A People Out of Control of Our Own Destiny

When China or an Arab country uses a sovereign wealth fund to invest, occidental eyebrows arch and the worry flag is flown, but it is not only nervous-making nations that have such funds. The State of Alaska has one, as do Norway, Singapore and Australia. The French government has been an investment partner in domestic commerce and industry for centuries. Many other nations are as well.

All of these nations have one thing in common: They earn more foreign money than they spend, either by selling oil or, like China, by having developed a favorable manufacturing trade balance. America, which apparently does not have enough money to pay for medical treatment for its own children, is in no position to start a sovereign wealth fund of its own. It can, however, be affected by them.

It is not known if any of the sovereign funds occasionally make investment decisions for political rather than business reasons. It is possible that one of these funds might fall into the hands of a group of managers who lack the prudence to stay conservative. What if such a fund were a very large fund? What if it were to get into trouble via borrowing so that it had to come up with cash fast, and the only way it could get it would be to dump a vast number of U.S. government bonds on the market, all at once? That could set off a worldwide panic of a sort we have only had glimpses of until now. The financial planet could be blindsided, since sovereign wealth funds operate in their own private darkness. Nobody knows what they may be up to.

Thanks to a thousand treaties, laws, financial ties and a kaleidoscope of ownership forms and arrangements, we are losing control over our own society. Are we reduced to yammering over inconsequentialities such as gay marriage or intelligent design because we cannot touch or even get a grip on the big, important factors dictating how we shall live and what the qualities of our lives will be?

Now caught in not one but two wars that we cannot win and cannot end, we are a people not in control of our own destiny. Whether that is to be our permanent condition depends on our finding the will, energy and urgency to reclaim our independence.

A People Out of Control of Our Own Destiny