I Love the Hot Towels

I was looking forward to Singapore Airlines out of NYC. My previous short hauls around Canada had been pleasant enough but the previous long-haul on United Airlines had been a sobering experience. The airline industry in the US is constantly having to be saved through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a kind of US facade that its open market economy can truly function without state interventionism. For this reason Singapore Airlines and United Airlines are at other ends of the airline markets.

Singapore is state-owned, a flagship of the nation, striving to put Singapore on the map as a nation and a hub in Asia to rival Bangkok and Hong Kong. The planes are first-rate, the food involved a menu of choices, wine flowed and the movies were up-to-date. On United, there was no entertainment at all. I thought that was reserved for budget airlines. Instead you were given the choice of paying $5.99 for access to the entertainment system or have to watch endlessly repeated advertisements for cars or insurance. Remember this flight was 7 hours long. I chose my book. The food consisted of a cheese and ham sandwich and all drinks beyond juice and coke were charged.

There was fallacious talk in the early 2000s that Europe with its integrated economies and normative values would become the model and dominant bloc of the 21st century. Alas we have seen where that talk got us. The US model of limited state security and economic value imperialism, sadly imposed on numerous other states, though never so completely as in the US, is failing under the obvious burdens. Needing to be the enforcer of its own rules masquerading as international law to maintain markets for investment, it is failing under the burdens of military spending and unsustainable local inequality leading to high social costs. Its time as the only dominant state is over. It is Asia where states invest in economic advantage under the mantra of nationhood and Confucianism that will be the future. (I am ignoring South America and the likes of Australia for obvious sociological reasons.)

This blog has gone kinda sideways (!) but when talking to a friend about Korea recently I asked myself why am I waiting for Asia. I had planned to move out in a few years but it seems there is little point waiting so long. Love or loath it. Times are not a-changing. They have changed.


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