I received an interesting email this morning comparing the two most famous shipwrecks of the past century to our current economic demise in the USA. The Titanic took 2 hours and 40 minutes to sink while the Lusitania sank in 18 minutes. In the case of the Titanic, passengers remained calm until it was too late. With the Lusitania, it was blind panic and quickly jumping ship.
As I did a quick wikipedia review of these disasters on the Lusitania and the Titanic, I was struck by how many allegories can be made between these disasters and the current economic crisis we face in America and elsewhere. Here are some of the connections I made...
The Titanic went down due to its own navigation error when it struck an iceberg. The Lusitania disaster was due to an attack by the German enemy. I see the US economic ship sinking for both reasons. We have struck the iceberg of our national and personal debt which was already sinking us...and on top of that our wars since 9/11 when our country was attacked by an almost invisible enemy is doing the rest of the job on killing our national economy.
Most Americans I talk to think that America is too big to "go down"...and "if we go down the rest of the world goes down with it". To me this mirrors the false confidence the Titanic passengers had in their ships modern structure and status. History also shows that the Titanic was replaced over time with many larger ships that carry MORE passengers. Lets face it, NO country or person is "irreplaceable" in light of historical facts.
In the case of the Lusitania, the passengers were warned before their last fateful crossing of the dangers of being attacked...by the GERMAN embassy. They published this warning right next to the national ads advertising the return voyage of the ship back to England. Apparently no one believed that the "enemy" of this British ship could succeed in destroying it. Disregarding these strong warnings caused most of them to lose their lives on the subsequent voyage. In my opinion, Americans who are ignoring the many warnings and alarming statistics regarding the American currency, economy and debt load have a strong chance of experiencing the same fate...economically if not also physically through terrorist attacks and lack of controls on the enemies "within" our borders. I count as enemies not only Islamic Jihads, but also those in our government who would tear down our constitution and the rights associated in order to form THEIR version of socialism or worse that has never worked in the history of mankind. The warnings have been out for a long time now but very few are doing anything about it. A majority are just "going along for the ride".
Finally, I would have to point out that the list of those who perished was no respecter of status or wealth. As you read the list of famous people lost especially on the Lusitania, you realize that disasters like this take down everyone from the rich passengers to the crews who steered them into harms way. Everyone pays a price for having false preconceptions that they are safe and secure. When the panic begins, it will be every man for themselves.
For me the main lesson to be drawn here is that to avoid disaster, we had better heed the warnings we have been given and plan accordingly. It is not too late to "turn our ship around". Unfortunately it usually takes the permission of the "Captain" of the ship and his staff to do so. While mutiny and revolt are serious steps and perceived "illegal"...our country's history has proven that at times these actions are justified if it will "save lives" and/or preserve freedom. We still have time in American to PEACEFULLY turn the ship around...but if it comes to panic time, I fear we will see chaos and violence in our streets to the level where Greece' current level of violence related to economic disaster is but a small candle compared to a forest fire.
You have been warned...and not just by me!