than Great Britain, Russia and France together, and had overtaken Britain in terms of world industrial output. The basis of this economic success story: Education. The school system was “producing” engineers, scientists and a skilled labor force. Its literacy rate among recruited soldiers was the highest in Europe. Out of 1000 soldiers, 330 in Italy couldn’t read. In Austria-Hungary, it was 220 out of 1000, and in France 68. In Germany, the literacy rate was nearly at 100%. In the 40 years prior to 1913, salaries in Germany more than doubled in most industries (this increase was more or less in real terms due to the strong gold standard).
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